Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
I first came to love Christine Montross—a poet-turned-scientist—with her first book, Body of Work—a hauntingly moving memoir about the relationship that formed with a cadaver named Eve that Montross is assigned to as first-year of medical student. In Falling Into the Fire, we jump forward years, and Montross is now a fully licensed psychiatrist practicing a critical care setting. Still a poet at heart, Montross approaches her patients and, in fact, mental illness as a whole, with inquisitiveness and compassion. Weaving in case-studies with history, memoir, and her own intimate struggles as a doctor, Falling Into the Fire is a wonderful window into the nature of psychiatry and the thin line between illness and the need for connection and understanding that is so imbedded in each of us.
"Falling Into the Fire "is psychiatrist Christine Montross's thoughtful investigation of the gripping patient encounters that have challenged and deepened her practice. The majority of the patients Montross treats in "Falling Into the Fire" are seen in the locked inpatient wards of a psychiatric hospital; all are in moments of profound crisis. We meet a young woman who habitually commits self-injury, having ingested light bulbs, a box of nails, and a steak knife, among other objects. Her repeated visits to the hospital incite the frustration of the staff, leading Montross to examine how emotion can interfere with proper care. A recent college graduate, dressed in a tunic and declaring that love emanates from everything around him, is brought to the ER by his concerned girlfriend. Is it ecstasy or psychosis? What legal ability do doctors have to hospitalize--and sometimes medicate--a patient against his will? A new mother is admitted with incessant visions of harming her child. Is she psychotic and a danger or does she suffer from obsessive thoughts? Her course of treatment--and her child's future--depends upon whether she receives the correct diagnosis.
Each case study presents its own line of inquiry, leading Montross to seek relevant psychiatric knowledge from diverse sources. A doctor of uncommon curiosity and compassion, Montross discovers lessons in medieval dancing plagues, in leading forensic and neurological research, and in moments from her own life. Beautifully written, deeply felt, "Falling Into the Fire" brings us inside the doctor's mind, illuminating the grave human costs of mental illness as well as the challenges of diagnosis and treatment.
Throughout, Montross confronts the larger question of psychiatry: What is to be done when a patient's experiences cannot be accounted for, or helped, by what contemporary medicine knows about the brain? When all else fails, Montross finds, what remains is the capacity to abide, to sit with the desperate in their darkest moments. At once rigorous and meditative, "Falling Into the Fire" is an intimate portrait of psychiatry, allowing the reader to witness the humanity of the practice and the enduring mysteries of the mind