This Is Why

This Is Why

by Bryan Jung

I am extremely blessed to be where I am today; the relationships I’ve created and maintained, the opportunities that have been presented to me, and the support I’ve received throughout the years in all of my endeavors. However, my past experiences have, without a doubt, molded me into the person I am today.

In November 2004, my father, who was a lawyer at the time, was winning in a court case, and the opposing lawyer knew this. With a jealous mind, the opposing lawyer decided to show up to my father’s office and shoot him three times. One bullet struck my father in the head, leaving him bed-ridden in a coma. When I visited him in the hospital at nine years old, I could not talk to him. He could not move, and the first time he opened his eyes was when he heard my brother and my voice. It was the toughest part of my life to see him in this state, especially at such a young age. He fought to survive for 15 hard months until his death in February 2006. It was very sad, but I knew that he was free of pain and in a better place. 

It was an incredibly difficult time not only between November 2004 and February 2006, but also the years following. As a child and young teen, I was seeing a few different counselors to try to get the help that I needed. I developed a pretty significant anxiety disorder that I battled up until college. I would get severe panic attacks if I experienced a new situation, such as going to a new place for the first time. Around middle school and high school, I was also impacted by OCD where I would have to check things around the house multiple times before going to bed (i.e. stoves and ovens had to be turned off, front and back doors locked, etc.).

As I got older, I believe staying busy and focusing on my next steps in life got me through the anxiety disorder. Thankfully, time was able to heal my body and mind, and I am extremely grateful it does not impact me today.

Through the tragic events and days following, it was the incredibly strong bond within my family that kept me going each and every day. My mother was, and still is, the strongest person I know. Because of her, my older brother and I never gave up. She constantly found ways to keep our heads up and provide for us. She kept pushing us each and every day, making sure we stayed on the right paths, never veering off. Together, as a family, we were able to overcome every obstacle and get to where we are today.

With everything that has happened in my life, I’ve come to learn that every second and every moment cannot, and should not, be taken for granted. Anything can happen in a split second and life can instantly change course forever. I make an effort to not just go through, but conquer each and every day. I always do my best to help people around me that are emotionally struggling because I have had my own personal struggles. Through my experiences, I want to share my experiences, what I have learned, and my optimism with as many people and peers as I can. That is why I wanted to share my experiences with loss and my anxiety disorder with the ADAA community with the hope that at least one person can gain a bit of strength, hope, and peace from my story and life so far.

Losing my father at such a young age was incredibly difficult as he was such an incredible role model and father. I remember November 3, 2004 so vividly, even though it was close to 20 years ago. Because of everything that has happened, I was blessed with the ability to mature very quickly for my age. Early on, I was able to appreciate life and its meaning, my purpose, and what I needed to do to make my family proud. Today, each and every day, I strive to live the best life I can for my family, peers, and myself.

On Father’s Day 2021, I launched my grief support platform and community, 'This Is Why'. Undoubtedly, this holiday holds great significance for my family and I. The timing with the planning and execution just made sense as well.

'This Is Why' is a creative platform for individuals who have lost a parent as a child or teenager. I want to provide a safe space for individuals of all ages, with the option of anonymity, to share emotions, thoughts, and experiences. In turn, this will allow for an opportunity to build a community with others who’ve undergone similar circumstances. I want to highlight how past experiences have made us who we are today, spotlighting our resilience and perseverance for more positive and optimistic lives ahead. I feel that grief and mental health should be topics of discussion that are less stigmatized. I will do all I can to contribute even a small part towards a world where these topics are more openly welcomed.

Quite simply, life is tough. However, the ups and downs are what help us grow as individuals, through our own unique experiences. I have something called the “Three F’s” that I live by: Faith, Family, and Friends. With these three foundations, I have a sense of purpose and appreciation for every breath I take in this world.

Check out Bryan's creative platform This Is Why created for individuals who have lost a parent as a child or teenager. Find support in reading their stories and share your own story with the community.

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