NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O'Sullivan
This intriguing and revelatory book by leading neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan recently won the 2016 Wellcome Prize, which recognises exceptional original work addressing medicine, health or illness. It is brilliant written and really draws the reader into to its under-discussed subject matter.
Pauline first became ill when she was fifteen. What seemed to be a urinary infection became joint pain, then life-threatening appendicitis. After a routine operation Pauline lost all the strength in her legs. Shortly afterwards, convulsions started. But Pauline’s tests are normal: her symptoms seem to have no physical cause whatsoever.
It’s All in Your Head is Suzanne’s first book; a focused look at the range of debilitating illnesses that are medically unexplained. We all exhibit physical responses to emotion – from blushing and laughter to palpitations and stomach ache – yet sometimes these expressions can be much more debilitating, causing seizures, paralysis and even blindness, and the stigmatisation associated with such a diagnosis is profound.