By Michael Greenberg Dec. From a literary point of view, everything depends on the sensibility of the narrator, her comportment both as the teller and as the main character in her own tale. Severe illness, by its nature, narrows the focus; the palette of experience both intensifies and shrinks; we crawl into the bush, figuratively speaking, and wait out our fate, fighting to survive. There is little suspense: the existence of the memoir is testament to the fact that the author has lived to tell the tale. But what hard-won nugget of wisdom has she brought back from her brief descent into a hell that most of us, for now, have been lucky enough to avoid?

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My Month of Madness While reading the life-story of young and intelligent Susannah Cahalan, we learned more about life and the axis around which our lives spin. The author bends over backward to help the readers see through the lens of rationality and make decisions in their best interests.

Stay tuned to dive into the medical encounters a young Susannah was compelled to embrace. And Why? It is an educational and highly inspirational book that lifts the veils on the struggles and challenges a young girl had to overcome in order to tackle her illness. It will act as a wind at your back, and something that will urge you to propel forward despite the odds.

We loved it! Susannah Cahalan is an American journalist and author born in It puts her sanity into question and makes her even more vulnerable to external phenomena. Her family and those closest to her start to doubt her prudence and mental stability. The key leitmotif that serves as an axis around which all the events circle is the struggle to overcome this inferiority. Namely, the elements which comprise the basis of this plot are weaved together and affected almost interchangeably.

As it turns out, the narrative is brought into line with the voice of Cahalan who finds it unbearably tricky to get back on its feet upon returning home. She slides from one stage to the next in an effort to hasten the recovery process. She has been released from the hospital, but it would take some time before she could relate to the problem. The other not so emphasized parts of this book are the diaries, journals, texts, testimonies and memories of those closest to her.

You can also find writing and texts that were actually written by herself as she battled her way through the sickness. Above all, the words conveyed, depict Susannah as a person whose life-trajectory deserves a special focus. The whole journey commences with a brief portrayal of Cahalan and the medical predicament which precludes her of normal activities. First and foremost, the reader will bump into some self-destructive mindset fueled by paranoid thoughts.

Cahalan is not aware of course of the impulsive urge that compels her to go with the stream while neglecting the idea of recovery. She keeps this little secret and refuses to inform anyone of her situation.

The illness starts to take over her lifestyle in a matter of months as the pain intensifies and the whole idea of keeping it a secret is inconceivable. From the outset, she firmly makes a stand against these symptoms, but the inner breakdown escalates with no end in sight. The stigma attached to the American healthcare system is in the limelight as well. Her family is devastated, and they look for a doctor who actually is interested in listening and coming up with a useful diagnosis.

Death lurks around the corner, as a potential solution is nowhere to be found. Cahalan only wants a doctor who is fundamentally interested in rendering a professional medical service, unlike all the others whose ego impairs their judgment.

Is it too much to ask for humane treatment? A point often overlooked was the fact that the main trigger proved to a physical one with symptoms which are not consistent and may delude the person suffering from it. In other words, the layperson may not be aware of anything even when symptoms start to crop up. With that being said, the nature of the illness alongside the NMDAS-receptor encephalitis are put in the spotlight as Cahalan tries to portray an accurate picture of her medical condition.

She obtained her college degree from Washington University; mostly inspired and psyched up to take risks without any concealed tricks up in her sleeves. A smart and cheerful year old woman residing and working in New York City had a bright future ahead of her. Hired at the age of 17 to work for the NY Times, she quickly rose to prominence due to her proclivity for hard work often under pressure. Capable of wringing out the story from not too friendly individuals such as rapists and kidnappers was her specialty.

It turns out that Cahalan had insect bites on her arm. Meanwhile, New York City was swarming with similar incidents as the bedbug plague wreaked mayhem in the Big Apple. She believed that her studio is also under attack and it would be hard for the city to avert a potential catastrophe. She called upon an exterminator to get rid of the bugs and spray all across the place. At first, she tried to hide the fact that she has bug bites out of fear and mostly judgment. It is not easy to come out of the woodwork and just confess everything to people you hardly know.

The overly suspicious behavior turned a proficient and intelligent woman into an underdog. As time went by, they became increasingly concerned about her emotional and mental situation. Outwardly, she started to exhibit an odd behavior by twisting her hands and mumbling. Without any remedy in hand, the illness progressed. The doctors failed to spot the issue as they asserted that the tests are just fine and no preliminary action is required.

Without any professional assistance, her health deteriorated. She spent 4 weeks in the hospital before any official report or test about the disease was made. Doctors suspected that she may be suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or have sustained some physical ailments. With her life on the line, a doctor, known for his ability to unpuzzle similar medical mysteries was summoned.

She was instructed to draw a clock containing all the numbers from Immediately as she started drawing, he spotted the issue.

Najjar immediately did a brain tissue biopsy which only upheld his claims made earlier. The report was conveyed to Dr. Dalmau who had experience with similar disorders and have worked with patients suffering from brain inflammations. Now, they had to figure out the possible treatment that could help her in the recovery process.

The doctors were relieved because at least now, they had a good understanding of the problem. The road turned out to be a tough one, so the doctors decided to ponder heavily before each decision is made. How did Susannah fall victim to the disease was a mystery to them?! It included several possibilities, all of which with a significant percentage of probability.

Cahalan stood back up again — seven months since she first became infected with the disease. Her health condition was on the rise as she made up her mind to go back to work. Educated from this experience, Cahalan wrote an article to embolden those suffering from similar disorders and invite them to share the problem as soon as possible.

An experience that almost cost her life was actually the turning point of hers — now Cahalan sees the world with different eyes, dazed in awe at the fragility of existence. Act as quickly as possible 2. You know yourself better 3. We are referring to lesser struggle and better response to the situation.

You know yourself better Sometimes we question our mindset and the thoughts accumulated there. Anyway, you should always be one step ahead of everything that is presented before you! In other words, we are saying that you should be the observer of thoughts, not merely someone who is fully engaged in self-talk. Get back on your feet Even when the world collapses right in front of you, you must pluck up that courage and make a comeback — live through the tough times.

Maintain your composure and ponder about a possible twist in your favor. Like this summary? Click To Tweet The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess. Click To Tweet There are few other experiences that can bring two people closer than staring death in the face. Click To Tweet It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed. We are not in a position to discuss the narrative nor the plot which in our opinion is perfectly delivered by Susannah.

We leave you be the judge of this astonishing and life-altering memoir of a woman who defeated a rare illness. Learn more and more, in the speed that the world demands.

Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:.


What if you could read 3 books per day?

She had the musician boyfriend, the gadabout social life, even the cubbyhole apartment in a desirable part of town. And then she had hallucinations, seizures, personality disorder, psychosis and, finally, catatonia. Not so Carrie Bradshaw, then. The first neurologist she saw told her there was nothing wrong with her. A psychiatrist said it was bipolar disorder and prescribed medication. A second neurologist suggested it was "alcohol withdrawal syndrome" and prescribed different medication. None of the diagnoses fitted.


Back From Madness



Susannah Cahalan


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