New moon rises at the mindful art workshop

The following is a personal account from a participant who attended one of occupational therapist, Amee Le’s, mindfulness art workshops for persons with acquired brain injury. With the exception of Le, names of the participants have been changed.

You can find out more about Le’s workshops by visiting her blog,


I am sitting with a few people in the Northern Distrct Library on a Thursday afternoon. The room is half the size of a basketball court, and covered with a grey carpet. There is a central island formed by four rectangular tables, and close to the entrance, several juice bottles and two baskets of energy bars are waiting on the welcome table. The room looks quite empty with five big windows overlooking the busy Yonge and Eglinton intersection.

printed card hanging from a flowerWe all look ‘normal’, or at least most of us do not look like we have a disability. One person is in a wheelchair, and another has a twisted hand.

I am wearing a silky pencil skirt and a white blouse with three-quarter sleeves. Shirley has her red bike helmet on the ground by her chair, just like she did last month when I first attended this workshop.

Kitty, with small curly blonde hair gives each of us name tags. I can’t see them clearly without my glasses, but I remember some of the faces from last time. Karen is in an orange dress. Sandra, in the wheelchair, has a colourful outfit on. Kent has a perfect smile, and is not shy at all. Lydia is tall with dark brown hair and eyes that match. We all sit around the central island, and there is a portable flipchart standing by the end of table across me. I like to switch my eyes between the paper board and the big windows.

Kitty introduces our facilitator, Amee, an occupational therapist. She is in her 20s, a lean woman with straight dark hair, curling inwards at her shoulders.

“Good afternoon and welcome to the mindful art workshop,” Amee speaks slowly with a gentle smile. She walks to the paper stand and draws a face-size circle on it. Inside the circle, she writes three words, one at each line. “Judgment, mindfulness, acceptance.” Outside the circle at the bottom, she writes, “Surprise!

“Can somebody tell us what mindfulness is?” Amee asks, looking around with encouragement.

“To be in the moment,” Kent volunteers the answer, his right hand is twisted inward with scars.

mindfulness art example

“That’s right. Today we’ll make stamps with our imagination. Being mindful, we don’t make judgment. Instead we accept as is, and we’ll find surprise,” Amee says while pointing at the words on the paper.

“Let’s start with a mindfulness mediation,” she walks back to her seat beside me.

We all close our eyes. Click. Amy’s finger gently pushes the button on her iPod. A light music, swirls around the big room.

“Breathe in, and breathe out,” she says.

Her soft voice travels in the room, echoing back and forth.

“Imagining ourselves, breathe in the fresh air, and breathe out the black smoke.”

I take a deep breath, full of moisture from a beach I imagine in my mind. And, slowly, I breathe out a thick, foggy smoke.

“Breathe in, and breathe out. We raise our hands, palms facing the ceiling. We receive the gifts with the gratitude. Now, we lower our hands, sharing with others. We give out the blessings with the generosity.”

Her voice, like a sweet angel, continues to flow around us.

A gentle wind full of seaweed scent refreshes my brain and fills my belly. I blow out a trace of pain – a dull, aching pain. Again, the wind takes away the pain, and it vanishes in the shadows of the weeping willows in my mind.

mindfulness art

“Now, continue to breathe. I’m going to pass on the rubber stamp into your palm,” Amy said. “You’ll hold the stamp and focus on the image, which you would like to carve into the rubber.”

Amee’s tender voice mixes with the rhythm, flying around the table. I feel a light square rubber gently touching my left palm. I put my right hand on top of it, holding it like a treasure.

Breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly. I am flying with her voice into a wooden gazebo in the middle of a lake. It is a dark and foggy night, a gentle breeze kisses my cheeks. No one, no fishermen, no wild geese, nothing is out there, and I am alone. It is absolutely tranquil. Along the beach, the bamboo leaves are quietly dancing in the dim light.

I raise my head. The moon, like a peeled banana, hangs in the remote sky, covered by cloud of smoke.

“Breathe in, and breathe out.  When you’re ready, open your eyes and draw your images on your rubber stamp.”

Although right handed, I start to train my left hand, just in case. Stroke by stroke, I draw a banana in the center of the square. Amy helps me choose the smallest sculpture chisel.  Slide by slide, my left hand carves the banana.

