Saturday, November 14, 2015

I read: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

A friend casually mentioned this book to me in conversation and I am so glad I paid attention, because I related SO MUCH to this book.

The writer relates the true story of her bout with a very specific encephalitis.  The symptoms were tragically horrible including seizures, psychosis, catatonia etc.  I never experienced the exact severity of these symptoms, but I did experience one grand mal seizure and the aftermath that followed.

Several before that, I got viral meningitis and I never quite got back to 100%.  I can remember feeling out of body and hallucinating a little bit.  I imagined people screaming obscenities at me when I went out for a walk.  When lying in bed, I felt like my legs would lift all the way up in the air to be perpendicular to my body and then come down again and then reset.  These experiences are really the brain misfiring, and they land in the realm what the author went through.

Fortunately for me I never had to go through the unknown scary part of NOT KNOWING what was going on, nevertheless I did relate to much of the book.

I felt scared and unsure.  I researched a lot. I did NOT feel like myself.  It was a long journey to get back to myself.  There were so many parallels to our experiences.  I was reminded of how much we do NOT know about the brain and how smart the neurologists are, but they hesitate to make any definite conclusions.

It read quickly and was fascinating and I loved it.  I completely agree with the last sentence of the book:

"I wouldn't take that terrible experience back for anything in the world. Too much light has come out of my darkness"

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