We tell the story of that patient, Alan Pean, and how his delusions lead him to a situation that's just as strange as the worst thoughts his mind is cooking up. This story is a collaboration with the New York Times.
Ira talks to Joel Gold, a psychologist and author, about a strangely common delusion known as the "Truman Show Delusion," in which patients believe that they are being filmed, 24/7, for a national reality television program. Joel wrote a book with his brother Ian called Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness.
Comedian Marc Maron, who's been off drugs for more than 15 years, says he still thinks it's okay to laugh at funny drug stories. And then he tells us one of the funniest we heard while putting this show together.
Ira plays tape from an interview that he did more than 20 years ago, with the author Doris Lessing, about her novel The Fifth Child, which tells the story of a woman who gives birth to a goblin-like baby. The archival audio appears courtesy of National Public Radio, Inc.Then Ira's conversation with Cheryl, from the top of the show, continues.
Ira Glass explains that, like the rest of America, we at This American Life are not tired of those stories of women who have no idea they're pregnant and then—poof—one day a baby pops out. Ira and several of our producers speak with Jennifer Lyne, who found out just a few days before giving birth and even appeared on the TV show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.
Host Ira Glass plays tape of two women who ended up as frenemies.They kept trying to be friends, but couldn't help themselves from fighting. Ira then speaks with psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad who has run scientific studies to answer the question: Why don't we simply end these troubling kinds of friendships? Holt-Lunstad's research also shows that these relationships are much more common than you might think.
Host Ira Glass talks about the surprising way apologies tend to play out in couples when one person has cheated on the other, based on stories his mother, Dr. Shirley Glass, told in her book Not Just Friends. And contributing editor Sarah Vowell tells us about the time she couldn't stop apologizing.
The story of Jug Burkett, a businessman in Dallas and a Vietnam vet, who years ago routinely started checking the bona fides of anyone in the news who claimed to have served in the Vietnam war. He says he's found hundreds of fakers, and he says that one of the tricky things about the fakers is that they often seem more like The Real Thing than real vets do.
Host Ira Glass talks with his mom—a clinical psychologist—about why people seem to rarely take the advice others give. Then advice columnist Dan Savage, author of the syndicated column and book Savage Love, gives the audience some advice that hopefully might save lives.
Dr Patricia Deegan hears voices in her head. She's a psychologist and she believes that the only way mental health workers can really understand what their patients go through is if they hear voices themselves.