It’s time to dip into the ink and show the artwork. Kent dips into the pink and stamps on his bookmark.

“Hah, it’s a lovely solid heart, full of passion,” Amy says. “Nice job, Kent.”

Sandra takes the green ink and puts her two hands on her rubber, pushing on her bookmark.  Kitty keeps her eyes on the turnout.

“Wow, it’s a beautiful ginkgo leaf, full of hope,” Kitty says. “Well done, Sandra!”

I take my time, pick up the blue ink, slowly and firmly press my stamp.  Tah-dah, a surprise! It’s a new moon, shining above the smoky cloud.

Joy overflows, and, from my fingertips, pours out a poem:

New Moon

Gives light

In the mist of night

Because of her

I am not afraid

To face the darkness inside

“I created a poem!” I declare.

The group asks me to read it.

“Amanda, I love it! Would you please stamp your new moon on my bookmark?  It’s so beautiful,” Kent asks me.

mindfulness art

“Of course!”

“Amanda, would you please stamp it on mine as well?” Shirley says.

“My card, please!”

“Mine, as well.”

The voices come to me from all different directions.

Next, we are all busy passing around the colorful inks, bookmarks, and newly designed stamps.

I am delighted. I also collect their artworks on my bookmarks. A golden horse from Lydia, a delighted heart from Karen, a dreamy rainbow from Amee, a smiling face from blonde Kitty, the healing Gingko leaf from Sandra, and the passionate heart from Kent.

Who says that we are disabled, us survivors of brain injury? Under each invisible disability, there is a beautiful brain, eager to express faith, hope, courage, and endurance with great creativity.


Amanda used to work in engineering and finance. She had a brain injury in a car accident and can no longer work. Through mindfulness, she discovered her creativity. When one door closes, another opens. You can download the flyer for Amee Le’s mindful art workshop HERE.

This simple, pain-free brain stimulation technique may one day lead to a personalized treatment for brain injury


We know that every brain injury is different – which is why aspects of brain injury, such as prognosis and treatment, can be so complicated – if every brain injury is unique, how we find effective ways to treat each individual?

Now, promising research suggests that a deeper understanding of interconnected brain networks may lead to personalized treatments for brain injury.

In a previous post, we discussed how a greater understanding of interconnected brain networks may one day be used as a diagnostic tool for brain injury. As discussed, these networks allow for communication across long distances in the brain. They enable us to direct our attention to important information in our internal and external environments, allowing us to plan and problem solve.


The brain’s natural response to injury includes the activation of cell repair mechanisms to reduce edema (the build-up of fluid in the brain) and inflammation. As the brain heals, it modifies  previously existing intrinsic connectivity networks (ICN), forming new connections.

Recent evidence from cognitive neuroscience suggests that noninvasive brain stimulation techniques help these networks recover following TBI. One of these techniques, transcranial direct-current brain stimulation (tDCS) involves the application of a weak electrical DC current to the scalp to control the excitability of ICNs. Research suggests this treatment helps the network regions prepare for, and respond optimally to, cognitive rehabilitation.

Relatively brief periods of tDCS (30 min) have been found to enhance learning in a variety of perceptual, cognitive and motor tasks. The research suggests that tDCS triggers learning by enhancing attention to critical stimuli and events within new tasks, helping patients learn new things faster and better.


tDCS is usually well tolerated by patients, and is minimally invasive to the point that it does not interupt rehab activities, as the above picture demonstrates. Currently, however, its potential in TBI treatment is limited by poor control over the location of the stimulation. New high definition t-DCS may be able to overcome this limitation, using specialized HD electrode arrays.

Modeling studies have shown that HD electrodes can generate a higher intensity on cortical targets as compared to conventional sponge electrodes. Once the precise target is established, computational models are used to maximize the intensity of the stimulation on a precise target.

The benefit of maximizing intensity on a target, such as a damaged ICN, could lead to benefits such as increased attention span in people living with brain injury.


The focus of current research is to identify the ICNs that are altered by TBI, and then to determine how these networks react to the HD-tDCS treatment.

Eventually, this could lead to a personalized treatment approach for TBI that examines network diagnostics along with biomarkers of the traits (such as a person’s health status, nutrition, genetics, etc.) and states of the patient (such as their sleep quality and energy level) in an effort to optimize clinical therapy.

