"Brain on Fire" is the stunning debut from journalist and author Susannah Cahalan, recounting the real-life horror story of how a sudden and mysterious illness put her on descent into a madness for which there seemed to be no cure. 'My first serious blackout marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over ...Read More"Brain on Fire" is the stunning debut from journalist and author Susannah Cahalan, recounting the real-life horror story of how a sudden and mysterious illness put her on descent into a madness for which there seemed to be no cure. 'My first serious blackout marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming days and weeks, I would never again be the same person ...' Susannah Cahalan was a happy, clever, healthy twenty-four-year old. Then one day she woke up in hospital, with no memory of what had happened or how she had got there. Within weeks, she would be transformed into someone unrecognizable, descending into a state of acute psychosis, undergoing rages and convulsions, hallucinating that her father had murdered his wife; that she could control time with her mind. Everything she had taken for granted about her life, and who she was, was wiped out. This is Susannah's story of her terrifying descent into madness and the desperate hunt for a diagnosis, as, after dozens of tests and scans, baffled doctors concluded she should be confined in a psychiatric ward. It is also the story of how one brilliant man, Syria-born Dr Najar, finally proved - using a simple pen and paper - that Susannah's psychotic behaviour was caused by a rare autoimmune disease attacking her brain. His diagnosis of this little-known condition, thought to have been the real cause of devil-possessions through history, saved her life, and possibly the lives of many others. Cahalan takes readers inside this newly-discovered disease through the progress of her own harrowing journey, piecing it together using memories, journals, hospital videos and records. Written with passionate honesty and intelligence, "Brain on Fire" is a searingly personal yet universal book, which asks what happens when your identity is suddenly destroyed, and how you get it back. "With eagle-eye precision and brutal honesty, Susannah Cahalan turns her journalistic gaze on herself as she bravely looks back on one of the most harrowing and unimaginable experiences one could ever face: the loss of mind, body and self...a mesmerizing story". (Mira Bartok, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Memory Palace"). Susannah Cahalan is a reporter on the "New York Post", and the recipient of the 2010 Silurian Award of Excellence in Journalism for Feature Writing. Her writing has also appeared in the "New York Times", and is frequently picked up by the "Daily Mail", "Gawker", "Gothamist", "AOL" and "Yahoo" among other news aggregrator sites.Read Less
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The subject was interesting but poorly written I thought and very poorly edited. One doctor called a she in one place, a he in another. Disjointed and not very clear which I understand to be part of the disease but I still thought it was poorly written since the writer was a reporter.
Jul 10, 2014
Month of madness
Liked book so much I ordered a second copy for family to pass around.
Dec 1, 2013
Scary & well written!
She is a journalist so knows how to put together a paragraph. Very well written page- turner about her experience w/ a brain disorder that was misdiagnosed by several prominent neurologists until one finally gave her a simple pencil & paper test. This is a persuasive arguement for universal health care. It cost over one million dollars to diagnose and treat her. A patient w/ no insurance may have been dumped in a state psychiatric hospital and left. Spoiler alert - it has a happy ending.
Publishers Weekly, 2012-09-24 In 2009, Cahalan was in a serious relationship and her career as a reporter at the New York Post was taking off. But suddenly, as she tells it in this engaging memoir, she began suffering from a bizarre amalgam of debilitating symptoms including memory loss, paranoia, and severe psychosis that left her in a catatonic state that moved her close to death. Physicians remained baffled until one extraordinary doctor determined that Cahalan was "in the grip of some kind of autoimmune disease." Released from the hospital after 28 days, she had no memory of her stay there. DVDs recorded in the hospital were the only link she had to her startling condition. "Without this electronic evidence, I could never have imagined myself capable of such madness and misery," she writes. Focusing her journalistic toolbox on her story, Cahalan untangles the medical mystery surrounding her condition. She is dogged by one question: "How many other people throughout history suffered from my disease and others like it but went untreated? The question is made more pressing by the knowledge that even though the disease was discovered in 2007, some doctors I spoke to believe that it's been around at least as long as humanity has." A fast-paced and well-researched trek through a medical mystery to a hard-won recovery. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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