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Grey's Anatomy's Sarah Drew Gets Candid Regarding The Burden Of Trauma In The Series

"Grey's Anatomy" doesn't shy away from portraying the effects of its deadly serious events upon the doctors who ply their trade at Grey Sloan Memorial. Characters have been assaulted, faced serious illness, suffered through miscarriages, and many more terribly traumatic events which change how they treat their patients and their loved ones. More than one doctor has experienced the ravages of PTSD after experiencing some mind-bending nightmarish event.

Sarah Drew definitely experienced the lumps and bumps inherent in your average "Grey's Anatomy" story arc during her time portraying April Kepner. She navigates a tumultuous romance with Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), loses a child to a tragic medical condition, and suffers through accidents, she becomes a more confident professional.

Ultimately, Drew found herself grappling with the emotional detritus of having to enact April's roughest moments. In a May 2022 interview with Shondaland, she revealed that she often took April's stress home with her, leaving her little room to appreciate the character. Fortunately, moving on to other projects has allowed her the space and time to really see how important April was to her. "I think taking a break from her and seeing the forest for the trees, as opposed to being just consumed by her, helped because sometimes those storylines that were really traumatic, it was very hard to detach from, to detach my body and my spirit from what was going on with her," she said.

Drew had a hard time separating April's pain from her own

Sarah Drew also told Shondaland that the burden of carrying April's grief around with her could be truly onerous because she cared a lot about the character. Caring about April meant worrying that she was suffering so much. "I cared so much about how she was being formed, it was burdensome when I was in the middle of it."

What got her some distance from April's pain was realizing that her character's trauma and grief had a positive, cathartic, and healing impact on the show's fanbase. Talking with them about it seems to have anchored her own feelings about April in something happier. "Engaging with fans about stories that have affected them and impacted them — there were things that gave so many people so much hope, and still do."

In that case, the good things about playing out April's pain outweighed the sadness that Drew herself bore throughout her time on hospital duty. Ultimately, the important thing was that she has figured out how to marry the joy and pain of her life together. Indeed, she feels as if April's story is one of the intermingled bitterness and joys of living. "My big life journey over the last several years has been about holding pain and joy together because they both exist in the world, and trying to avoid pain doesn't work. [...] I think April's journey has a lot of that interwoven experience that people resonate with — and I certainly resonate with."

And that resonant experience still brings joy and pain alike to fans of "Grey's Anatomy" everywhere.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.