Rebecca Crane’s review of Patient H69

Rebecca Crane, PhD, MA, PFHEA, DipCot directs the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University and has played a leading role in its development since it was founded in 2001.

Here she reviews my book Patient H69.

Vanessa Potter’s book Patient H69 is powerful and compelling. I was transported into the detail of her journey through the experience of a dramatic neurological breakdown which took her sight, and significant levels of motor and sensory functioning. The particularly potent aspect of the account is the nuanced recounting of her inner journey.

Prior to this medical emergency Vanessa had trained as a meditator and so had the capacity to both track her inner experience and to work responsively with the intensity of emerging sensations and fear responses. This view into the interiority of the process is intimate and revealing. The account offers a detailed sense of the myriad of micro-moments of this specific experience. In doing this it also offers a broader sense of how each of us has the capacities to draw on our inner resources for healing and transformation moment by moment.

The second part of the book lifts the exploration up to a broader perspective by linking it to an understanding of the scientific and psychoneurological understandings which underpin the process that Vanessa underwent. I had the sense of Vanessa continuing her journey by putting the experience into a wider context of understanding, and once again in doing this offering a model for how we can all work skilfully with both our present moment experience and the vulnerabilities we carry with us.

A wonderful read – it will stay with you long after you put it down.

Rebecca Crane PhD, Director, Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University. 

Patient H69: The Story of my Second Sight by Vanessa Potter, published by Bloomsbury. 

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Patienth69

This is the real story of Patient h69. A gripping but compelling real-time account of one patient’s experience of suddenly going blind. There are personal accounts of going blind, but few if any, have reported the other side of the story – the rebirth of sight, and as a result, the impact of that on modern neuroscience.

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