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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
by: (author)
3.71 375
One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory at... show more
One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory at all—showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind? In this swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the brilliant, lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. A team of doctors would spend a month—and more than a million dollars—trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong. Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death. Yet even as this period nearly tore her family apart, it offered an extraordinary testament to their faith in Susannah and their refusal to let her go. Then, at the last minute, celebrated neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with the help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life. He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of “demonic possessions” throughout history. Far more than simply a riveting read and a crackling medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her “lost month” to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love. It is an important, profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9781451621372 (145162137X)
ASIN: 145162137X
Publisher: Free Press
Pages no: 264
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
Mirkat Always Reading
Mirkat Always Reading rated it
3.0 Brain on Fire
Susannah Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old working as a reporter for the New York Post when she began to have seemingly unrelated and inexplicable symptoms, such as memory problems, sensitivity to light, anxiety, mood swings, food aversions, and insomnia. Tests revealed nothing unusual, and her neu...
Lydia's Page
Lydia's Page rated it
3.0
Brain on Fire is an interesting journey through a prolonged illness, the body's collapse, and the struggle to find not only a cure, but even an accurate diagnosis. Though the author is a reporter and makes many references to her talent and humor, I didn't feel that this was particularly well-written...
Kate Says: "Reading Is Fun!"
Kate Says: "Reading Is Fun!" rated it
3.5 This was one of the better memoirs I have read in a while.
Susannah Cahalan was only twenty four years old when she woke up alone in a hospital room, unable to move or speak, and had no memory of how she got there. From this point, she relies on hospital reports, her journal, her father's journal, and other people's memories (who were close to her) during t...
My Never Ending List
My Never Ending List rated it
4.5 Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
She had worked at the NY Post for many years when she started to experience some unusual symptoms. It began with numbness and paranoid feeling about her boyfriend, these symptoms getting progressively worse as the days progressed. The 24-year old reporter then started to experience seizures and her ...
Don't Be Afraid of the Dork
Don't Be Afraid of the Dork rated it
3.0 What Can You Do When Your Brain Betrays You?
Original Publication Year: 2012 Genre(s): Non-Fiction, Medical Series: NA Awards: None Format: Audio (from Audible.com) Narrated by: Heather Henderson In 2009, Susanna Cahalan was a 20-something with a successful career as a journalist when her behavior became decidedly odd and erratic. It signal...
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