Welcome to the exclusive serialization of my new memoir Cured. This is more than just a memoir; it’s a digital health initiative to bring the possibility of mental health recovery to everyone.

The premise of Cured is simple: It’s possible to recover from every psychiatric condition: anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD, eating disorders, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, etc.

Not everyone will recover, but everyone must be given the chance.

Subscribe to receive

  • Interviews with experts like Dr. Thomas Insel (former head of the NIMH), Chyrell Bellamy (director of Yale’s Program for Recovery and Community Health), and Larry Davidson (senior advisor to SAMHSA’s Office of Recovery)

  • Stories of recovery from those with different backgrounds and identities, particularly those from marginalized communities

  • My memoir of recovery from serious mental illness after ending up one of those “hopeless cases”—diagnosed with bipolar disorder, chronically suicidal, and unable to live independently 

  • Resources and tips for those who are struggling

How does Cured work?

Paid subscribers can support this project with a monthly or annual subscription and mental health advocates get a signed copy of my first memoir, Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses (HarperCollins).

Each subscription and every share sends a message to the media, publishers, clinicians, and researchers that mental health recovery is important and needs to be talked about.

Share Cured: The Memoir

Mental health recovery statistics

  • Over 50 percent of adults diagnosed with major depressive disorder recover spontaneously, their only treatment being the passage of time.

  • A 2020 study showed that anxiety disorders have a complete recovery rate of 40 to 72 percent.

  • In eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, full recovery is 62 percent and 68 percent, respectively.

  • One study showed that 65 percent of adolescents diagnosed with ADHD no longer meet the criteria ten years later.

  • Studies show that OCD is curable in children, who often grow out of it without treatment.

  • Bipolar rarely gets talked about in terms of recovery though that’s starting to change.

  • Even full recovery from schizophrenia is possible with a 2018 study finding that nearly half of those with schizophrenia reached recovery. A more conservative 2020 study showed a rate of 29 percent, which is also high given that schizophrenia is often treated as inevitably deteriorating. Other recovery rates from schizophrenia are more hopeful. In the 1970s, researchers John Strauss and William Carpenter conducted an extensive, multi-year study finding that 67 percent of people diagnosed significantly improve, and many fully recover.

  • One meta-analysis of data collected between 1969 and 1999 found similar recovery rates across cultures, countries, and healthcare systems. Researchers concluded that 45 to 65 percent of people with serious mental illnesses will recover with or without treatment over time.

About Me

I’m an author at HarperCollins, an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, a freelance writer at The New York Times and elsewhere, a certified mental health peer recovery support specialist (PRSS), and a mental health keynote speaker who’s spoken to audiences across the country about recovery from mental illness.

My first memoir Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses (HarperCollins) is a journalistic account of the twenty-five years I spent in the mental health system and the flaws in psychiatric diagnoses, it was featured on NPROprah DailySalonForbesThe Los Angeles Times, and more.

I write for many publications, including The New York Times, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Time Magazine, and The Paris Review, where I was an advisory editor. My essays have been nominated for pushcart prizes and chosen as notable mentions in Best American Essays. I’m the recipient of the Hopwood Award for Literature and grants and fellowships from Yaddo, the Mellon Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony, among others.

At the Texas Book Festival, signing copies of ‘Pathological,’ post-recovery

I live in Chicago with my two beloved cats, Siddhartha (a.k.a. Mr. Sweets) and Baby Theo. They were instrumental in my recovery. More than anything, I want a t-shirt that says, Ask me about my cats.

Baby Theo (left), Siddhartha, a.k.a. Sweets (right)

For more, visit www.sarahfay.org and follow my cats on Instagram @sarahfayauthor.

A note on terminology

I use the term cured deliberately. Clinicians and researchers don’t like it. But that’s because they’re using it as a noun. There isn’t a single cure for mental illness. There’s no pill or magic bullet. But the definition of the verb cure is “to restore to health, soundness, or normality” and “to bring about recovery from.” What are health, soundness, and normality? They’ll look different for each person.

Being “cured” of chronic mental illness doesn’t mean being chronically happy or comfortable or calm. It entails uncomfortable, painful emotions for extended periods; behaving in ways we’d rather not; and being besieged by negative thoughts because that’s part of the human experience.

For a complete definition of mental health recovery, see my post here:

What is recovery?

*Nothing in Cured or on this website should be taken as medical advice. I am a doctor (of philosophy) and a certified mental health peer recovery support specialist but not a licensed professional.

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Bringing the possibility of mental health recovery to everyone through interviews with experts, the best resources, and inspiring stories of recovery


Cured the Memoir by Sarah Fay 

Author @HarperCollins | Creative writing faculty @ Northwestern University | Freelance writer @The New York Times, et al. | Certified Mental Health Peer Recovery Support Specialist For my teaching Substack, visit www.writersatwork.net