It’s Not a Mental Illness, It’s Just Life

We can hold the DSM, currently in its fourth edition, responsible for transforming everyday sadness into a medical condition. It now diagnoses human response to loss, save for the death of a loved one, as depression.

Helen Razer
The Age
July 23, 2009

WHEN Death of a Salesman was revived on Broadway 50 years after its celebrated debut, its director asked for help. In an effort to flesh out its frame for a contemporary audience, the play was diagnosed. Two psychiatrists offered their assessment of Willy Loman.

In each case, Loman was pronounced manic-depressive with hallucinatory aspects. Arthur Miller soon received word that this newest Loman was in therapy. The playwright was aghast. The hapless everyman, Miller said, was not a subject for psychiatric study. He was simply beaten down by life.

Loman was, and should remain, a victim of circumstances; not one of disease.

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