Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning to See

I see the world differently now. I see it with “TBI Vision.” I’m not talking about my double vision, or the difficulty my brain has in processing the information my eyes are taking in. Those are very real and serious limitations. What I am talking about is the way I see things now.

All too often, ordinary people get caught up in what they see. They place too much emphasis on what is plainly right before their eyes. If something doesn’t square with the facts then it must not be so. “A is A” as Aristotle said. “Ding an Sich” (a thing in itself) as Kant said. Time and again it is repeated that we gain knowledge of our world through direct observation. None of these beliefs allow for brain injury, where that information is confused, obfuscated, or just plain missed.

This would seem to imply that a brain-injured person is less able to operate effectively in the world. In many cases this is just not so. Blind people can operate effectively, as we know. In fact, many blind people who get their sight are unhappy with what they see; the “real world” is not a world they are comfortable in.

This is an insight into what I mean when I say that I am glad for my TBI and would not wish it away even if I could. I see so much more with my heart and I would not want to give that up. I use to see the world in very cold and hostile terms. Now I see it in warmer friendlier terms. Has the world changed? No, I have. Instead of only seeing what is, I also see what can be.

It was a long and arduous process to come to this knowing. Now that I have it I would not give it up. This is what I mean when I say that I am glad to have sustained a severe TBI. All the pressure is off. No one expects me to be the best, or the smartest, or the richest. All I have to do is be the best me I can be. I can be a good friend, a good volunteer, and a valued person.

I live my life with passion. I care. I laugh. I love. All of these are things that I gain by sharing them; they make me a wealthy soul. Because I want these things in my life (and who does not), I give them away. They rebound back to me. I like myself when I am this way, when I like myself I find others like me also. I ask no one for compassion, joy, or love. I simply give it unconditionally and I find my own cup overflowing.

This is how I choose to see the world; this is my “TBI vision.”  


  1. Dear Mike,
    My name is Sheen Chiou. In 2006, you gave me one of your books "Meditations on Brain Injury" which is a true inspiration!! I love this book so much! I teach at Minnesota State University at Mankato. I was wondering if you would like to come to my class and share your life experience with our students in March. Please contact me at:

  2. I replied to your e-mail address. Let me know if You don't see it.