Excerpted from Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 2015, 4:92–102 A themed issue on Cognitive enhancement, Edited by Barbara Sahakian and Arthur Kramer, 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Since acquiring her traumatic brain injury in 2011, Sophia has educated herself about TBI. She is interested in making research accessible to other survivors.


Community meeting: technology and ABI

It’s an understatement to say that assistive technology has grown exponentially over the years, and at our October community meeting guest speakers Tracy Milner and Heather Condello, both registered occupational therapists at Complex Injury Rehab Inc, gave us the scoop on how technology can help in the everyday lives of people living with brain injury.

smart phone

At the meeting, we discussed:

  • how to keep up with all the devices and apps that are available
  • which devices and apps are best suited to meet the needs of ABI survivors


Smartphones are like computers, and have more functionality than regular cellphones. They have the capacity for:

  • email, contacts, calendars
  • web browsing
  • document management, reminders, notes
  • pictures, videos
  • apps
  • social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.)
  • WiFi
  • data plans
person using smartphone

Data plans

Data plans cover Internet use on your device, allowing you to do things such as check email, use social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and download things when you’re not connected to WiFi. When using data, it is important to be mindful of overage charges (going over your monthly data plan will result in extra charges) and roaming charges (depending on your plan, you may pay extra for data if you are out of town). Accessing WiFi (from home, or a library, coffee shop) does not use any of your data – so it’s best to to download apps or check email when you’re on WiFi. Data plan options include: 3G/4G/LTE and WiFi only (no data plan.) Flex plans and pay-as-you use are also available.

Risks with smartphones

  • losing your device – to protect yourself, download a lost phone finder 
  • breaking your device
  • using your phone impulsively

Complex Rehab Inc. has a smartphone selection worksheet to help you decide on which smartphone to buy. They have also created a ‘Day in the life with a smartphone‘ document to demonstrate how using a smartphone can help you with many daily activities when you’re living with a brain injury.

veteran using iPad app to relax


In general, tablets are a larger version of the smartphone. They can be purchased without a data plan, or 3G/4G/LTE options. iPad and Android are the most common type of tablets, but others are available, including e-readers. In general, tablets:

  • have larger screens than smart phones, from five to 13 inches wide
  • have similar capability as smartphones for apps
  • are lighter than laptops, and are easier to carry around
  • are a more mainstream compensatory strategy

Having said that, tablets also come with some risks. They can be broken or lost (though there are apps to help you find a lost tablet), and some may need support to set up and maintain their tablet. Their screens may also be diffiicult for some to use.

Therapeutic considerations

When choosing a device, it’s important to keep in mind the following:

  • size and weight of the device
  • touch screen sensitivity
  • if typing on a touch screen is difficult, keyboards for tablets can be purchased and are faily low cost
  • other accessories which can help with accessibility include stylus options, gloves, switch access and tongue drive systems
  • accessibility features include visual and hearing aids, voice control and physical access options such as mounting
  • battery life – a good battery is important so you can use your device on the go
  • consider where you’ll use the device (wheelchair, bed, table) and make sure the tablet you choose can be used comfortably in these locations
  • swing arm mounts can also be helpful

Choosing apps

There are about a zillion apps to chose from – and several kinds which can help with living with the effects of brain injury (see below.)  Here are some things to consider when choosing an app:

  • look at reviews and screen shots of apps before you download
  • once you select an app for download, a password is required
  • on an iPhone, you can download multiple apps with one password input over a certain amount of time, but use caution as many apps cost money and you don’t want to be inadvertently charged
  • downloading apps is faster when done on WiFi
  • pay attention to third-party software – which adds features to already downloaded apps but can also cost money
  • Free apps can contain a lot of ads, these can be distracting and are easy to accidentally click on
  • Not all apps are available across all devices


a list of types of app to help people with ABI

Other kinds of technology

There are lots of other technological options than smartphones and tablets, here are some:

Smart homeshave environmental controls such as lighting, home devices, alarm, door, video,  and AV controls

SmartTVs – TVs with Internet connectivity

Gaming Consoles – Wii, Xbox, PS4

Roomba – the robot vacuum

Electronic door openers

Remote control blinds and shades

Smart watches (think of a watch with smartphone capabilities) and smart rings (which are not available in the mass market, but are available through pre-orders if you’re tempted)

Google Glass – wearable glasses with smartphone like abilities and natural language voice command

Sleep monitoring – devices that keep track of how much you’ve slept

Adapted from Tracy Milner’s and Heather Condello’s presentation at the BIST community meeting on October 26th, 2015


Thriving after TBI: injured Corporal gives back to fellow soldiers


It’s possible the expression, keep soldiering on was created for people just like Corporal David Macdonald. In recent years, Macdonald has climbed the Himalayas, run two half-marathons and he just completed his first full marathon. He continues to serve in the Canadian Forces as a reservist, while working as the national partnerships director at Wounded Warriors Canada.

