The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
On December 8 1995 at 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby, inventive and charismatic editor in chief of the French magazine Elle suffered a massive stroke and his brain stem was rendered inactive, his life was changed forever. After lapsing into a coma, he awoke 20 days later to find himself the victim of locked-in syndrome - mentally alert but a prisoner inside his own body, his only means of communicating with the outside world the blinking of his left eye.
Forced to adjust to this unique perspective, Bauby created a new rich world for looking into himself to find the only two things that weren't paralyzed, his imagination and his memory. At The Maritime Hospital in Berck-Sur-Mer, in Nord Pas de Calais France he was taught an alphabet, a code in the order of the most frequently used letters in the French alphabet. Letter by letter, painstakingly words, sentences and paragraphs tell the story of a profound adventure into the human psyche and into the battle between life and death. This alphabet unlocked the prison of Jean-Dominique's body which he called his Diving Bell and travelled the borderless regions of freedom that he called The Butterfly.