Sarah Fay (@sarahfayauthor) – Pathological: The Cautionary Tale of the Dangers of Overidentifying With a Mental Health Diagnosis | Brought to you by Masterworks (https://masterworks.io use code PASSION to start your journey).
Sarah Fay (Ph.D., MFA) writes for many publications, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and The Paris Review. She’s the recipient of the Hopwood Award for Literature and grants and fellowships from Yaddo, the Mellon Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. She’s on the faculty at Northwestern University and the founder of Pathological: The Movement.
She is the author of the new book Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses.
Almost one in five people (47.1 million) in the US has been diagnosed with mental health. Since last year, that number has increased by about 1.5 million. As the United States and the world become more isolated, more may follow. But is a mental health diagnosis the path to healing or a self-fulfilling prophecy?
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What I Discuss With Sarah Fay
Sarah Fay joins us to discuss her book Pathological, where she delivers a cautionary tale of the dangers of over-identifying with a mental health diagnosis. Sarah suffered from six mental illness diagnoses for almost thirty years, all labeled because of the DSM. She realized the DSM is seriously flawed, even useless, but it’s all we have through that process.
- Why Anorexia and Bipiloar illness mental health diagnosis were defining moments in her life
- Why Pathological is eloquently written through the use of punctuation to emphasize the chapters
- How her six different mental illness diagnoses impacted Sarah
- Why the DSM is seriously flawed, even useless
- Why the DSM has no scientific validity
- Why do we desperately want an answer and relief from our suffering?
- Why chronic loneliness is so rampant in the world today
- Why suffering, grief, and loneliness are part of the human experience
- Why the DSM can’t define dysfunction
- How her whole world disappeared because of her diagnoses
- Overcoming withdrawal from psychological drugs
- Why, when she stopped considering herself sick, she no longer was
- The Dangers of Overidentifying With a Mental Health Diagnosis
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
- And much more…
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Sarah Fay and I Discuss Why the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is Fundamentally Flawed
I asked Sarah Fay to explain the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) fallacy, which is often called the bible for psychiatry.
Sara explains, “This is a frightening but also an intriguing story. Robert Spitzer, who was really one of the main pivotal figures in psychiatry and one of the main architects of the DSM, was asked why you need five of nine symptoms to receive a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. And he said, ‘it was just consensus, we went around the table and for seeing like too few and see, six seemed like too many.’ And that’s the same criteria we use today.
So that’s just to give you an idea that it really is a book that’s written by members of the American Psychiatric Association and primarily white men. They are the ones who’ve created the diagnoses that we identify with and accept today. And in some ways, there isn’t anything wrong with that if the public and the patients and their families knew this.
I took issue and why I see the DSM as being utterly flawed is because we don’t know the truth about it. And psychiatry does. I was on NPR and they brought on Paul Applebaum, who is chair of the DSM-5-TR the most recent edition, and Thomas Insel, a former head of the National Institute for mental health. And I said, ‘Really, the problem with the DSM at this point is it is all we have. It’s useful because we use it. The problem is the gap between what psychiatry knows in giving out these diagnoses and what the public knows in receiving them.’
And in a really hopeful moment, they agreed. I just thought that was such a positive wonderful thing, which is that there have been wars between psychiatrists and psychiatry in the past, hiding things and wanting diagnoses to seem like their biological. But, we have no proof of that. But that felt like a moment of change that they were actually deferring to me, and I’m just every patient. I symbolize all patients, and that felt very hopeful for me.
Thanks, Sarah Fay!
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Resources From The Show with Sarah Fay
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!
* Pathological: The Movement: https://www.pathological.us/
* Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahfayauthor/
* LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-fay-460570188/
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahfayauthor
* My interview with Susan Cain on her new book “Bittersweet.”
* My interview with Gretchen Rubin about knowing yourself
* My interview with Dr. Michelle Segar on her new book “The Joy Choice.”
* My most recent solo episode on why you must feel to heal emotionally
*My Solo episode on work-life balance: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7AZksXySbYVoMPMuma5DpB?si=_VPv5sn3QBCq2pYVh-LXkg
*Solo episode on overcoming burnout: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5keAXxjRs3Q8NKZYWBlPXS?si=N-nf0iQjThSzgsCAutPVPA
*Solo episode on how you stop living in fear: https://passionstruck.com/how-do-you-stop-living-in-fear/
About Today’s Guest Sarah Fay
In addition to writing Pathological, Sarah Fay also leads the Pathological Movement, which is a public awareness campaign devoted to correcting at least some of the misinformation about mental health diagnoses on the internet, in popular culture, and on social media.
The goal is to make people aware of four crucial facts about mental health diagnoses. These four facts clarify the four most common misconceptions and misunderstandings about mental disorders:
Fact #1: A mental health diagnosis is a clinician’s label to categorize your symptoms and help you receive treatment.
Fact #2: Only a licensed psychiatrist has expertise in diagnosing mental health conditions.
Fact #3: Receiving a diagnosis doesn’t mean you have a chemical imbalance.
Fact #4: No mental health diagnosis has been proven chronic.
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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.
John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. A show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.
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