In Nellie Bly’s chapter, you write of her experience: “the first day, she quickly learned what it was like to be discarded by humanity…” and end with: “Other than some money being thrown at the problem, nothing changed after Bly’s exposé […] one of the most sophisticated and moneyed cities in the world, now aware of such cruelty visited upon its citizens, simply shrugged. As we still do.” This is potent. Instead of shrugging, othering, or hastily diagnosing, in what ways would you like to see the psychiatric community shift in the coming years? What’s your hope?
There’s so much to be excited about from the research side, but as we wait for these interventions (and I remain an optimistic), I hope that psychiatry can really take a hard look at what it can offer to those suffering right at this very moment. Good care comes from truly listening and bonding to patients — the whole “laying of hands” that distinguishes mediocre doctors from great ones — using all the senses with the patient and maintaining an open mind, searching for answers outside of the immediately obvious. I think we’ve turned our back on the more artistic side of clinical care because it’s not lucrative and it’s difficult, because it’s much easier to write a script and call it a day, and the system itself does not reward this kind of interaction. So clearly things need to change within our broken medical system in general. But I think that at the very simplest: psychiatrists need the time and space to spend more time with their patients. And we need to figure out a way to force the system to give them that opportunity.
“The big difference was that she was misdiagnosed for two years and I was only misdiagnosed for a month. She would, her doctor told me, never fully recover.” Taylor Larsen in conversation with Susannah Catalan on her latest book, “The Great Pretender”: https://t.co/rkvOZXJvkm pic.twitter.com/hZPBfKwaHM
— LA Review of Books (LARB) (@LAReviewofBooks) April 18, 2020