According to statics of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, there were 202,947 patients with depression in their 20s from January to July, 2020. The number of depression patients in their 20s was 52,793 in 2012. That is clearly a huge increase in cases. Park Dong-yeon, who is the director of the mood disorder division in the National Center for Health and Mental Health, said “These patients with depression have to pay attention to themselves and gain sympathy from others. That’s the only way to get out of depression.”
People, however, cannot afford to pay attention to themselves because they lead busy lives, and have become stingy with accepting consolation and praise. It was me who did my best at the moment. is a book that makes people who suffer from depression look back, and experience ‘sympathy’ through this book. CBT reporters wanted people who had a painful youth to gain sympathy and consolation from others, so we met the author and heard more about this book.
1. Introduce yourself, please.
Hi, I’m a sympathetic author. My name is Kim Hee-young, and I wrote the book It was me who did my best at the moment.
2. What is the book named It was me who did my best at the moment about? Introduce this book, please.
I prepared for the press examination when I was about 25 years old, while I was working in a local company. Most people prepared the exam by studying and attending academies in Seoul. However, I couldn't do that because of my family situation. I wanted to have a dream, but the situation was bad. Therefore, I worked in the afternoons and studied at night. While studying, I kept a diary for 2 years. I compiled the diary into this book named It was me who did my best at the moment. It includes feelings and thoughts I experienced and felt about human relationships, family and tender passion, because it was made from my diary.
3. Was there a reason why you started to compile your diary into a book?
I didn’t originally plan to compile my diary into a book. I just loved writing, so I posted some phrases - from my diary - on Kakao story or Naver blog. One day, my friend told me that “Daum Brunch is going to select a writer. Give it a try. Wouldn’t it be a waste to keep your diary all to yourself ?”, so I applied with a light heart. Fortunately, I was selected as a writer in Daum Brunch. Then, Daum Brunch became my diary, so I could organize my thoughts on the page. The phrases were gathered and published as a book named The Season of Feeling. After that, I naturally published this book It was me who did my best at the moment complied from another diary that I kept.
4. You mentioned that the contents of this book are all the diaries you wrote when you were in your 20s. Maybe that’s why a lot of people in their 20s identify so well with this best-selling book. How do you feel about Youth and Empathy?
I think youth is life and my life is a book. When I become an old lady and open a book named My Life just before my death, I would really want my life to have been fun. I want to live young and green everyday like youth. I think youth is not limited to a specific age, and it is the total of my life. The name of this book is My Life is Youth, and I want youth to be passion itself. I think the life of all people can be youth for a lifetime. I tell people around me all the time, “I believe in the power of condolence that is given from empathy.” I think only empathy can offer enough condolence. Some time ago, I found that “80% of worry can be solved by simply listening” from a book that I read. The answer is in my mind. However, many people try to give an answer to people with worries. In fact, it is we ourselves who know what to do and how to live, but we're worried that we can’t do and live like that because in some situations we don't have the courage or the perfect conditions, right? Therefore, I believe that if you listen to your people as much as you can, nod your head and sympathize with them heartily, the mind of the people can be healed. Youth and empathy mean this to me.
5. You said that you had a very hard time working at the university’s broadcasting station. What’s your driving force to endure tough times?
I wanted to be a radio producer. I tolerated hard times to achieve my dream to be a radio producer. It was all only for one line ‘University Broadcasting Station Activity on a resume after graduation. When I was a sophomore in university, I became the director of the Broadcasting Station. There were lots of activities, or achievements, that I wanted to do as a director, including writing. However, my sense of responsibility, as well as being director was such a pressing position for a 22 year old, that at the time, I only gave myself the stick rather than the carrots. I thought there will be harder things when I go forward into real adult’s society, so I have to withstand this to be a radio producer. Although I didn’t become a radio producer, I could endure tough times for the sake of my dream.
6. We have to compete with other people in this world, and undergo many challenges and failures. Therefore, we have fearful moments to start. What mindset do we need to live with a strong inner side in order to overcome our fearfulness?
If we experience lots of failures, we definitely go into a slump and our minds begin to shrink. You may think ‘My life is ruined and I can’t do anything.’ At that time, I think that it is okay to stay sad and you don’t need to rebuke yourself because even though you fail, there will be more opportunities, again. You aren’t able to make as much of a fire as you did before because your passion faded. However if you’re preparing to burn the heat slowly again, I think tomorrow’s sky, which seemed like it was going to be gloomy for the rest of your life, will be gone and you’ll have a passion to try again.
I often gave myself the stick. Looking back I felt guilty whenever I had a failure. I think you can develop a strong inner side if you give yourself carrots rather than sticks. You should say to yourself that it is okay to fail, and the moment will come when you stand again. If I told myself in my 20s “When you looking backward, there will be times when all these hard times will be beautiful,” my inner being would have gotten much stronger than right now.
7. Is there anyone you hope to read this book It was me who did my best at the moment? Also, if they read this book, what do you want them to feel about this book?
I hope that young applicants and rookies in society will read this book. I wish they empathize with this story. My book doesn’t show direction to them. It’s not appellative texts, giving advice how to live and how to spend time. It’s just my twenty’s experience. I hope youth empathize with my story. You are working very hard preparing for employment and adapting in society, right? The correct answer is in your mind. I wish you read my book with empathy and think about how long you’ve come to your life and whether you’re doing your best. The answer will be in your mind.
8. I look forward to reading your new literary work, what kind of story are you going to write?
I am planning to write a literary work next year. It was me who did my best at that time is a diary about studying for the press exam, so the story is a little bit of a heavy experience. However, the next work will be brighter and more hopeful than this book. It will be an essay like It was me who did my best at that time.
9. Lastly, I’d appreciate it if you could share a message to youth.
Nowadays, the world is so cold because of keen competition, employment shortage, COVID-19, and etc. I hope your mind doesn’t catch a cold. Thank you.