* This review contains spoilers for Episode 10 of Daily Dose of Sunshine
The new K-drama series Daily Dose of Sunshine shines a light on the often-misunderstood world of psychiatric care. The Netflix drama is based on a webtoon by former nurse Lee Ra-Ha, and follows the story of Jung Da-Eun, a nurse who transitions from internal medicine to the psychiatric ward. Through her experiences, viewers are taken on a journey filled with empathy, humor and the raw realities of mental illnesses.
Episode 10: The Hardest Part of a Journey
Da-eun’s (Park Bo-Young) journey of self-discovery and healing continues as she grapples with her own mental health. Despite her natural instinct to put others first, her doctor advises her to prioritize her happiness. This leads Da-Eun to start a compliment diary, which helps her recognize and appreciate the positive aspects of her life.
She begins to assert herself more, even insisting on staying in her favorite spot during yoga class. Slowly, Da-Eun’s confidence returns, and she can finally begin her journey towards recovery.
Taking baby steps
Da-Eun calls head nurse Song Hyo-Shin (Lee Jung-Eun) to update her on her progress. So far Hyo-Shin is the only one who knows the truth behind her absence from work. She asks Hyo-Shin to keep her hospitalization a secret, fearful of the reaction of others. Hyo-Shin agrees, while saying that everyone is looking forward to seeing her back at work.
Meanwhile, we learn that Ae-Shin, the patient with schizophrenia, is Hyo-Shin’s younger sister. We get a glimpse of the difficulty Hyo-Shin faces while caring for her. Hyo-Shin is preparing to move to a new apartment, but is told that she will need to get the permission of the other residents if she wants Ae-Shin to stay with her. Despite Hyo-Shin’s reassurances, the stigma surrounding mental illness is difficult to shake off, and most residents refuse to sign a petition agreeing to the move.
Elsewhere, Deul-Re’s (Lee Yi-Dam) problems with her mother come to an end. She sells her apartment and kicks her mother out, giving her money and telling her never to contact her again. Deul-Re then goes home with Yeo-Hwan (Jang Ryul), letting him treat her to a meal, and enjoying her freedom for the first time.
Da-Eun gets ready to leave
While at the hospital, Da-Eun runs into her former patient Kim Sung-Sik (Jo Dal-Hwan). He tells her that he is being transferred to her old hospital for further treatment. Da-Eun begins to worry that the other staff members will find out that she was admitted into psychiatric care.
Eventually, Da-Eun is discharged. However, getting back to normal life proves difficult. She overhears a remark by Yu-Chan’s (Jang Dong-Yoon) mother, questioning her ability to work. Da-Eun soon meets up with Go-Yun (Yeon Woo-Jin), and they begin to rekindle their friendship. However, she tells him that they should not date, as she is embarrassed that he knows about her condition. She also tells him that she plans to quit nursing.
However, she then runs into Hyo-Shin, and the two have an emotional conversation. Da-Eun tells Hyo-Shin she cannot be a good nurse anymore, but Hyo-Shin tells her to not run way. She asks Da-Eun if she can really leave all her patients behind. Da-Eun begins to recall her experiences with patients, including the late Kim Seo-Wan. She cries, and admits that she wants to return after all
What we thought
Much like the previous episode, Episode 10 of Daily Dose of Sunshine had us reaching for the tissues. Park Bo-Young once again proves to be a talented actress, showing us Da-Eun at her most vulnerable. We see her slowly make the effort to get better, only to begin to doubt herself once faced with the challenges of her situation. However, her love and empathy for her patients helps her find the strength to return.
The episode also does a good job depicting the challenges faced by people attempting to return to daily life once they have been discharged. It also makes it clear that what is needed is a strong support system, as well as the need to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
The stage is now set for Da-Eun to return to work, and we wonder how she will navigate the new challenges ahead.