Becoming a K-Pop idol may sound like a dream to aspiring stars, but after several years in the industry, it can take its toll. In an episode of YouTube‘s new original documentary series K-Pop Evolution, former KARA member Han Seungyeon opened up about her mental health and why therapy has been a struggle for her.
Even before she made her debut in KARA 14 years ago, Han Seungyeon was making her mark on the Korean entertainment industry. She first became a child actress in 1993 at the age of just six, eventually debuting as an idol at 18 years old.
KARA disbanded back in 2016, at which point Han Seungyeon turned her career primarily to acting with a lead role in the JTBC K-Drama Hello, My Twenties.
Naturally, while there have surely been ups in Han Seungyeon’s career, there have also been downs. Opening up about her mental health in K-Pop Evolution, the singer and actress admitted she’s “reached burnout” after so long in the industry. She also revealed she suffers from a mild panic disorder.
Like many others, Han Seungyeon decided to go to therapy to work through her problems. However, even therapy hasn’t been without its struggles. “I felt like even the doctor didn’t fully understand me,” she shared.
Han Seungyeon went on to explain that her therapist has never been in the position of having tens of thousands of adoring fans praising him. On the flip side, he also hasn’t experienced feeling like the whole public is against him. As such, Han Seungyeon referred to her panic disorder as an “occupational disease”—a condition contracted primarily because of her job as an entertainer.
[My therapist has] never had 50,000 fans come to see him, nor has he ever felt like the whole world hates him. It’s an occupational disease in a way.
— Han Seungyeon
Of course, Han Seungyeon isn’t alone. The former KARA member says she’s seen a lot of people in the entertainment industry who are just like her. “We used to share stories about our panic disorders and depression,” she revealed, adding, “It’s not rare among us.”