A Mind Unraveled A Memoir MOBI ê Mind Unraveled A

A Mind Unraveled A Memoir A newer edition of this title can be found hereThe compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination and his ensuing decades long battle to not only survive but to thriveAs a college freshman Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room confused and in pain In the aftermath of that critical moment his once carefree life would be consumed by confrontations with medical incompetence discrimination that almost cost him his education and employment physical abuse and dark moments when he contemplated suicideThis is the story of one man's battle to pursue his dreams despite an often incapacitating brain disorder From his early experiences of fear and denial to his exasperating search for treatment Eichenwald provides a deeply candid account of his years facing this misunderstood and often stigmatized condition He details his encounters with the doctors whose negligence could have killed him but for the heroic actions of a brilliant neurologist and the family and friends who fought for himMany of Eichenwald's recollections are drawn from his diaries vivid and painstakingly kept records that helped sharpen his skills as a journalist He raises important uestions about the nature of memory the revelations of brain science and the profound mysteries of human perceptionUltimately A Mind Unraveled is an inspirational story one that chronicles how Eichenwald faced often with his own mortality transformed trauma into a guide for reaching the future he desired Defying relentless threats to his emotional and physical well being he affirmed his decision to never give up and in the process learned how to rise from the depths of despair to the heights of unimagined success

10 thoughts on “A Mind Unraveled A Memoir

  1. Canadian Reader Canadian Reader says:

    Rating 35Note Possible spoilersKurt Eichenwald was diagnosed with epilepsy in the late 1970s when he was a freshman at Swarth the prestigious private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania The first signs of the disease were short episodes of staring To friends Kurt would appear to be lost in a world of his own dazed and absent He had earlier been ill with paratyphoid fever with delirium and had also suffered a concussion Whether either of these conditions predisposed him to the seizure disorder is uncertain What is abundantly clear however is that he received dangerously substandard medical care for several years There were serious health conseuences as a result The poor treatment Kurt received was largely owing to the interference of his overbearing autocratic father a renowned pediatric infectious disease researcher When his adult son’s first symptoms presented Dr Heinz Eichenwald who had a thing against “for profit” doctors and hospitals insisted that Kurt see a pediatric neurologist colleague who was not even a clinician but a research scientist “Dr Nicholson” had neither the knowledge nor the experience to prescribe anticonvulsants He also failed to monitor Kurt’s blood for signs of drug toxicity Dr Nicholson led Kurt to believe that epilepsy was a shameful disease that would seriously restrict the young man’s life An independent life and a stimulating profession? Forget it Nicholson also cautioned Kurt against informing anyone of his condition and told him that if pressed he should refer to his condition as a “seizure disorder”—as if it were some discrete neurological condition other than epilepsy In fact the terms seizure disorder and epilepsy are used interchangeably Another so called “neurologist” “Dr Craddock”—who in fact had no credentials in the specialty and was actually a psychiatrist—kept upping Kurt’s medication dose When the patient reported disabling side effects the physician dismissed them offhandedly He’d never heard of those kinds of drug reactions he said A third neurologist at Northwestern University Hospital “Dr Strauss” determined that Kurt didn’t have epilepsy at all because his EEG which had been inappropriately administered was normal Epileptics can in fact have perfectly normal or inconclusive electroencephalograms According to Strauss Kurt had a classic conversion disorder—hysteria due to psychiatric problemsEichenwald eventually found a good neurologist in Dallas his hometown but his problems weren’t over Although he gained greater control of his condition with the drug Dilantin the seizures never went away completely At the center of his personal narrative is a fairly lengthy account of his shocking experience of discrimination at Swarth College officials particularly the clinical psychologist Leighton Whitaker fabricated lies about Kurt’s academic performance social integration and mental health in order to push him out of the school Whitaker even bizarrely alleged that Kurt had a brain tumour claiming that the young man’s Dallas neurologist had failed to diagnosis it Clinical psychologists by the way are not in the business of diagnosing brain lesions In reality—and in violation of federal law—the college’s administration pushed Kurt out because his epilepsy was an inconvenience and the school didn’t want to accommodate him Eichenwald fought Swarth tooth and nail and in the end graduated with his friendsThe remainder of the book documents the author’s entry into the world of newspaper journalism It covers the many barriers and ordeals along the way Gaining health insurance was a particular trial and source of anxiety At least one struggling organization didn’t want to employ Eichenwald because signing him onto the group health insurance plan would make the plan financially prohibitive for all During this time it was not uncommon for Eichenwald to have seizures on city streets only to wake up later in hospital having to face huge bills During one seizure episode he was brutally sexually assaultedThe author has fairly significant memory impairment because of the havoc poorly controlled epilepsy wreaked on his brain over the years In writing his memoir he acknowledges that he relied on contemporaneous notes and audiotapes he’d made about his symptoms and experiences as well as the recollections of friends and family Some of these recollections by people close to him are included in the text Eichenwald uses pseudonyms for the “medical professionals whose inattentiveness and poor judgment caused so much unnecessary damage” He writes that he considered filing a suit against these physicians but recognizing that his father might actually side with them and that the legal case could drag on for months or even years he chose to forgo litigation and get on with his life insteadI learned a lot from reading this book but I believe it could have been uite a bit shorter without losing any power Eichenwald—a longtime investigative reporter for The New York Times best selling author of nonfiction and currently a senior writer at Newsweek—has written a courageous and illuminating book about a brave and determined life

