Brain on Fire meets Carry On, Warrior in this inspirational memoir and testament to the things that break us, heal us, and make us who we are that explores one woman’s journey from chronic pain and hopelessness to finding joy, redemption, and healing.
At seventeen years old, Ruthie Lindsey is hit by an ambulance near her home in rural Louisiana. She’s given a five percent chance of survival and one percent chance of walking again. One month later after a spinal fusion surgery, Ruthie defies the odds, leaving the hospital on her own two feet.
Just a few years later, newly married and living in Nashville, Ruthie begins to experience debilitating pain. Her case confounds doctors and after numerous rounds of testing, imaging, and treatment, they prescribe narcotic painkillers—lots of them. Ruthie has become bedridden, dependent on painkillers, and hopeless, when an X-ray reveals that the wire used to fuse her spine is piercing her brain stem. Without another staggeringly expensive experimental surgery, she could well become paralyzed, but in many ways, she already is.
Ruthie goes into the hospital in chronic pain, dependent on prescription painkillers, and leaves the same way. She can still walk but has no idea where she’s going. As her life unravels, Ruthie returns home to Louisiana and sets out on a journey to learn joy again. She trades fentanyl for sunsets and morphine for wildflowers, weaning herself off of the drugs and beginning the process of healing—of coming home to her body.
Raw and redemptive, There I Am is not just about the magic of optimism, but the work of it. Ruthie’s extraordinary memoir like going on a walk with a best friend and listening to a life-changing speech at the same time: it’s equal parts familiar and profound, warm and insightful, comforting and challenging, relatable and unlike anything you’ve read before.
Ruthie Lindsey is a Nashville-based speaker, cohost of the Unspoken podcast, and prominent social media figure whose work has been featured in Darling Magazine, The Great Discontent, Better Homes & Gardens, and many others. Speaking alongside renowned activists and writers such as Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Sophia Bush, Ruthie challenges audiences to seek joy and find the healing that is inside of all of us.