There is Someone in There

There is Someone in There
Carolusson, Susanna. (2010 / 2011)

Susanna Carolusson begins her book with the words, “This is a book about a perfectly healthy 23 year old who acquires a lifelong disability.” In reality, however, her book is not only about her son, Tobias, the person who has suffered a nearly fatal accident, but also about Susanna and the rest of her family. In an instant, not only Tobias’ life, but the lives of his entire family are ripped to shreds. This is a book about struggle, joy, sorrow and desperation. It is written by a woman who suddenly finds herself simultaneously in the role of both mother and professional, and both are put to the test. I have worked with brain damaged individuals, both young and old, for almost 20 years. One of the most important things I have learned is that the kind of injury that happened to Tobias affects the entire family and the entire network of which s/he is a part. Neither the changes in the injured person’s immediate world nor the situation in which s/he finds him or herself can be described in strictly medical terms. But Susanna shares these with us in a personal, intimate way. It takes courage to do this. Susanna has an unusual, and at times, almost brutal passion for justice. No feelings or situations come up without her reviewing them critically. It is exactly this confrontational expression of her integrity that makes her story so gripping. She gives us a story about a terrible tragedy and makes it possible for us to begin to understand something so painful that it is almost impossible to comprehend. At the same time, her story helps give us the courage to try to act effectively in similarly difficult situations.

Peter Währborg, Senior Physician & Professor, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, lic psychologist, lic psychotherapist,


This is a book about a perfectly healthy 23 year old who acquires a lifelong disability. It is about the greatest fear parents have concerning their children that their child will be the victim of an accident and will be deprived of their ability to think, move, speak or do anything we associate with the ability to live a full life.

I am the author, as well as the mother of this book’s main character. Sometimes I appear to be the main character myself, since this account is told from my perspective and influenced by my own personal feelings. In spite of this and with the distance that comes from time, I have come to realize that my feelings should be left uncensored, partly because they accurately represent the reactions of family members, and partly because, looking back, I can see that these feelings gave me the strength to act in the interest of my son. I also feel my reactions were in touch with reality. This goes against most crisis theories that teach that denial and being out of touch with reality are the normal reactions to be expected in a crisis.

I have described separate happenings and reflections which took place during a long and significantly more complicated process than I am able to do justice to on paper. Instead of simply reading a detailed story, the reader is invited to consider his or her own reactions to a series of events which make up an endless chain of events.
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