When Jackie M. Stebbins had reached the pinnacle of success as a young trial lawyer, she desperately tried to hide her anxiety and depression. But her shaking hands, endless insomnia, and white noise in her ears told her it was true: she had burned herself out. After she pleaded to be committed to a psychiatric ward, her world went black. She awoke a month later to learn that she had a rare and debilitating brain illness that stole her career and nearly ended her life.
The twists and turns of her journey to a diagnosis, recovery, and new life takes readers on an emotional and psychedelic rollercoaster ride. You will feel her terror and devastation and be moved by her will and hope. Unwillable makes you laugh, cry, and cheer for Jackie in this fast-paced story of a woman whose persistence burdened her, but also equipped her to survive.
"Stebbins engages readers through the unflinching honesty, attention to detail and palpable willpower that she displays both in facing her illness and in her storytelling." - Maria Burns Ortiz, co-author of NYT bestseller My Fight/Your Fight
"We are reminded in these pages that if you have your health, you have everything, and also if you have a loving family you can survive any challenge." - Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp
"In her book, Jackie shows us how she found the way through this darkness and how she found the way forward into a new life–a brilliant woman, wife, mother, and advocate who is showing other people who face autoimmune encephalitis how to 'keep standing.'" - Helen Egger MD, co-founder of the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance
"[Unwillable] is a gripping story, analogous to a legal/medical thriller.
I found it sometimes painful to read about the impacts of this dreadful disease on Jackie's body, mind and spirit, but it is also inspiring and hopeful." - Sarah Vogel, author of The Farmer's Lawyer and Former North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner
"Through her incredible writing, Jackie genuinely and selflessly shares the raw details of her journey with autoimmune encephalitis. . . . The AE world needs Jackie, and it needs Unwillable." - William Gavigan, father of an AE survivor and Chairman of the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance
"Jackie Stebbins’ UNWILLABLE is an inspiring story of a brilliant woman’s battle with autoimmune encephalitis and the circle of support--from loving family members to dedicated physicians--who helped guide her through a hard-won recovery. Her story is as moving as it is important and is destined to help so many others facing this condition." - Susannah Cahalan, author of NYT #1 bestseller Brain on Fire
"You will read the last page and feel an uplifting spirit about the remarkable Jackie Stebbins." - Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, NYT bestselling author