Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of MadnessAn Award Winning Memoir And Instant New York Times Bestseller That Goes Far Beyond Its Riveting Medical Mystery, Brain On Fire Is The Powerful Account Of One Woman S Struggle To Recapture Her Identity.When Twenty Four Year Old Susannah Cahalan Woke Up Alone In A Hospital Room, Strapped To Her Bed And Unable To Move Or Speak, She Had No Memory Of How She D Gotten There Days Earlier, She Had Been On The Threshold Of A New, Adult Life At The Beginning Of Her First Serious Relationship And A Promising Career At A Major New York Newspaper Now She Was Labeled Violent, Psychotic, A Flight Risk What Happened In A Swift And Breathtaking Narrative, Cahalan Tells The Astonishing True Story Of Her Descent Into Madness, Her Family S Inspiring Faith In Her, And The Lifesaving Diagnosis That Nearly Didn T Happen. I took care of a patient with this tragic and intriguing disorder Her complex and terrifying journey through this disease in ongoing Over the course of caring for her, her sister mentioned this book In this rare disorder, people often pass through a range of bizarre psychiatric symptoms that lead to catatonia and then often death as the body becomes unable to regulate itself, as with the patient I cared for in ICU With the young woman who wrote this book, you see her pass through various stages of psychosis hallucinations, acting out, narcissisms that baffle everyone around her until one day she has a seizure and is finally admitted to a hospital The rest of the book is a race against time as her family and the health care professionals around her try to solve her mysterious illness and ultimately save her life
Susannah Cahalan, a young journalist working at a great ok not so great, kinda schlocky actually metropolitan newspaper, suddenly notices things going awry She starts having episodes of paranoia, becomes hypersensitive to sound, light and cold She suffers from loss of appetite and begins having out of body experiences and wild mood swings A tour of New York psych and neuro pros did not yield much than a suspicion that she had been partying too hard On the other hand, grand mal seizures can be so convincing.Susannah Cahalan image from Reader s DigestCahalan s is a tale of survival It is amazing, in the 21st century, how much we do not know about the human brain Maybe the Star Trek people were wrong Maybe the brain is the real final frontier It sure seems like a lot of the weapons being used today are as old fashioned as spears and tomahawks It is Cahalan s journey through this hostile environment that is one of the main foci here She was diagnosed by serious professionals as having partied too hard, as being bipolar, schizophrenic, psychotic and probably a few fun things from the DSM manual Her story is almost like a mystery, with clues, red herrings, suspects, good guys and bad well, there are not really any bad guys, just uninformed medical p
I rarely read memoirs Too often the author spends far too much time painting themselves in the best possible light and or justifying their behavior It is a rare and gifted author that can objectively describe a personal event without infusing it with strong emotions.Perhaps Susannah was able to accomplish this huge feat due to the simple fact that she was unaware of herself much of the time that her brain was inflamed She begins with the first noticeable symptom a couple of bed bug bites that were probably hallucinations and escalates from there Some of it remembers in bits and pieces right up until her major seizure which wasn t a pretty picture, nor did she try to paint it as such Rushed to the hospital, her mind is blank for the next month until she is correctly diagnosed and begins the slow healing process I found Susannah s story absolutely fascinating She fairly balances her experiences with simple medical terminology, cites doctors notes and tries to piece together a chronological picture of her sickness, interactions with those who love her, and hospital video She describes her intense and insane mindset without previously establishing her basic personality This is an excellent strategy as her writing style and brief normal clearly defines her as an intelligent and engaging young woman The fact that she is confident enough to allow th
You could probably call this a great piece of investigative reporting Unfortunately for me, it was instead labelled as a memoir, leaving me feeling exasperated and mislead I guess I was hoping for something akin to the enjoyable memoirs that I ve read I m thinking The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, or even Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, which is not so much memoir as it is fiction based on memoir beside the point This was like an excruciatingly long newspaper article, chocked full of too much medical jargon and theory to be enjoyable I was really hoping for something witty, funny, anecdotal, interspersed with childhood memories maybe Instead, it s about the most linear, dully written thing I ve read in a very long time The story actually, it s of a soulless recording of events starts with the onset of symptoms we have no context for what the writer was like prior to this event in her life, and thus lose some of the implied contrast The lack of description in the book I m a big fan of Hemingway s iceberg theory, but it s based on the assumption that there is a common human experience on which one can infer things that are not written having a completely debilitating brain disease is no
