“Doctor P. was an outstanding musician who enjoyed some years of fame as a singer and later as a teacher at the local music school. Here, for the first time, strange problems arose in relation to the pupils. Sometimes when a student introduced himself, Dr. P. didn’t, more precisely, he didn’t recognize his face. As soon as the student spoke, he recognized him by his voice”.
With these words begins the story that gives the title to the book, which is perhaps above all the symbol of narrative medicine. The 1985 book The Man Who Mistaken His Wife For A Hat dedicated Oliver Sacks to the rank of writer and brought us readers the story of often unique clinical cases into the literature; a widespread practice but until then limited to the medical-scientific community, which made it possible to identify, describe and share new diseases.
Sacks’ story brought us closer to mental illness and helped break down the stigma that for all too long has led us to distrust those who suffer from it, if not for fear of them, or on the contrary, for the disorder shrug it off: It’s so “crazy”.
With that in mind, we have gathered in these pages some of the most interesting clinical cases – always accompanied by the great illustrations by Stefano Fabbri – that we have been talking about on Mind over the last few years. Remove suspicion and remind us that “up close nobody is normal” with the motto of Franco Basaglia’s revolution in psychiatry.