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Thousand Ways to Pay Attention

Thousand Ways to Pay Attention

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As propulsive as Brain on Fire and as poetically candid as The Collected Schizophrenias, one woman’s quest for the truth of her neurodivergent mind

It should have been Rebecca Schiller’s dream come true: moving her young family to the English countryside to raise goats and coax their own fruit and vegetables from the land. But, as she writes: The summer of striding out toward a life of open fields and sacks of corn, I brought a confused black hole of something pernicious but not yet acknowledged along for the ride.

Rebecca’s health begins to crumble, with bewildering symptoms: frequent falls, uncontrollable rages, and mysterious lapses in memory. As she fights to be seen by a succession of specialists, her fledgling homestead—and her family—hang by increasingly tenuous threads. And when her diagnosis finally comes, it is utterly unexpected: severe ADHD.

In her scramble for answers, Rebecca’s consciousness alternately sears with pinpoint focus and spirals with connections. Childhood memories resurface with new meaning, and her daily life entwines with the history of intrepid women who tended this land before her. Her family weathers their growing pains where generations of acorns have fallen to rise again as trees, where ancient wolves and lynx once stalked the shadows.

Written in unsparing, luminous prose, this is an all-absorbing memoir of one woman’s newfound neurodivergence—and a clarion call to overturn the narrative that says minds are either normal and good or different and broken.