the thing that impresses me most about the mental health storytelling on One Day at a Time isn’t just that it exists, it’s that so much of it is dependent on Penelope’s own agency. I can’t think of many (any???) other shows where someone goes to therapy because they WANT to, because they personally make that decision based on available information and curiosity and not in some kind of state of crisis or needing an intervention from a healthy character. She does it, she likes it, she continues to go because she’s getting something personally out of it, which in itself is remarkable because of the narrative of mental health treatment being a tournament of suffering before you’re allowed any kind of relief. She even finds community and connection with the women in her group!!!!
It is just beyond refreshing to see a character who takes medication (again, because she’s like, maybe I want to do this, and decides to), whose mental health struggles are explicitly a part of her life, but who is also a stubborn goofy beautiful brave weirdo who enjoys her life and has so much else going on in it
that’s not even getting into the fact that this character is a woman of color, a woman with chronic pain, a woman who is consistently portrayed as a extremely competent at her job and a great mom and a great daughter and friend and person