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The Naked Lady Who Stood On Her Head: A psychiatrist’s stories of his most bizarre cases

November 24, 2010

A review in The Huffington Post of a book written by a psychiatrist discussing cases he worked on:

Our journey into the world of psychiatry begins with the tumultuous story of working with someone with a borderline personality: young Dr. Small is soon over his head with problems caring for his patient, aggravated by bad supervision. We move on to the "Naked Lady Who Stood On Her Head", the book’s namesake, where he delivers a quick emergency cure to a young woman delirious from severe hypoglycemia; but he also has the sense not to stop there and continues to work with her and her family so she can move beyond dependence and self-neglect, which is what will keep her out of the ER in the future. "Fainting Schoolgirls", an account of mass hysteria among students in a Boston suburban school, put our author on the professional map while still a resident and is a great tale of mystery, hubris and public (mental) health. Other stories uncover how our minds can take control over our bodies with phenomena as seemingly ‘bizarre’ as false pregnancy, catatonia with mutism, and hysterical blindness. Still other stories have Dr. Small unlocking family puzzles that are creating psychic pain and familial dysfunction. The last story, of fifteen in all, has him today as the world renowned geriatrician he has become taking on the care of his mentor who turns to him to be his doctor. Dr. Small has gone from student to master of his craft but with the right amount of self-doubt and self-examination to help ensure that he will do right by his patients, no matter who they are.


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