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TV Show Parenthood: How not to Deal with Suffering

A 2012 episode of the TV show Parenthood titled "Everything Is Not OK" focused on a character named Kristina Braverman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The gravity of Kristana's cancer is contrasted with her husband Adam's cheery optimism. Unfortunately, his upbeat outlook just makes Kristina feel worse, and thus she no longer wants to talk to him.

Here is a conversation from the episode that Kristina has with a new acquaintance, Gwen, who is also a breast cancer survivor—in other words, someone who has been there and can go there:

Kristina: I feel like I can talk to you. I don't even know you. It's like you're a perfect stranger, but I can't really talk to my husband.
Gwen: I know. Why do you feel like you can't talk to him?
Kristina: Because he is so positive. He's like this relentlessly positive person who can fix everything and make everything better, and it's like …
Gwen: That is a good man who wants to protect you from anything bad happening, and here's the thing: The bad thing is already happening.

The episode ends with Kristina confronting Adam in a monologue that cuts right to the heart of what it's like to be a sufferer:

I know that you're trying to make everything OK for me. You always have our whole lives. And I love you so much for that. But you have to let me be scared. I want to be able to come to you and just say, 'Adam, I'm really scared today.' And I just want you to hear it. I don't want you to tell me to think positive or that everything is gonna be great. 'Cause right now I'm not sure that it's going to be, and I just want to be able to feel scared. That's just what I need from you right now.

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