I Was Watching Grey’s Anatomy To Cure My Depression but Instead I Learned How To Perform Brain Surgery

It’s a well-documented fact that there is nothing stronger than the bond between a girl in a mental health crisis and the 100+ episode procedural she’s binging to self-medicate. I learned that from an internet meme, which is as good as a doctorate in psychology. I know this because I have an actual PhD that cost me over $100,000 in student loan debt, and really, none of us should go through that again when Google is free.

I also know this is true because I have personally watched the all of Grey’s Anatomy between two and three times a year for the entirety of its 20 seasons. If you’re wondering how that could be possible for a show that has 421 episodes, I would like you to know I take social scientific studies incredibly seriously, and according to the peer-reviewed journal Bingeclock.com, watching the entirety of Grey’s Anatomy takes only 17 days and 22 hours if you do nothing else, including not eating or sleeping. And I am nothing if not relentless in my pursuit of knowledge.

The hallways, tunnels, bodies with bombs in their cavities, and crashed planes of Grey Sloan memorial have certainly carried me through the anxiety and depression that’s riddled my adult life. Who among us hasn’t watched Cristina Yang and Lexie Grey sing “Like a Virgin” to the dead bodies of the hospital morgue just to feel alive? But after a while, the quick hit of Callie Torres dancing in her underwear wasn’t enough to pull me out of my darkness anymore. There are only so many times one can say “You’re my person” to the flickering lights of a laptop screen. I craved a more immersive experience.

I remembered a different meme, this time from TikTok. There’s a trending audio that goes “I thought to myself, how hard can it be? Boys do it.” And so, ever the dutiful student, I thought to myself about world renowned neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd. How hard is brain surgery, really, when they let Patrick Dempsey perform it for years?

An average surgical residency is five years (not including any fellowships). At 365 days in a year, that is 1,825 days to become a full surgeon. However! Anyone who has seen Grey’s Anatomy as much as I have knows that you complete your first complete solo surgery at the end of your third or beginning of your fourth year. That’s roughly 1,095 days.

As previously noted, watching the entirety of Grey’s Anatomy takes roughly 18 days. I’ve watched it an estimated 60 times (at 2-3x times a year, for 20 years), for a grand total of 1,080 days. It simply cannot be a coincidence that this is only 15 days short of when I’d be allowed to do a solo surgery in a residency.

This means that I am a brain surgeon.

I burst into the office to share this newfound expertise with my co-workers, and I was met by a chorus of cheers: “There’s only one way to find out!”

So I come to you humbly, looking for my first volunteer. It doesn’t need to be an open craniotomy to start, or even an aneurism. I am full accredited by the University of Google Wikihow Medical school, where I have found the necessary illustrated step-by-step guides. All I need now is my first volunteer. How hard can it be? Boys do it.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen Phillips is Autostraddle's former editor in chief. She began at Autostraddle in 2017 as a freelance team writer and worked her way up through the company, eventually becoming the EIC from 2021-2024. A Black Puerto Rican feminist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University, Carmen specializes in writing about Blackness, race, queerness, politics, culture, and the many ways we find community and connection with each other.  During her time at Autostraddle, Carmen focused on pop culture, TV and film reviews, criticism, interviews, and news analysis. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. And there were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. To reach out, you can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.

Carmen has written 716 articles for us.


  1. I volunteer! Just promise to leave the part of my brain that makes sure I enjoy cuddling with cats alone, alright? I want to keep on living, and for that, life as to have meaning (read: cats).

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