I used to occasionally watch a show called Mystery Diagnosis where someone would come down with the strangest disease with the weirdest symptoms They would go from doctor to doctor being misdiagnosed every time In the end, a brilliant doctor who specializes in the strangest ailments would correctly diagnose the patient with a rare disease that affects 1 in a billion people This book is basically an episode of that show.Also, I am told that the show House was like that, but I never saw it.The plight of the author is enthralling but scary Everything that happens to her will make you realize how easily our normal lives could be turned upside down This is not a book for the queasy or someone with hypochondriac tendencies The descriptions in the book are raw and terrifying.One other thing I will caution, not really good or bad, it just depends on your taste, is that the book is very clinical After reading I almost feel like I could go out and diagnose thi
Interesting and terrifying read. Diagnosed schizophrenic Psychotic or the victim of the greed of drug companies The last book I read was Stir My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home, an experience of brain aneurysm and recovery It was very so so but the author s appealing personality added much to the book I hoped that Brain on Fire, in the same genre, would be better The author s personality didn t shine through, but this might have been a fact that she lost herself with her illness.The illness, a rare, auto immune disease of the brain seems to mimic schizophrenia and you could see this when it was full blown However, what was not clarified was when the author was nuts and when she was seriously ill Before her illness it becomes apparent th at she might go to work clean and neat, but her apartment is filthy and she is a hoarder Her first symptom was that of seeing a bed bug bite on her arm given the state of her apartment you could see that her sheets probably hadn t been washed in months but no one else could see the bed bug bite I did wonder about her boyfriend, why he had enabled her to live like a mentally ill person before she actually was Why h
When you read you enter another world, and as someone who is uncomfortable with even the idea apparently of care giving entering the world of hospitals for the majority of this book was painful for me Beyond that, I was unimpressed with the pop culture mentioned throughout the book she described someone as looking like a character from Mad Men and she even uses Google as a verb The part where she interviews John Walsh was probably the only part that I found truly enjoyable The first half of the book plays like a mystery as to what is wrong with her and then midway through
Wonderful, wonderful book I m a neurologist, and it s amazing to see a book written from a patient s perspective, especially one with a such a good outcome The book progresses from the starting of the disease process and right up to the recovery stage It s unnerving to read about the psychotic episodes, the complex partial seizures, the generalised seizures and ultimately, the catatonia It must have been very frightening for both the author and her loved ones to witness all of those events unfolding Scientifically, the book is well researched, and I love how the medicals terms are explained without jargons I particularly love the part where the author describes how IVIGs are produced That being said, I doubt the significance of the visual neglect as shown with the clock face drawing, and it was written as if the visual neglect led to the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis I guess, perhaps, the visual neglect counts as focal neurology hard evidence that something s wrong with the hardware i.e the brain, and that would have prompted the doctors to look harder for an organic cause of the psychosis and hallucinations This book truly highlights that doctors should always be aware that there are organic possibilities to consider before bouncing so called psychotic episodes over to the psychiatrist I truly hope that the thousands and thousands of patients with NMDA R antibody encephalitis and their relatives would find comfort i
Losing big chunks of your memory is a bit like losing who you are or who you thought you were Because of a rare condition, Susannah Cahalan comes close to losing both her life and sanity before making a recovery What I found most interesting about the recovery however, is the question of whether we ve come to the other end of the rabbit hole and are still who we think we are How can we tell Cahalan relies on friends and family to tell her she is who she was This wasn t the

[PDF] ✎ Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness ✐ Susannah Cahalan –
  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
  • Susannah Cahalan
  • 25 March 2019
  • 9781846147746