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If anyone tried to stop me after the first concussion I would have protested with my life. Horses, riding, and competing were the young addiction of my seven-year-old self. Had someone said falling off your pony again and again and again at such a young age or at any age would lead to a spiraling world of mental illness and puzzling misdiagnosis leaving me trapped in my own mind, disconnected and isolated from contact, and dangerously seeking relatedness, I would have scrappily fought. But that’s not how it happened. No one stopped me.
Three consecutive concussions at age seven were ignored by a medical community not yet aware of the long-term consequences of head injuries in children. In the years that followed, plagued by memory deficits, depression, anxiety, headaches, vertigo. The most debilitating sequelae was a profound disconnection from other people. Entombed in a fog of confusion I scrambled to cover my symptoms, to function, and to act “normal” at all costs. Not knowing any other way I was suspicious of something being wrong, but I didn’t have the words or context for what that something was and I forged blindly ahead.
Over time, terrified by my own mind and body, spiraling into a mental health crisis, I could no longer hide. Lost in the wrong diagnosis, wrong treatment, and destined to succumb to my mental illness I met a dog also who was resigning to his abandonment. Together we dug in and out of deep-rooted trenches to find one another, ourselves, stumble into doctors who put the puzzle together, and finally understand my true diagnosis of the post-concussive syndrome and its ramifications.
During and after years as a patient in the mental health system, I received a BA in Biopsychology from Vassar College, an MSW from New York University and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Walden University. I developed a private psychotherapy practice and have taught as adjunct graduate faculty at New York University.
I am exquisitely positioned to understand and communicate the experience of being both a patient and a clinician. From this vantage my metacognition of the process of being in the wrong diagnosis, yet still being powerless as a patient, offers a perspective that is relatable but maybe often inchoate. My understanding as both mental health patient and clinician is extensive and gives me a unique perspective on communicating the conundrum of being trapped in the wrong diagnosis. Much of my work relates to trauma and as a professional I studied trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in therapists working with September 11 victims, comparing their attachment strategies with therapists working in Israel with terrorist victims. I have published in International journals and presented at international conferences related to this topic.
I am a married mother of two children, two dogs, two rabbits and two birds. When not serving as my children’s personal Uber, I play bikes. A lifelong interest in road biking has shifted a fervor for track cycle racing, which involves adrenaline and a unique kind of bike that has no brakes, one gear, fast speeds, close contact, and is mainly only raced in a velodrome.
Paperback: 310 pages
Publishing date: July 03, 2020
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches