Susannah doesn't remember walking home after her interview. She doesn't sleep again that night, which marks a week since she truly slept. Regardless, she heads to work the next day, which is a crisp and cold March day. When Susannah reaches Times Square, the billboards are suddenly too much: the colors vibrate. Initially it's thrilling, but Susannah soon wants to vomit on the street. When she stumbles into the newsroom she finds that the lights still feel too bright, but don't seem as aggressive.
Even if Susannah is clearly unwell, there are still parts of her that seem very much like the person she initially described: she's still intent on going to work, even if getting there is a terrifying task. This shows the illness battling with Susannah's “true” self, and that this previous self is still very much present in her consciousness.
Conspiratorially, Susannah whispers to Angela that she's seeing bright colors that hurt her eyes. Angela looks worried as Susannah elaborates on what she saw on her walk through Times Square. When Angela suggests that Susannah is just hung over, Susannah insists that she didn't drink, and says she fears she's losing her mind. Angela suggests that Susannah go back to the doctor. Susannah is frustrated that she's acting like a crazy person and slams her hands down on her keyboard. She shouts that she can't do this, which attracts Angela's attention again. Susannah begins crying, feeling humiliated.
Note that Susannah is scared of what she's seeing now—her fear indicates that she recognizes that this is undesirable, wrong, and not normal (all assessments that she won't be able to make for much longer). Similarly, her insistence that she's not drinking or not drinking too much is something the reader is meant to take as fact, as her alcohol intake will soon become a point of contention.
Angela asks Susannah if she wants to go for a walk, but Susannah just continues crying. She sobs that she doesn't know what's wrong with her, and tries to fixate on anything that might be the cause of this strange outburst. She thinks that she's bad at her job, Stephen doesn't love her, she's crazy and stupid. Her colleagues begin filing in after the funeral and look at her curiously. When another reporter asks Susannah if she's okay, Susannah shouts at her to stop.
None of what Susannah thinks is true, given what she's already said about herself and her relationships with Stephen and with work. Instead, these uncharacteristic thoughts show how her illness is driving a wedge between her usual self and this new, paranoid Susannah.
Suddenly, Susannah's misery turns into intense happiness. She begins laughing through her tears and runs to the bathroom to splash water on her face. As she looks around, she realizes that the bathroom looks strange and unnatural. Susannah calls Mackenzie and asks her to meet outside to discuss what just happened. Mackenzie suggests that Susannah write down all her symptoms and then see a doctor. Susannah thinks this idea is genius and runs back to her desk. However, rather than write down her symptoms, she writes a few random words, doodles, and writes, "people are desperate, they'll do anything."
The chilling phrase that Susannah writes shows that her paranoia is growing; she's no longer just paranoid about Stephen's ex-girlfriend. As Susannah loses her ability to articulate her own symptoms, she also loses her agency and control over her own story. Instead, her paranoia and the nonsensical words she writes are reflections of the turmoil currently happening in her brain.
Very suddenly again, Susannah begins to clear everything off her desk. She feels happy and in control of her life, though she realizes her happiness is tenuous and won't last. Susannah announces to Angela that everything will be great, and she asks Paul to go smoke with her outside. In the elevator, Susannah tells Paul that she feels like herself again, and she wants to start working on more hard-hitting investigations. Paul asks Susannah if she's okay, since she's talking so fast, and he asks if she's called Mom recently. Susannah explains to the reader that Paul said later that he thought Susannah was on the edge of a mental breakdown, as he'd seen a similar thing happen with another young reporter.
When Paul questions Susannah about speaking to her mom, it reinforces even more that Susannah's support system is well-connected and interested in making sure that she's okay. Further, even if Dr. Bailey's tests came back normal, these mood swings are more evidence that something is very wrong with Susannah. In this way, Cahalan brings the reader fully onto her side and within the world of her memoir, discrediting Dr. Bailey and his diagnoses.
After ten minutes, Paul heads inside and calls Angela. He insists they need to call Susannah's mom because something is very wrong. Susannah stays outside and feels the same kind of feeling she felt at the top of the mountain in Vermont. She feels as though she's floating high above the crowd and sees Liz come out of the building. Susannah then "reenters" her body and calls Liz over. She asks Liz if out-of-body experiences are normal, and Liz apologizes for taking Susannah to another realm during the tarot reading.
This out-of-body experience is another type of hallucination, though again Susannah doesn't recognize it as such at the time. This continues to show that the line between fiction and reality has become muddied in Susannah's brain, as she's unable to recognize that the things she's seeing aren't actually real.
Angela gets permission from Paul to take Susannah for a drink, with the hope of piecing together why Susannah is acting so out-of-character. When they enter the hotel lobby, Susannah feels claustrophobic and like she can't breathe. She begs to take the escalator, but the escalators only make the sensation worse. Susannah starts sobbing and has to get off the elevator three times before she finally makes it to the bar on the eighth floor. The rugs in the bar swirl and move, and Susannah tries to ignore them. Angela orders Susannah some wine, since Susannah is still too distraught to order for herself, and asks her what's going on. Susannah mentions that she's bad at her job and Stephen doesn't love her, but admits that there's more wrong—though she doesn't know what it is.
The fact that Susannah has gotten measurably worse over the last two or three days suggests that there's definitely a time element at play with this disease—without intervention, she'll keep going downhill quickly and will eventually hit the bottom. When Susannah can admit that there's more wrong with her than she can truly explain, it again shows that she's battling her disease and what it's doing to her identity. She knows that what's going on isn't right, but not being able to fully explain it is also a side effect of the disease.
When Susannah gets home that night, later than usual, Stephen is already there cooking dinner. Rather than take Angela's advice and tell Stephen the truth, Susannah lies about where she's been. When she tells Stephen that she hasn't been sleeping, he opens a bottle of wine. As Stephen cooks, Susannah paces. She announces that her insomnia might make it difficult for Stephen to sleep, but he insists that she'll sleep better with him there.
Susannah begins to push Stephen away (by lying and implying she doesn't need him to stay the night), which shows her actively separating herself from him and trying to escape his care. In doing so, she makes it more emotionally fraught for Stephen to stay, given that she "doesn't want" him there.
Stephen hands Susannah a plate of pasta, but she can barely look at it without gagging. Stephen is hurt that Susannah doesn't like it, but she insists she's just not hungry. Susannah finally lies down with Stephen. She leaves her untouched glass of wine on the windowsill, but chain-smokes. When Stephen comments on her smoking, Susannah agrees that she should stop. Stephen turns on PBS and falls asleep, and Susannah watches a reality show that follows Gwyneth Paltrow, a chef, and a food critic through Spain. Susannah's stomach turns watching them eat. She laughs and then everything goes hazy and dark.
Stephen's attempts to care for Susannah make it clear that despite the fact that their relationship is new, Stephen cares deeply for her. The book's focus on food suggests that before now, it was definitely something that Susannah liked and had strong feelings about. This in turn makes her inability to eat anything at all especially concerning.