There I Am
The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing—A Memoir
“Moving, heartfelt, and truly inspiring. A great book to read right now.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things
“Ruthie is a gifted storyteller with the unique ability to make you feel her emotions as if they're your own. Her book is somehow both bold and tender and utterly, truthfully, authentically her. She doesn't hide from heartbreak or fail to experience the fullness of all the beauty life can hold.” —Rachel Hollis, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing
Brain on Fire meets Carry On, Warrior, There I Am is an arresting inspirational memoir about 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 that 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 urges us to unlearn the stories of brokenness that we tell ourselves and embrace the wholeness, joy, and healing that lives inside all of us.