Living was a pure torture. I was literally hanging on the verge of the cliff—too miserable to get up and too sorry to let go of my hand. Kdramaland was the only breathe zone I knew. I would run to them like a crying baby and they would heal me in the way that no one could imagine.

I watch Kdramas ever since I could remember. It started out not by my own will nor was I forced; it was just a regular family thing. I grew up in a ‘broken’ family, broken in a way that my parents are constantly in a fiery argument—they are both in an unhappy relationship yet no one has suggested a divorce. Often I persuaded my Mom to leave my Dad but she would reject the idea with the reason to give me a complete family. Little does she knew that living in an unharmonious family like that is just as poisonous as having to see them separate.

Although they would not pass a day without fighting with each other, every dinnertime we gathered to watch whatever Korean family drama that was airing on TV. It was the time of the day that I looked forward most. We ate dinner separately and had no topic to talk about, but I could at least pretend that I got a warm family during our one-hour Kdrama watching. Nevertheless, they often still had different opinions on the drama and the fight would start again. I would then go to my room and hide under my blanket. Tears would not even come out because that was just a normal thing in our family.

Having a bad family was not worse enough. I was bullied in high school. I strove hard during my school days to appease my parents with my straight As and being a model student, without realizing that I had stood out too much and generated jealousy toward me. No one would talk to me at school and I could talk to no one at home. I passed my teenage years like that.

Thanks to my outstanding high school results, I could study abroad with a scholarship. Just when I thought things finally got better for me, it turned out to be my worst nightmare. My family had a problem with affording my living cost and I could not adapt to a college community. I was not able to talk to anyone, and my heart was constantly beating fast every time I spotted a human near me. I tried to visit some psychologists, however, it did not work as I closed my heart and put on a barrier. Furthermore, I could not confide in my Mom as I was too afraid to do it and all she did during our phone call was to rant about my Dad.

I decided not to interact with any human being unless it was needed. I hid in my small rent room and went by days with just eating oatmeal. My mind almost exploded at some points due to all of the unnecessary thinking and I had a strong urge to cut my wrist. That was when Kdramas came to the rescue. I was able to escape from all the useless thoughts and for the first time in a while, I could bring myself to smile.

It was difficult to find a long family drama that has English subtitles, so instead, I watched mini Kdramas (16-20 eps) that I had no knowledge of at all. I totally clicked with Cheese in the Trap the moment I first spotted it and I was so touched at how relatable the female lead is. She’s sincere, hardworking, and loveable. That one particular drama sparked my curiosity toward other Kdramas and all of the free time I had was occupied. I could easily survive without having anyone by my side.

With more and more Kdramas I watched day by day, I became more understanding and learned things that I could not from reality. Moreover, what more surprising was that I slowly opened my heart unknowingly. For instance, It’s Okay That’s Love helped me realized how beautiful love is, and human needs to love and to be loved. Age of Youth taught me the importance of having friends by your side. Another Oh Hae Young told me that you could be happy only if you fight for it, even if life is against you. Incomplete Life gave me an in-depth understanding of people’s relationship and emotions. Dear My Friends shook my emotions and taught me that life could be just as simple and beautiful. Reply 1988 regained my faith in humanity.

I know it is hard to believe but thanks to the abundance Kdramas I have watched during my time alone, I got motivated to deal with my own pains. As I knew things would not be able to change radically, I took little one step at a time. I began to call my Mom more, listen to her rant, and console her from time to time. I felt less nervous at the idea of going outside. I started to exercise in the morning by running in the neighborhood. I went to classes and tried my best to socialize in university events.

Even though I fail from time to time, I convince myself that it is okay to make mistakes and everything will just be fine. It took me quite a long time to open up, but I think I am doing a good job. I might not be perfect and I am a person full of flaws, but I struggle hard to become a better person than I was yesterday. Life has not been more wonderful for me now.

Comment from GDhunter

Hi Kane, while other people have become less active in their social life or have felt isolated because of Korean dramas (they binge-watch alone during most of their free time, so they barely find the time to socialize), the opposite has occurred to you. Because of Kdramas, you consoled your mom, went outside more often, and most importantly, you talked to other people in the university. It’s amazing to know that such a development in your life was a positive effect of watching Kdramas. I (and probably many other viewers, too) watched some of these shows to escape my problems by immersing myself in a Kdrama world far from reality. You did this too but eventually, you also came to do the exact opposite—you spend your time watching Kdramas to learn how to face your existing problems in the real world. Your story proves that watching Kdrama is more than just a leisure activity.


Note: Kdramas Treat Me Better Than My Psychologist Does is one of the entries to our Kdrama Writing Contest about what made you love watching Korean dramas.

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Kane Lele

Deep buried my burning passion for Kdramas, though I let it out from time to time to write articles. I am always looking out for new show, hoping it could ignite that back.

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