Psychology,  Public Reads

Korean Drama about Mental Health

Korean Drama about Mental Health

#1 Soul Mechanic / 2020


This is a drama that brings tears and laughter to the audience through portraying the healing process of people facing difficulties and trauma in life that are often hard to bring to words. In this show, the female lead, Han Woo Joo, has undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, which is not until she meets the psychiatrist, Lee Shi Joon, that she finally gets to understand herself and let go of the tangled past memories and negative self-view.

Everyone has their own story to tell, and there is no shame in seeking help for any reason at all, since there’s none other than yourself that knows exactly how you feel or how much you want to get better. This is what the show is trying to tell, and it is shouting out for people who have lost themselves and are drowning in their own struggles. Throughout the plot, walking alongside with Woo Joo’s emotional turbulence and her sincere expressions of her fears and heartbreaks, I couldn’t help but to think how fragile a person is in faced with the cruel reality, and at the same time how strong a person is when one embraces the willpower to heal and recover. Like how it is said in the drama, no one is perfect, and you don’t have to be the perfect person in everyone’s eyes, but you only need to let yourself know that you are capable enough to face those fears and challenges no matter what comes ahead.

People with mental disorders do not deserve to be called ‘crazy’, nor to be humiliated and isolated, when one is merely being in pain. In this drama we can see each of different cases where it depicts the painful past or traumatic event that happens and crushed their soul relentlessly, yet they are still hanging there patiently, not to let others make fun of them, but to prove themselves that they deserve to be loved and respected. In the end, it just tells us to be good to each other around us, because we might not know that others are also fighting their own battle, not to mention that we ourselves also deserve self-love.

#2 Kill Me Heal Me/ 2015


‘Kill Me Heal Me’ once hit big as a drama that addressed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), in which every episodes stirred all kind of emotions, from humor to heartbreak, and leave the audience feeling regretful and wanting for more as they become fond of all the 7 identities of the male lead. This drama took on the venture from the lead’s childhood to adulthood, and talks about the struggle to cope with daily life with a shattered mind while trying to grasp a sense of control. While of course, it is still a drama, some effects were used metaphorically or maybe a bit exaggerated, since they are more of an unrealistic depiction without causing any harm, I believe we as the audience could just take them as some fun elements. 

When it comes to this drama, we could see how all the alters’ characteristics really differ from each other, such as the persecutory alter with a huge ego, the shy child alter, and the suicidal teenager alter and others, in which all of them have their own pseudo-memories that explains who they are. But outside those pseudo-memories are the traumatic childhood events that are too overwhelming for him to bear with, that makes him unconsciously form another identity and realm that could take over and protect himself at that moment. From it, how I see is that each and every one of them are expressing their part of story, and showing how he was desperately and sincerely trying to make sense of the world when all the horrible events happened at that young age. 

In a way this drama was able to portray the emotions of the lead actors in an in depth manner, and we could see how desperate they are to be able to live their best life without having to endure the pain. Things might seem difficult at the present moment, but when you’re able to conquer it and one day looking back on what you did, be proud of yourselves, because you definitely deserve it for being the hero in your own life.

#3  Be Melodramatic/ 2019


Romance comedy is a type of romance genre that is mostly favoured by the public! Be Melodramatic was a drama that had a low rating at first but it achieved a high rating later on. This drama depicts how we face different situations daily and how normal it is to have those emotions in our daily life. It is easy to relate because the dialogues are what happened in our everyday life. 

Im Jin Joo was a drama series writer, she is said to have a unique personality compared to other people. She had dry humour compared to the others, and more of a sensible person than a rational person. Jin Joo later developed a “love-line” with Son Beom-Soo who is a drama producer. She was weird in her own way but she found someone who is just as weird as her. Hwang Han Joo was the head of the marketing team for a drama production company. Acting as an independent and strong woman, she is also a single mother. She had to juggle between achieving in her career and taking care of her son. The third best friend is Lee Eun Jung, a documentary director in Be Melodramatic. Documentaries are often seen as boring however one day her documentary became popular and she gained more fame. But apart from that, in the scene the boyfriend that always laughs and talks with her all the time was actually her hallucination, resulting from the fact that she suffered from depression after witnessing her boyfriend die of illness.

Thus other than romance, Be Melodramatic also shows elements of friendships and family love and perseverance. They portray the situation we face daily without sugar coating the scene, making the viewers feel “I am like that too!” After all, we all love to have someone that understands us, and at the same time trying hard to not lose hope to find ourselves in a better place someday.

#4 It’s Okay to Not Be Okay/ 2020


I believe that we can find someone who truly understands us and stays with us.

“It’s Okay to not be Okay” not only focuses on the love story between a psychiatric nurse, Moon Gang-tae, and a fairy tale writer with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), Ko Mun-yeong. It also shows us the relationship between a young man and his brother with developmental disabilities.

Mun-yeong is always reckless, irresponsible, and impulsive. Because of these characteristics, she does things without thinking about consequences. For instance, she does whatever she likes and says whatever she wants. As normal people, we tend to behave differently in various situations and follow social rules. The things that Mun-yeong does are what we hope to do at a point in life, aren’t they? There’s a scene that shows Mun-yeong’s ASPD symptoms during her childhood, where she tears apart a butterfly in front of the boy that likes her. This action brought up 3 meanings, and what are they? What makes her develop ASPD? You can find out in the drama. Notably, in reality, ASPD is usually treated with group therapy or counselling.

Taking care of a family member with a developmental disability is never an easy task. In the drama, Moon Gang-tae has to take care of his brother, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. He sacrifices his time, social life, and even romantic relationship for his brother because of an accident that happened at his young age. Apart from guilt and responsibilities, he loves his brother so much and he doesn’t want to hurt him.

Overall, the sets in the drama are detailed and the actors in this drama had brilliant performances in demonstrating the symptoms of their given characters. Nonetheless, the common characteristics of an autistic adult such as speech underdevelopment and obsessions with certain things could also be emphasised in the drama.

#5 Radiant (The light in your eyes)/ 2019


“I wish that I can be a child again.”

“How nice it is if we can go back to the happy moments.”

Manipulating time seems like a superpower that everyone wishes for. But, if you can control time but come with a consequence that you can’t bear with, will you still use the superpower?

“The Light in Your Eyes” demonstrates a story about a young lady manipulating time to save her father, which results in her becoming an old lady, and the changes in interactions between her and her family, friends, and a special person. From frustration to acceptance throughout the days of an old lady, she has learned many things and realised that happiness is within herself. In the drama, the special relationship between her and a young boy, Lee Joon Ha, is also a highlight that attracted me a lot. This is a heartwarming and adventurous drama. I’m not going to reveal much about the storyline, but here are some lessons that I learned from the drama:

  1. Don’t rush your time. When it’s time, you will shine.
  2. Do something because you really like it, but not because of someone else.
  3. Sometimes, we have to be responsible for what we have done, no matter the result is good or bad.
  4. We can’t change what has already happened, but we can change our attitude.
  5. Family can be one’s support system, but it also can be one’s nightmare.
  6. It’s okay if we can’t stay positive all the time.
  7. To love and to be loved are the best things in this world.

#6 It’s Okay, That’s Love/ 2014


“It’s okay, that’s love” is a romance comedy in 2014. This story depicts how childhood memories can affect an individual in their adulthood. Jang Jae Yeol, a novelist and Ji Hae Soo, a psychiatrist in the drama met through a radio show and they later became housemates. At first, she found some of his habits strange, such as sleeping in the bathtub instead of his own bed. Jae Yeol also seems to pick a fight with her often. 

Jae Yeol seems to be with one of his fans, a teenage boy Han Kang Woo whenever he is alone. They have a good relationship. Jae Yeol finds similarities between Kang Woo and the younger him. Therefore, he made sure Kang Woo wasn’t lonely and suffering as he was. They accompanied each other. Later Jae Yeol was told that  Kang Woo wasn’t a real human figure, it was only Jae Yeol’s imagination. That’s when they realised Jae Yeol has schizophrenia. 

This drama shows us that everyone might have their own issue which wasn’t obvious to the naked eye. Example, Jae Yeol’s wasn’t the only one who has mental illness but Hae Soo also has the phobia of sex; Park Soo Kwang, a cafe waiter in the drama has Tourette Syndrome. However, self-love and acceptance can help us in the long run. The drama also tells us to cherish friendship and everyone deserves love no matter what situation they are in. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: