Thoughts on Jo Wilson on Greys Anatomy

For those of you who have followed this season of Grey’s Anatomy you have slowly follow Jo’s story. From her very rough start of living out of her car, her extremely abusive ex-husband, to now where she is happily married, about to start a family and starting her birth family search. I wasn’t sure if Shonda would ever give us more of a backstory about her but thankfully this season we start to see Jo’s story and specifically her adoption journey unfold as she and Alex discuss starting their own family.

*SPOILER ALERT*

This past episode we got to see Jo after what seemed like a while to process the brief interaction between her and her biological mother. Over the past couple of episodes we have seen her withdraw from Alex and the rest of her friends, she hasn’t been work, drinks more than we typically see her drink and appears jilted, angry, numb and depressed. When she emerges from her bed and starts back working she immerses herself at work, continues to push Alex away and finally is confronted that she was drinking while in the lab.

The end of the show is an argument between Alex and Jo when he confronts her about her going to work drunk and she continues to push him away. By the end of the show, I could relate to Jo on so many different levels.

I have read a few comments from other viewers about how “Jo is the worst” and she is “always in so much pain…Alex doesn’t need her…she is so petty”. The review was hard to read because Jo is incredibly relatable to many adoptees. For those that have followed my adoption journey and now with the potential of reuniting with birth family, I can understand 100% why she withdrew from loved ones. I don’t agree with her showing up drunk on the job but the degree of her heightened emotions could cause people to do irrational things.

I’m sure the million dollar question is why did Jo withdraw and didn’t explain herself to Alex. As an adoptee, who has spoken with other adoptees, specifically Korean adoptees, some who have reunited with family, some where the birth family continues to deny their existence, some who are in process of searching and other who will never know their birth family and on some level we all relate. We all have this collective experience that is unique to us that we understand all the different emotions we experience as we walk along this journey.

There are times, I admit that I prefer to speak to specific KAD friends because of where they are in their birth family search, or because of other similar circumstances we have. I do not mean to withdraw myself from my other friends and loved ones, however adoption and the trauma surrounding adoption is something that we all KADs just understand. Some of these women that I have become close friends with I have only met a handful of times but on some level we just all “click”. We understand the struggles all of us have experienced and empathize in our current struggles of having our feet stand in two different worlds.

I am by no means excusing Jo’s drinking behavior or showing up to work drunk. What I am saying is that her portrayal of what adoptees go through during the birth family search is something ALL adoptive parents should see. Her story shows the darker side of adoption. As I have mentioned before, not all adoptions are happy endings, some have a very dark side. I am extremely grateful that Shonda is shedding light on adoptees, our journey, our pain, our struggles and has given us a realistic portrayal of us on prime time.

Monday evening, I finally got the courage to call the organization I have been working with. Unfortunately, the person who answered did not speak very good English so I will have to call back later this week. I am nervous and extremely anxious. I don’t speak Korean and having to explain where I am at in my search is nerve-wracking enough.  For now one day at a time, one step at a time.

 

-J

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What I’ve Been Reading

I thought this post I would take a different take on things and include some of the books that I have been reading over the last couple of years. I have not included all of them but wanted to highlight some of the ones that really meant something to me. I have included the links to either the author website or their Amazon page. Please feel free to check them out. I will be reading them again soon.

The first book that I want to mention is “Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers”. This is a book that was recommended to me about two years into therapy. By this time my therapist and I had built a very good rapport and we began to dive into a lot of the issues.

Before I explain what this book is about, I want to make one thing clear. Neither my therapist NOR myself, have diagnosed any of my family members. The resources that were given to be were based upon the conversations, situations or comments that were brought up during therapy with regard to situations that I had throughout middle school and beyond.

My first initial reaction hit me straight in the chest. The main question asking us if we will ever be good enough was a hard pill to swallow. From middle school into my early adulthood, this is how I felt. I thought that no matter what I did or how I acted, I would never been good enough. I ordered the book off of Amazon and started to dive into it the first night I got it. I have to admit, there was a disclaimer from my therapist that I may not relate to everything mentioned in the book, because the topic of abuse is brought up and that is not something that I have experienced.

I was however able to identify with a lot of other emotions presented in the book. While reading through, I completed the exercises that were suggested and did my best to follow their instructions and tips. I felt better, as if someone truly understood what was going on through my head. It was such a comfort in the validation that came from hearing other people’s stories.

If you are interested in learning more, I will include the link at the bottom of this post.

The next book is one that I jumped into when I started attending my church small group. It was the only one that worked with my schedule. Each Tuesday at 6:30AM we would meet and start out our morning in prayer and discussing our current study. I joined this group in April of 2015 and it was one of the best decisions I have made. I have met some of the most amazing Godly women whom I call sister.

When I started this group, they were reading “Biblical Femininity” by Grace Church. The entire book focuses around how women are image bearers of God and the feminine qualities of God that we reflect. Women are called to be “helpers”. Mentally and spiritually, I was not in a good place when I joined the group. I was separated from my boyfriend at the time whom I had selfishly hurt in the worst way possible.

I desperately wanted answers to my brokenness, to understand what had happened. It was there in those early morning studies that I came to find the broken pieces. This book not only explains how women were created to be helpers, but also explains how we can be tempted and what happens when we succumb to those temptations. As we started to learn and read about our core temptation things started to fall into place. I started to understand my role as a woman and even more, understand why things had happened the way they did.

Since the first time I have read this book, I have read it two times since then. It seems that the more I read it the more I get out of it. It was one of those books that turned on a light bulb for me.

