Susannah Cahalan’s story may sound like the beginning of a horror film, but it actually happened. The 24-year-old was in the prime of her life, healthy, and had recently gotten a job as a journalist when she noticed that something was wrong.
At first she thought she had bedbugs, but the exterminator found nothing. Then Susannah began to feel lethargic, and stopped going to work. She became increasingly paranoid and started to experience hallucinations. Her relatives could barely recognize her. Finally she was overcome by seizures, and taken to the hospital.
In the hospital, Susannah’s condition worsened. She was aggressive, violent towards the nurses, and tried to escape. She even became violent towards her relatives. The doctors suspected that the young woman was experiencing a nervous breakdown and were very close to admitting her to a psychiatric ward. Fortunately there was a doctor who drew the correct conclusions: Dr. Souhel Najjar.
In order to find out what was wrong with Susannah, Dr. Najjar decided against blood tests and X-rays. Instead, he performed a very simple test: He asked her to draw a clock. As he studied the results, he discovered that his assumption was correct: Susannah’s “madness” had a physical cause.
On Susannah’s clock, all of the numbers were on the right side, which indicated brain damage. After further investigation, a diagnosis of Anti-NMDA