Post Reporter Revisits Her Descent Into Madness

SusannahCahalanTwitterProfilePicSusannah Cahalan’s 2012 bestseller Brain on Fire is dedicated to “those without a diagnosis.” When Paul Costello revisits that conundrum on the latest episode of Stanford University’s School of Medicine 1:2:1 podcast series, the author and New York Post reporter gives an answer that will resonate with all who have experienced this personal hell:

“It’s utterly terrifying. And lonely. At this point when I was sick, I was still capable of being coherent. Later on, I would lose that ability.”

“I would have these moments of insight, thinking, ‘What is wrong with me?’ … No one could explain it. And that was so frustrating and so frightening.”

Cahalan, prone in the newsroom to fits of intermingled crying and laughing, was eventually diagnosed after a month of acute suffering with anti-NMDA receptor autoimmune encephalitis, a disease identified just seven years ago. Listen to, bookmark the full podcast here.

[Image via: @scahalan]

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.