There are other books as well, however I am going to include those in the next blog post, because those are written by the same author and have an overall theme together. I have included the links to the two books I have mentioned today. They are worth the read. I will be posting more as I’ve got a nightstand full of books that I need to start reading.

 

 

 

Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karly McBride, Ph.D.

Biblical Femininity by Grace Church

Stronger than Catastrophe

A friend of mine shared a video on Facebook. It started with the statement that every parent needs to watch this. Naturally in my half awaken state I began to watch the video. WOW, just wow. After watching this very short video I was completely inspired. All if it resonated with me which meant of course that I immediately had to post it on Instagram. Coincidentally I had found a meaningful quote, probably on Pintrest I wanted to use. I have included the link to the video here. Trust me, it’s worth the 3 min.

It begins with explaining why we love our children, they we love them because they are fragile and dependent on us. Which continuing through the video is explains that we as parents need to teach our children to be strong. We teach our children that when we fall, we dust ourselves off and continue with what we are doing. It didn’t hit me until I heard that, it made me realize that this entire time throughout my childhood and the way I have raised my children, I am teaching them to be strong.

The older gentleman speaking is Jordan Peterson, in the video he says, “It’s not that life is better than you think. Life is as harsh as you think. It might even be worse. But you are way tougher than you think.” When we are faced with challenges big or strong, we forget to give ourselves credit for facing adversity head on. I don’t believe we give ourselves enough credit for facing life head on and we don’t even realize it. We are so damn tough and we fail to realize it. Give yourself a pat on the back or enjoy a glass of wine or two, you are way stronger than you think you are. In fact, you are so damn tough you have faced all of these terrible things and are still breathing. We may be bruised, broken, and hurt but we are still here, still facing life and all that it has to throw at us.

This little bit of encouragement was exactly what I needed today. Don’t forget to remind yourself that YOU are a warrior, YOU have made it through hell, and YOU will continue to thrive. It’s okay to know you’re unstoppable, that there is something deep inside you that will rise to the occasion even when you believe you will break. In my life, I have thrived despite the adversity, loss, rejection, and grief. Be unstoppable and recognize your strength. I’m in your corner cheering you on reminding you how tough you are.

Always,

J

Grief…what it’s really like

The beginning of October is an emotional rollercoaster for me. October 1 is my mom’s birthday and October 8 is the anniversary of my dad’s passing. Grief is something that I had become accustomed too even from a young age. After losing my mom in grade school, it became something familiar. Years would pass by and the sting of losing someone you love whether expected or not still hits you in the chest. There are days where things are alright and you have accepted the great loss but you can expect days that drag you down and it takes everything in your power not to scream each moment of the day. Throughout my life, I learned that grief is not linear rather that it comes in waves like the ocean. Waves of acceptance and peace wash over you and the world around seems just as bright as when they were a part of this world. Once the waves go back out into the ocean again the wounds reemerge only to feel as raw as the day the loss occurred. Those days when the pain is real and raw are some of the hardest days to keep a smile on your face.

When you lose someone you love you want the world to remember to stand still even for a moment to recognize what the world has lost. That the loss you have suffered has affected those around you. For those that have not experienced such a loss, it is hard to put yourself in our shoes. We belong to a “club”, one where membership is involuntary. The loss of a parent is something that you can’t put into words, it is something that pours over into every aspect of your life. There are moments that I want to call my dad and tell him about the newest thing that his grandchildren are doing or ask his advice about home renovations. Some days I try so hard to try and remember my mom’s infectious laugh and continue to wonder if I resemble her in any way.

Grief challenges you, it makes you dig deep and find a strength you never knew about, not because you want to but because you are made to pick yourself back up and continue to stay a part of the world with only the memory of someone you love. We have to find the strength in the midst of a loss to smile and enjoy life again.  If you have lost someone you love, I understand. I may not know the circumstances or can relate 100% but I can tell you that I have felt the pain and sting of loss and it absolutely sucks. I feel ya. I get it. I live with it. Hug your loved ones and never let them forget how much they mean to you.

Always,

J

Stop the Stigma

Alright, it’s time to be truthful. Anxiety sucks. Depression sucks. There are days that I hate having to convince myself that some of my own thoughts are misleading and untrue. Do you know how exhausting that can be? How much work it actually takes to keep yourself put together even with the help of medication? I have struggled with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and complex ptsd since my adolescence and have only been on medication the last three years. I can’t imagine how my life would have been different if I had gotten help sooner, or had been surrounded by people who didn’t think mental illness carried such a stigma. Because I have been helped so much through medication and therapy I decided that it was time to be open about my experience and try to stop the stigma of mental health. There are days that I don’t want to do anything except lay in bed and eat take out while binge watching Netflix while refusing to shower. Thankfully those days are few and far between and if I get into that funk my kids usually want to cuddle up and watch a movie with me.

Why is this so hard to talk about? What makes anxiety, depression, bipolar, trauma, abuse, and other mental illnesses so difficult to talk about? Treatment for mental illnesses has made so many leaps and bounds since the days of straight jackets and haldol. I will admit that at first it’s difficult even for me, I was worried the looks I was going to get or if I would be seen differently by my friends. Once I opened up, it wasn’t so weird to have conversations about what medications were working and eventually a few friends started talking about their struggle with mental illness as well.

It’s time to stop the stigma. The quote above from Jennifer Lawrence says it all. We are able to talk about medication needed for diabetes, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even acid re-flux but not about medication needed to help us mentally.  It’s not any different, some people cannot control the level of serotonin in their brain any more then someone can control the levels of insulin their pancreas is able to produce. We need to have more open conversations surrounding mental health and the time to start is now.