In 2013, former K-pop girl group member of Miss A and celebrated actress, Bae Suzy shared in an episode of SBS talkshow “Healing Camp, Aren’t You Happy” about her struggle with depression. Caused by burnout from her intense schedule after her debut in 2010, she often had intrusive thoughts like, “Can I survive this tomorrow?”
In the years that followed, Bae Suzy has not just survived, but thrived even in the most trying circumstances. Here’s how she turned things around and what she’s been up to in the 9 years since she opened up about her depression.
Stress and Depression
Suzy had been in the spotlight for 3 years since her debut in 2010 with Miss A and was inundated with requests and scheduling commitments after the popularity of Miss A skyrocketed.
The girl group had a phenomenal debut and became the fastest girl group to take top spot on KBS Music Bank with their debut single Bad but Good. They went on to release hit after hit and continued to dominate the charts. Following the success of Miss A, she started her acting career and was cast in Dream High where her star power continued to shine. She quickly became an in-demand CF (commercial film) queen juggling promotions and acting projects.
This was everything she hoped for and although it was rough, she felt she had to be grateful for all the opportunities.
“Being busy and having a hard time is something I should really be thankful for. [They] love me so much and look for me. I’m just so happy, but that’s the saddest thing.”
Suzy started to find it hard to stay strong. While she was happy for the opportunity to pursue her dreams, her busy schedule became restricting. She needed more time because she wanted to do her best, and learn and try new things outside of her schedule. This became a stressful prison for Suzy who kept it all in.
Finding Relief Through Caring Conversations
While chatting with a friend and having a good huge laugh, Suzy suddenly burst into tears. Suzy was initially apprehensive about sharing her burdens with her friend, but the involuntary crying had opened the gates to a heartfelt conversation on what was breaking her. Suzy recounted how her friend encouraged her to open up to him by letting her know that he could listen to her even if he didn’t know anything.
Suzy had found a way to work through her feelings of being trapped through caring conversations with her friends. From then on, she would call her friends and cry and cry. And by opening up, she also deepened her relationship with her friends who are grateful that she is talking to them about her problems and trusting them.
9 Years of Growth
Suzy has had a remarkable 9 years of growth since disclosing her experience with depression. She has proven herself again and again. She has starred in five films, four television series, a web series, and most recently returned to her vocalist roots with the release of her two new self-composed digital singles, “Satellite” and “Cape”.
The road to her success as a beloved actress has not been easy. Her second foray into acting in the 2015 film production, a period film, “The Sound of Flower”, was highly anticipated, but received dismal reviews for having a boring plot and for Suzy’s unpolished vocals in her role.
That didn’t stop her from continuing to take on film and television projects and overcome the controversy of her acting skills. In 2020, she was awarded “Actress of the Year” in the Korea First Awards for her leading performance in Start-Up. Most recently in 2022, her acting ability has caught major attention in six-part web series, “ANNA”.
She plays the role of Yumi and the series touches on the life of a girl whose huge ambitions cannot be financially supported by her parents. She starts living a double life to build the life she wants.
After just the airing of three episodes, Suzy has been receiving incredible reviews on what some consider her “career-defining” role. Regarding the positive attention from her role, Suzy said in an inteiew with Korea JoongAng Daily,
“It all seems too good to be true. I don’t know if I actually did do well, but this is the first time that I have gotten this many compliments.”
Suzy wanted to ensure she portrayed Yumi and her anxieties with realism and without over dramatization. Through this experience, she was forced to face her own anxieties and insecurities, at times she even looked back at her fast-paced life in the past to “dissect” her weak points to better portray Yumi and even consulted a psychiatrist about her role.
“[Acting] not only helped me play the role of Yumi but also helped me mature into a better person and an actor.” Suzy said about her experience.
Suzy’s desire to keep learning and growing through self-doubt, criticism and her depression manifests in her growth mindset. She is ready to embrace new challenges and push herself outside of her comfort zone, maintain her boundaries and time to rest, moving on even with depression to create her destiny.
Here are some ways move on even with a mental condition:
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