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Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

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Published by Simon and Schuster
One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory at all—showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind?
One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory at all—showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind?

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Published by: Simon and Schuster on Jan 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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"Unforgettable..."- Elle"Swift and haunting."- Scientific American
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PREFACE
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t rst, there’s just darkness and silence.“Are my eyes open? Hello?”I can’t tell i I’m moving my mouth or i there’s even anyone toask. It’s too dark to see. I blink once, twice, three times. There isa dull oreboding in the pit o my stomach. That, I recognize. Mythoughts translate only slowly into language, as i emerging rom a pot o molasses. Word by word the questions come: Where am I?Why does my scalp itch? Where is everyone? Then the world around me comes gradually into view, beginning as a pinhole, its diametersteadily expanding. Objects emerge rom the murk and sharpen intoocus. Ater a moment I recognize them: TV, curtain, bed.I know immediately that I need to get out o here. I lurch or-ward, but something snaps against me. My ngers nd a thickmesh vest at my waist holding me to the bed like a—what’s theword?—straitjacket. The vest connects to two cold metal siderails. I wrap my hands around the rails and pull up, but again thestraps dig into my chest, yielding only a ew inches. There’s anunopened window to my right that looks onto a street. Cars, yel-low cars. Taxis. I am in New York. Home.Beore the relie nishes washing over me, though, I see her.The purple lady. She is staring at me.“Help!” I shout. Her expression never changes, as i I hadn’t said a thing. I shove mysel against the straps again.“Don’t you go doing that,” she croons in a amiliar Jamaicanaccent.“Sybil?” But it couldn’t be. Sybil was my childhood babysit-ter. I haven’t seen her since I was a child. Why would she choosetoday to reenter my lie? “Sybil? Where am I?”“The hospital. You better calm down.” It’s not Sybil.“It hurts.”The purple lady moves closer, her breasts brushing against my

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