It’s not a bad list of accomplishments, considering that just six years ago, Macdonald spent three weeks in a coma at the U.S. military hospital in Germany, with no fewer than 47 broken bones in his body.


“I was involved in a vehicle roll-over on a combat patrol near the end of my tour. I broke my pelvis, I dislocated my left leg, and that had to be surgically put back in,” Macdonald said. “And I had a traumatic brain injury.”

Beyond his injuries, Macdonald says that waking up in Germany, alone, having left his platoon behind, was worse than any injury he suffered.

“[You spend] two years, training, living together, we bonded,” Macdonald said. “To find out that they were still in Afghanistan and I was halfway around the world was just devastating to hear. I wanted to be back with my platoon mates.”

information: brain injuries which are the result of blast are different than other brain injuries

Today, Macdonald, like many injured members of the Canadian Forces, is living with effects of PTSD as well as his traumatic brain injury. He has no memory of the incident which changed his life forever. And while he is learning to accept the reality that some memories have disappeared (he says there are moments from his high school days which are gone forever), the fact that he can not remember this specific, significant moment in his life has been particularly hard to accept.

“My last memory in Afghanistan was orders the morning before the patrol,” Macdonald said.

We hear stories about the challenges members of the Canadian Forces who are living with PTSD and brain injury face. There are the facts: roughly six per cent of the Canadian military personnel deployed in Afghanistan have acquired brain injuries as a result of their service. In the U.S., this number skyrockets to 22 per cent of all military injuries. If you’re in the military, having a brain injury increases your chances of also having PTSD.

Most brain injuries acquired during military service are the result of blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Motor vehicle crashes, such as Macdonald’s, and gun shot wounds, are the other leading causes of brain injury. Brain injuries, which are the result of blasts, have different symptoms than other types of traumatic brain injuries. Typically, post-concussion symptoms for military personnel last longer than civilian concussion symptoms, and members of the military are more likely to have concurrent symptoms such as PTSD and / or addiction issues, along with their TBI.

Macdonald knows the facts. Many of the initiatives and partnerships Wounded Warriors Canada supports are about helping members of the Canadian Forces, and their families, deal with PTSD. In his current position, Macdonald handles third party partnerships, events and fundraising for partner charities.

“Last year, we gave out $1.36 million in funding to these programs and it’s just growing from there,” Macdonald said.

Programs Wounded Warriors supports include a nine day equine assisted learning program for soldiers and their spouses living with PTSD, a fly fishing program and the donation of funds to support service dogs for military members.

“Your odds of developing a form of PTSD almost double for veterans, ” Macdonald said. “There is a certain stigma, because [some] people don’t understand you can recover from it, you can go on and live a normal healthy life. It’s not incapacitation by any means.”

David Macdonald

Over time, Macdonald has come to accept his new reality. But immediately after he recovered from his injuries, he said he needed to prove to others, and to himself, that he could still be in the military. And while he was physically fit for duty, Macdonald said he continued to suffer physical and mental pain, “stereotypical” things, he says, people dealing with trauma experience. His marriage fell apart and he pulled away from his family and friends. He contemplated, and attempted, suicide.

“I was going through things like depression and I had a lot of anxiety issues, [but] I wasn’t recognizing them.”

Then a communication came through his unit. A documentary project, March to the Top, was looking for recovering soldiers to go on a climb through the Himalayas. Macdonald, who at the time was the only soldier in his unit who was wounded, was initially a bit sceptical of the project, which was described to him as a ‘good go’.

“Half the time a ‘good go’ means that … you get to do an amazing cause and you get to meet people,” Macdonald said. “Or it can mean that you’re shovelling dirt in Northern Alberta for six months.”

