I’m all about getting happy and staying happy.
But like everyone, I’ve had my dark days.
I had a particularly tough time in my mid-twenties.
Despondent about a breakup (see previous posts about Kyle) and anxious about my career and future, I couldn’t shake the sadness.
I wondered, “Am I depressed?”
I’d just finished my master’s in clinical psychology so I knew the DSM. And sure, during that season of my life, I met the criteria for dysthymia.
But did that mean I had a mental disorder?
I was just a typical human being experiencing typical, albeit undesirable, feelings.
A full life includes the full range of emotions.
As much as we prefer to party on the mountain tops, we have to trudge through the valleys, too.
But anyone who’s endured any pain—so that would be all of us—can agree that we grow more through our struggles than our triumphs.
Which is one of the many reasons I’m troubled by the current trend to pathologize emotions at every turn.
I go into more depth on this subject in my Love & Life interview with psychiatrist Dr. Allen Frances author of, “Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life.”