Book: Brain on Fire
Author: Susannah Cahalan
I am about 3/4 of the way through this fascinating and intimate look at the descent into madness Susannah Cahalan experienced while being attacked by an obscure disease. Never do we get to view such a descent from the vantage point of the person losing themselves, as it's so rare that they return. An incredible read about an amazing young woman and the long road it took to understand what happened to her.
When someone experiences a near-death disease or dark and life-changing circumstance, it is terrifying for those who love them. People like to try to convince themselves that they have some sort of control, and often fight against the reality that we actually have none. (What a relief!) Some would rather fight accepting the darkness or unknown, but by doing so they accidentally abandon the one suffering. Accepting the darkness that our loved ones walk through allows us to be by their side through it.
A related excerpt from the book on the author's experience with her mother's reluctant acceptance of the darkness her daughter faced that particularly moved me:
"It took accepting how close I came to death (something impossible before, because it was her survival mechanism to deny) to finally allow us to move forward together."
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