It turns out, March to the Top was a legit ‘good go’ and the experience changed, and possibly even saved, Macdonald’s life. Accomplishing the feat of trekking in the Himalayas made Macdonald realize that he needed help. He learned that what he was feeling was normal, and diagnosable. It was PTSD.


“It allowed me to open up and come forward in the military and say, ‘hey I have issues, I need help.’ And that’s what started the process for me getting the help I needed,” Macdonald said.

Macdonald’s attitude is one that accepts the realities of his injuries while allowing himself to thrive. He talks about post-traumatic growth, and feeling stronger as a result of experiencing  injuries and trauma. It’s important to him that he is able to help his fellow veterans through his job, a duty he takes seriously. Until he accepted a paid position with Wounded Warriors this past February, Macdonald juggled volunteering as the provincial coordinator for Ontario while working full-time at a bank, and doing his reserve duties. The man keeps busy.

March to the Top team

“I  don’t necessarily see my PTSD as a weakness anymore,” Macdonald said. “I used to see it more as part of my life, now I can be stronger because of it.”

Macdonald says he doesn’t know the “future” of his brain injury.  He says it can rear its ugly head at any time, and some days are harder than others.

“Something they ingrain you with in the military is never give up,” Macdonald said. “This is not a limitation, this is something that is now a part of you, but you can still excel, and you can still do amazing things.”

Meri Perra is the communications and support coordinator at BIST.





Brain injury in the family: then and now


In 1978, when I was six years of age, I was admitted to the hospital with a viral brain infection, known as encephalitis. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain, caused either by an infection invading the brain (infectious) or through the immune system attacking the brain in error (post-infectious or autoimmune encephalitis).

Mark Koning and his mother
Mark Koning and his mother

It was a seizure that alerted my parents to the fact that we needed to take a trip to the hospital, and then another seizure which told the doctors I needed to be admitted. After this, I draw a few blanks. There were many tests, I was in a coma for two weeks, and I received rehabilitation during the course of my stay at this medical facility that acted as my home for the following months. While there was some therapy that I continued to endure for another little bit after I went home, that was it, I was done.

Fast forward 23 years later to 2001 when my mom had an accident and fell, and I see a world of change. After my mom was placed onto a gurney in the hospital, it took only a matter of hours to diagnose the subdermal hematoma/blood clot that my mom had suffered. They first had looked into whether or not it was a stroke which had caused the fall, followed by tests for an aneurism. Turns out it was just a plain old, bad, fall.

My mom went into surgery that night and found herself sleeping in a coma for the next month. When she awoke, it took her quite a while to find the mobility to physically move her limbs, and it took even longer for her to find her voice. A physical therapist helped with her movement, a speech therapist helped with her aphasia and a cognitive therapist helped with everything else. The nurses were great and the doctors took good care to explain things that my sister and I needed to know. My mom was prescribed the appropriate medications to ease any discomforts. Therapy followed us home and soon the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) got my mom, among other services, a personal support worker.

Currently my mom attends an aphasia program once a week, an ABI program once a week and has a March of Dimes rehabilitation worker come out once a week. She also involves herself in many social activities March of Dimes offers. And her doctors, even though different from years ago in the hospital, treat her very well.

Mark Koning

There is quite a bit of difference between our injuries. I was pretty young when I acquired my brain injury,  while my mom was just approaching her 60th birthday when she fell. (Though she would say 49  and holding.) And as much as I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the care I received, I can’t believe the tremendous difference compared to what my mother has access to compared to what I had, back in 1978.

Times have changed and regardless of my occasional questioning about my past, I have no complaints about change when it is for the better.

The one main difference between my mom’s accident and mine is traumatic brain injury (TBI)  versus acquired brain injury (ABI). My mom fell and suffered a TBI where as I was struck with a viral infection from within; no trauma, no physically-seen damage, no bleeding from the head. Does make a difference? I wonder.

To find out more about my life growing up you can do so by reading my book Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path, found here:

Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing – for others as well as himself. His experience as a survivor, caregiver, mentor and writer has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to


TTC subway line numbers: what do you think?

At our October community meeting, BIST member Shireen Jeejeebhoy spoke to us about her concerns with the change of TTC subway line names to numbers.

picture of TTC subway signs

To summarize, Shireen thinks the subway line renaming, and TTC signage create cognitive and navigational challenges for people living with brain injury, and possibly people living with other kinds of disabilities as well.

