The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself

The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself

by Andrea J. Buchanan

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A PEN / E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Finalist

A real-life neurological mystery and captivating story of reinvention by the New York Times bestselling author of The Daring Book for Girls.

Andrea Buchanan lost her mind while crossing the street one blustery March morning. The cold winter air triggered a coughing fit, and she began to choke. She was choking on a lot that day. A sick child. A pending divorce. The guilt of failing as a partner and as a mother. When the coughing finally stopped, she thought it was over. She could not have been more wrong.

When she coughed that morning, a small tear ripped through her dura mater, the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. But she didn’t know that yet. Instead, Andrea went on with her day, unaware that her cerebrospinal fluid was already beginning to leak out of that tiny opening.

What followed was nine months of pain and confusion as her brain, no longer cushioned by a healthy waterbed of fluid, sank in her skull. At a time in her life when she needed to be as clear-thinking as possible?as a writer, as a mother, as a woman attempting to strike out on her own after two decades of marriage?she was plagued by cognitive impairment and constant pain, trapped by her own brain—all while mystifying doctors and pushing the limits of medical understanding.

In this luminous and moving narrative, Andrea reveals the astonishing story of this tumultuous year—her fraught search for treatment; how patients, especially women, fight to be seen as reliable narrators of their own experiences; and how her life-altering recovery process affected both her and her family.

The mind-brain connection is one of the greatest mysteries of the human condition. In some folklore, the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain is thought to be the place where consciousness actually begins. Here, in the pages of The Beginning of Everything, Andrea seeks to understand: Where was “I” when I wasn’t there?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681777290
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 04/01/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 374,711
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Andrea J. Buchanan is a New York Times bestselling author of Gift, The Daring Book for Girls, and Mother Shock. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part 1 The Fog 1

Part 2 A Mystery 25

Part 3 Floating 61

Part 4 Insight 119

Part 5 Rebound 201

Part 6 Year Zero 257

Resources 325

Further Reading And Listening 329

Acknowledgments 333

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