Book Review: Unwillable: A Journey to Reclaim My Brain by Jackie Stebbins

The body of non-medical literature is growing. We are pleased to highlight another great addition to the literature on AE. The Foundation is grateful to blogger WhereAreMyPillows for preparing this book review for us.

 Unwillable: A Journey to Reclaim My Brain by Jackie Stebbins book cover

Book review by autoimmune encephalitis survivor and writer WhereAreMyPillows,

If you have good health, count yourself lucky.

Then do everything you can to preserve it.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned as an autoimmune encephalitis survivor, it’s that I spent the first two decades of my life oblivious to the wealth of having a functional body.
Little else can ripple across all dimensions of your existence as profoundly as a change to your physical form—external, internal, invisible, or otherwise. This is made never more obvious than in Jackie M. Stebbins’ book Unwillable: A Journey to Reclaim My Brain.

Unwillable details Jackie’s personal story of becoming sick with seronegative autoimmune encephalitis. The whole gamut is put on display: from reaching the pinnacle of success as a young trial lawyer, to the depths of a world unpredictably shattered before her eyes, to the crushing blankness of a brain inflamed mind, to battling the darkness all the way through to rebirth.

Jackie doesn’t hold back. Her raw account of the encephalitis journey provides readers with a colourful window into the realities of a life upended by medical chaos. In this case, the culprit was a rare disease; as for the aftermath, much of which is invisible to all but the patient impacted? Unfortunately, not so rare.

Jackie paints a multilayered picture of both the tangible and intangible consequences of suffering a serious illness. Her book serves as a humbling reminder that no one is immune from life’s ugly curveballs; nevertheless, until your last breath, you still have the beauty of life ahead that’s yet to be lived.