Making Your Own Reality: A Survival Story
by Dr. James P. Meade, Jr.
Citi of Books

"What my father... did know was how to work with a brain-injured person such as myself and help teach the person to improve his ability to do things...."

Forty-five years ago in Vietnam, the author was severely brain-injured in an accident. A helicopter blade cut through his head and "scrambled his brain" by destroying many of his neural pathways. Meade was completely disabled and obliged to relearn how to function mentally, physically, and socially. This book is an account of his remarkable rehabilitation. After multiple trials and errors—among which were relearning parts of his body, how to eat, talk, coordinate thoughts to actions, and actions to appropriate functions—he eventually earned a Ph.D. in psychology while coming to terms with aspects of his injuries and the disabilities that remain.

Meade's faith in God and his appreciation of the family members, friends, and some of the therapists who remained with him and developed ways to address his particular challenges are repeated themes in the book. Intriguingly, his father's use of "imagery"—envisioning a process of motion before attempting it physically—preceded the validation/recognition of imagery by the US medical and rehabilitation communities.

Although Meade's experiences of personal and spiritual help, education, and enlightenment are not uncommon to people after severe accidents and illnesses, his openness about his experiences makes this book stand out. His honesty about his ordeal is poignant and makes the book easy to read and believable. Although some of the episodes appear to be somewhat out of context, the incorporation of Meade's experiences, subsequent academic inquiry, and his admirable use of what he has gone through personally with his own clients help make this account a breath of fresh air in physical, mental, and social rehabilitation. It is a book that should appeal not only to veterans but everyone.

Return to USR Home