Author of “Brain on Fire” to speak at Adrian College

Brain_on_Fire_Susannah_CahalanSusannah Cahalan, the author of “Brain on Fire,” a memoir about her experience with a rare autoimmune disease, will speak this week at Adrian College. The speech, which will be at 7 p.m. Monday, March 16, in Dawson Auditorium, is part of the college’s annual recognition of Disability Awareness Week.

“One day, I woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to my bed, under guard and unable to move or speak. My medical records — from a month-long hospital stay of which I have no memory — showed psychosis, violence and dangerous instability,” Cahalan writes. “Yet, only weeks earlier I had been a healthy 24-year-old, six months into my first serious relationship and beginning a career as a cub reporter at the New York Post.”

Her speech will offer an in-depth description of her illness, beginning with feeling “off,” and descending into psychosis, violence and then near-death catatonia. It was the “brilliant, out-of-the-box thinking” of the neurologist, who would diagnose her with a newly discovered form of autoimmune encephalitis, which would ultimately save her life. During her address, she will explore the “stigmatization of mental illness and the excitement of new neuroscience.”

More details on Cahalan’s appearance in Adrian can be found here. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Danielle Ward at 517-265-5161, ext. 4094, or dward@adrian.edu.