Andrea Buchanan lost her mind while crossing the street one day. Suffering from a horrible cough, she inhaled the cold March air, and choked. She was choking on a lot that day. A sick son. A pending divorce. The guilt of failing, as a partner, as a mother. Relieved when the coughing abated, she thought it was over. She could not have been more wrong.
When Andrea coughed that day, a small tear was ripped in her dura mater, the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. But she didn’t know that yet. Instead, she went on with her day, unaware that her cerebrospinal fluid was already beginning to leak out of that tiny tear.
What followed was nine months of pain and confusion as her brain―no longer cushioned by a healthy waterbed of fluid―sank to the bottom of her skull. There was brain fog and cognitive impairment to the point where she could not even make sense of the most basic concepts. At a time when she needed to be as clear-thinking as possible, she was trapped by her brain.
The mind-brain connection is one of the greatest mysteries of the human condition. In some folklore, the fluid around the brain is where consciousness begins. Here, in the pages of The Beginning of Everything, Andrea seeks to understand: Where was “I” when I wasn’t there?
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