  2. Claire Claire says:

    I couldn’t stop reading Eichenwald’s memoir is a powerful and riveting story of how he fought for what was right—the right to have good doctors the right for a job that was inclusive of him and believed in what he could do and the right to live as normal of a life as possible The story begins as Eichenwald is diagnosed with epilepsy during his freshman year of college After being told by an awful doctor that he should restrict his goals he is continually misdiagnosed other doctors and almost dies due to the drug toxicity After this moment he finds Dr Naarden a wonderful neurologist who tells him that he can do whatever he wants and that epilepsy does not have to control his life In the midst of dealing with incompetent doctors Eichenwald is thrown out of Swarth and upon graduation is discriminated against at his job Additionally Eichenwald struggles to obtain health insurance due to his condition and is unable to maintain the job he truly loves due to needing insurance to cover his medical expenses In the midst of all of this he does not let anything stop him He does all of the things that the first neurologist told him he couldn’t do Eventually while working as a copy boy for The New York Times he begins his career in reporting and after some time becomes successful as an investigative reporter and has a family of his own As a premed student I was shocked and embarrassed by the lack of bedside manner and treatment given to Eichenwald It’s so easy to think that being told to be empathetic is something we know and are supposed to do in healthcare but over and over again as in Eichenwald’s case we see medical professionals not seeing the person but seeing the condition instead And we can’t pretend that this happened 30 years ago and cannot happen again I remember reading an article recently about some schools that are alleged to have convinced students with mental illness to take a semester off and are given hassles when they attempt to return And even though I don’t have a chronic condition I can name times I went into the doctor’s office and was not listened to or was told terms I did not understand or was looked at like a spectacle and not a human being As I said as soon as I began I could not stop reading this book I’m not sure if it was because I love reading stories of how people succeed against adversity or that as a medically minded person I was interested in learning about someone’s life with epilepsy However I must say that this memoir is a fantastic look at a successful reporter's life who let nothing get in the way of what he desired Because of this memoir I desire to be a better doctor and I hope that other healthcare providers who read this become better clinicians who treat people well Moreover I hope that everyone who reads this book is kinder to people who have challenges in life I am also informed about epilepsy and will make it a point to shut down ignorance And above all else I’ve learned about the resilience of the human spirit As Eichenwald states at the beginning he was given a set of cards in his life and he played them well Very well Thank you Ballantine Books and Kurt Eichenwald for offering this book giveaway

