The Aspergirl Reviews segment is finally back! In this segment of this blog, I will be taking a look at different kinds of media (books, tv shows & movies) that deal with mental health issues, and seeing if they handled it correctly or not. Aside from this, I’ll also be talking about how I felt about it, and how it affected me as well. And what better way to kick off this segment for this year than by starting it off with a Korean drama that surprised me in terms of its representation and its personal impact on me- JBTC’s “Clean with Passion For Now”.
“Clean with Passion for Now”, an adaptation of the web comic of the same name, tells the story of Jang Seon Kyul (Yoon Kyun Sang), the CEO of a cleaning company called “Cleaning Fairy” and who has mysophobia. One day, he ends up running into Gil Oh Sol (Kim Yoo Jung), a positive girl who is the exact opposite of Seon Kyul and who ends up working at his company. Hijinks and romance ensue after the two, although they clash in the beginning, they end up getting closer to each other while they work together. Along for the ride are our main Cleaning Fairy crew- Kim Dong Hyun (Hak Jin), Hwang Jae Min (Cha In Ha), and Lee Young Sik (Kim Min Kyu).
The drama had great performances from the three main leads, but there were moments in which its script did some secondary but great actors a big disservice. There were also a lot of plot holes throughout the course of the drama, and some very rushed plot points led into unnecessary melodrama. However, despite its flaws, there were moments in which it was brilliant, especially when it the right emotional and story beats in the right way when it mattered the most.
Now many of you might be wondering what exactly is mysophobia. It is the “pathological fear of contamination of germs and bacteria”, or in simpler terms, it is the excessive and obsessive fear of being contaminated with germs and bacteria to the point that even daily activities become affected by it. For a more detailed explanation on mysophobia and my experiences as someone with it, please refer to my previous blog post.
I was really surprised at how well they were able to showcase the struggles that someone who has mysophobia goes through. A lot could have gone wrong with its portrayal, but the writers and the actor himself, Yoon Kyun Sang, were able to show audiences that this is something that people do have and struggle with, and that it is a real issue that in severe cases, does have debilitating effects. In Seon Kyul’s case, he can’t really go into rooms that haven’t been properly sanitized, he couldn’t sleep in a hotel room without checking how clean it is to the point that he could only be okay with it if he brought his cleaning staff with him to clean the place the way he knows is right, refused to eat in restaurants, sanitized tables and sat on his own napkins when he had to go to a restaurant, and actually had bad panic attacks when he was in an area with a lot of people.
Aside from this, they did make it a point to also show what caused his mysophobia, how people reacted to it, how his family wanted him to be cured of it, and it also showed us his own journey in terms of coming to terms with it and overcoming it in the end.
I thought that the portrayal was realistic and not too over the top, and the reactions of those around him were realistic as well.
This character and drama really resonated with me as I could relate to Seon Kyul’s struggles, although my case isn’t as severe as his; and it really allowed me to open up to my therapist about it to the point that I was able to figure out what triggered my own mysophobia in the first place and decided that it was high time for me to seek treatment and overcome it.
Right now, I am still in the early stages of overcoming my own mysophobia, but I have already become more conscious now of how much hand sanitizer or alcohol I use in a day, and at times, I do try to have a more conscious effort in controlling the anxiety fueled thoughts that will lead me to reach for my hand sanitizer or my small alcohol bottle. We have also set little milestone goals to reach and achieve, and although it may seem like progress is slow, I know that we are getting somewhere, and all of this was only possible because of “Clean with Passion For Now” and Yoon Kyun Sang’s wonderful portrayal of Seon Kyul.
Have you ever had a similar experience-that a television show, book, film, or character allowed you to open up about a mental health issue, acknowledge it, or maybe motivated you to seek help for it if needed? Let me know in the comments below!
Image Source: JTBC