  3. Cathy Cathy says:

    I've been spoiled twice in a row with incredible writer's and their amazing life stories Nothing like a reporter with thorough critical thinking skills to bust up all the BS corruption and incompetence This book was an eye opener in regards to advocacy for one's education and health care Kurt was a champion who never backed down despite the odds being stacked against him My heart went out to him and my respect was enormous I feel blessed to read this inspirational book

  4. Anne Anne says:

    I received an advanced copy of A Mind Unraveled as part of the giveaway program Reading Eichenwald's story is like reading my own autobiography It's amazing how much the public still does not understand epilepsy Only those who are the closest to the individual really know what the person experience Kurt was fortunate to have roommates and family who stood by him throughout his life I thought the idea of making recordings was such a great idea I wish someone had made that suggestion to me over 20 years ago The hardest part about epilepsy is what you don't remember Having friends and family or audio tapes are a great help to serve as a memory This book should be a must read for anyone who who has ever met anyone with epilepsy be it a friend family member coworker or whatever Epilepsy is so much than seizures

  5. Michelle Arredondo Michelle Arredondo says:

    With a little over 41o pages it's safe to say that this book is a lot Alot of information a lot of content a lot to think about and ponder issues within our own lives A Mind Unraveled A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is the true story of Kurt Eichenwald an acclaimed journalist and best selling author and his tormenting struggle with epilepsy Easily among the list of top 10 non fiction books that I have read this year so far Eichenwald first began experiencing symptoms when he was in high school I could not imagineremembering my high school yearshow difficult they were alreadydiscovering yourselfstill feeling all the insecurities one feels among their peersand then symptoms occur The fearthe stressthe embarrassmentis mind blowing and gut wrenching To go from slight symptomsto eventually full on grand mal seizures That wasn't even the worst of his struggles The discrimination he endured both in school and in the workplace the misdiagnoses the mismanagement of his condition by physicians Truly an unraveling of such a difficult life journey It's inspirationalabsolutely but it pulls at your heart strings through out Gut wrenchinga powerful message Like the saying goesyou don't know unless you step a mile in someones shoes Grab the tissues and don't expect for this story to leave you any time soon Thanks to the peeps at goodreads Kurt Eichenwald and to Ballentine Books for my free copy of this book via giveaway I received I read I reviewed this book honestly and voluntarily

  6. Ouida Foster Ouida Foster says:

    The author's telling of his path to success in family and career is exciting and compelling Then add in all of the challenges that his lifetime with epilepsy contributed to every facet of his journey is amazing If you are unaware of the impact of Epilepsy please read and see how a young man pushed and grew and fought his path to success and you will learn about epilepsy along the way If you do know about epilepsy I have epilepsy you may still see parts of his story where there are similarity and others where there is difference In all cases it brings empathy lessons and reflections on what one may want to try and how one may want to prioritize their life's goals whether they have epilepsy or not

  7. Melanie Melanie says:

    I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not reuired a charge toward the end Riveting infuriating informative human loving and reflective this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity professional insufficiency and personal trauma He decided twice in his life to proceed to a specific goal one academic one personal He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even imagine and because others in his life were loving It's not just the story of overcoming obstacles it's the story of holding one's own despite the overwhelming weight of the world

  8. Susan Susan says:

    This is my number one read of 2018 This book will rip you apart It is agonizing to go on this journey of epilepsy with Kurt Eichenwald It is infuriating to meet a bevy of incompetent doctors There are so many people in this book that I absolutely hated Yet through it all Kurt never gave up He kept pushing on demanding answers and never letting epilepsy keep him from accomplishing his goals even when it was really difficult This book tackles very difficult subjects but is written beautifully I had a hard time putting this one down I was provided a copy of this book by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  9. Paul Paul says:

    A masterfully written text by a young man now a middle aged man husband and father who happened to have epilepsy and was kicked out of Swarth College his freshman year by a bunch of lying psychologists neurologists the dean and the security department All of them had progressed past the idea that epilepsy was caused by demon possession but that it was still pretty weird and dangerous to be falling down and convulsing They wouldn't admit that his epilepsy was the reason they were kicking him out and they were afraid of liability until he started tape recording their phone calls and the dean said that was absolutely the reason she was kicking him out They lied to his parents his friends and anyone who disagreed with them They had a staff psychologist who diagnosed him as having a brain tumor without ever seeing any EEGs and then kept insisting that he be kicked out He went through a few neurologists who told him different things many of them wrong and were so arrogant that they refused ever to admit they had said it or if they had they were right Another Swarth psychologist or neurologist diagnosed him as not having real epilepsy and said he had conversion hysteria an entirely psychological phenomenon He had to have the neurologist that he trusted call or write the others and tell them that they were dead wrong about their hunches and the author was a classic epileptic There was a lot of medical and administrative hubris and they were nasty as hell to him His valiant roommates tried to defend him but the administrators made up lies that he had no friends no social life poor grades and whatever musical productions he was in were all in his mind and had no basis in reality When he produced a tape of the a capella group he was leader of they wouldn't listen because they said there was no such group and he had made it up It was pure gaslighting Everybody thought they knew what to do best keep him from swallowing his tongue never happens hold him down until he stops shaking might cause him to break bones; worst thing you could do All he needed was to be told where he was when he woke up and where he had been when it happened Telling him a joke would also reorient him Then letting him sleepTo me the arrogance of those in power and the vicious lies they told to cover their asses and the school's collective ass is unconscionable The lack of empathy and the arrogated authority of the liars defies anything that a liberal arts tradition stands for He was even raped anally when he was unconscious onceThe book retails the long struggle for him to get a bachelor's degree and get into a news writing job The dedication he exemplifies sort of on the level of Booker T Washingt0n doing everything perfectly and faster than anyone else is just admirable His perseverance is remarkable And ultimately Swarth those still alive at least issues an apology and offers to have him come back and lecture for the same fee as one semester of college which he claimed they stole from him So the ending is happy tooIt hit especially close to home for me because for decades I have taken Tegretol and Lamictal as he did even though I've never had a seizure I have a slight case of Tourette's a movement disorder that causes my fingers to fly off the keyboard and pull up an entirely different screen and occasionally say words that conventional people think are wicked and obscene neither of which I can help But it's lost me jobs and gotten me kicked out of common areas of businesses where I've worked I've also gotten lectures from small minded people who think this is all a moral issue not a biological one I couldn't change it if I wanted to The medications keep me level headed keep my hands from flying out than minimally and give me an extra second to stop myself from saying the evil F word But it still happens And lots of people think it's a moral issue Why isn't it a moral issue for people to decide why they have the right to judge something that they know nothing about? It's not fun having OCD which is on the same gene as Tourette's but if you can't stop counting everything you just can't Instead of counting steps I could go A B C but it's never going to stop It just happens biologically I'm a very kind and moral person but I can't abide shallow thinkers who think they can judge my behavior better than I can or who think my shortcomings are entirely my fault or who think they're morally superior to me

  10. Jill Jill says:

    5 stars“The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author’s ongoing struggle with epilepsy—his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination and his ensuing decades long battle to not only survive but to thrive”Oh holy buckets This book is simply amazing awe inspiring utterly maddening and truly heart warming I am shocked at how deeply this book touched me However as a woman with uncontrolled epilepsy this book really hit home for meI am astonished and sickened by what Kurt Eichenwald went through just trying to get proper medical care to get an education and obtain a job The extreme difficulties he faced to just have a normal life is disgusting Eichenwald is a true testament to the axiom of never give upI really liked and appreciated the sections of the book which included statements from roommates parents wife and kids It added so much to the book and show how his uncontrolled epilepsy impacted so many livesI am appalled at the way Eichenwald was treated throughout most of his life His positive attitude and push for normalcy have certainly changed how many people with epilepsy are treated nowThis is a book everyone touched in any way by epilepsy needs to read or for that matter anyone touched by a chronic illness should read This is an important book I am so thankful Eichenwald wrote itI received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley The views given are my own #Netgalley #AmindUnraveled #BallantineBooks

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