Shireen also spoke about her experience at the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit this September, which she attended with BIST board member Kerry Foschia.

You can read more about  Shireen’s thoughts on the subway line name changes, and her recap of the TTC meeting on her blog,

Many members shared Shireen’s concerns about this issue, and expressed interest in contacting the TTC about their thoughts on TTC subway number lines and other accessibility issues.

Shireen has provided the following contact information for anyone to wants to share their concerns about the TTC:

TTC officials

Ian Dickson, Manager, Design and Wayfinding or

Brad Ross, Head of Communications or


TTC contact info for complaints, suggestions or compliments

For help with questions and concerns 7am-10pm 7 days/week: 416-393-3030;

The TTC’s online form for complaints, suggestions or compliments

For service updates – When a service update gets tweeted, Shireen re-tweets it with the original line name and adds #accessibility in the post

For more information, you can contact Shireen via her Twitter or through her blog.

The marvel of sight that remains


Since I woke up mostly blind in the hospital, my idea of vision has been changing.

close up of an eye

Once all the swelling went down, slowly over the course of a few weeks, I was left with a left field deficit, double vision and neurological sight issues.

The doctors told me, “Your eyes are fine. Something is wrong with the optic pathways in the brain.”

What I’ve been learning since, is there is a lot more to seeing than just left, center or right field. It’s hard to describe ‘not seeing’ to those with ‘full sight’, and I’ve struggled to find the words to express what I could see and not see to family, friends and therapists.

The doctors told me that my vision would never improve, yet I am learning about sight in ways I have never thought about before. Almost a year after my tumour was removed, the brain continues to surprise me.


My right optic nerve was severed, and I lost over 50 per cent of vision in each eye. But nothing could prepare me for the mess my vision became. I had double vision, nausea, flashes and hallucinations.

The faces of people have been eclipsed by an unknown blankness which consumes everything. It’s a blankness that is so subtle, I could never see it. Like a parasite, it constantly steals from my sight – it takes part of every room, and half of any clock. It removes door handles, steals the fork I just set down, and takes away the first part of words, numbers and oncoming cars.

When I look in the mirror, I see a strange brown-eyed amalgamation of features whose sum I once recognized as me, but no longer. The integers have changed slightly but the sum is way off.

I can no longer see the love written on my wife’s face.

The triumphant, mischievous, unbounded, joyful face of my three-year-old as she sneaks out of bed is eclipsed and jumbled beyond meaning. Like the vestiges of an intense fire, structures are displaced, sunken, and twisted to the very edge of recognition.


Through all of this my perception of sight is changing. I see like music is heard, all at the same time. Shadows are hard to separate from their substantial counterparts, the minutia of details are a sea of information that is unable to unify into one fixed image.

Yet light is coming back into my visual world and it is so bright I am unaccustomed to it. The starkness of bright light and shadow is a sea of information that is overwhelming, but enjoyable at the same time.

There is a plum-tree in flower on the way to the hospital, and it takes my breath away each time I ‘see’ it. It literally feels good to look at, a riot of white and pink blossoms burning in the sky.

what it looks like to have double vision

It’s like stumbling upon a bonfire while walking in the woods. The darkness is banished so completely it is hard to look at the flames and embers raising skyward.

It’s a phenomenon and a joy. I stand and smell the flowers, and they smell good. Visually, they are chaos in pink and white, blurred and doubled and shadowed and screaming, like a throng of rabid young children.

I am left nauseaus and dizzy, but I like it. I had much less of an understanding of the immense joy of sight, and though I’ve lost a bit, I am discovering a new understanding of the myriad of ways to enjoy it. Some plants are an absolute visual starburst of three-dimensional joy. A cacophony of visual stimulus.

blurry image of kid jumping on bed

That is what is changing, I think. When I’m tired and the borders of what I see all run into each other, like a bad impressionist painting, depth is helping me separate the world. I am perceiving depth more, just like when you loose a tooth and your tongue becomes preoccupied with exploring the new hole in your gums.

I see the space between objects, that strange new empty space that suddenly makes sense and conveys so much meaning. I missed depth terribly and never knew it was gone. We live in a highly visual world, more than I ever knew. Perhaps I am becoming more aware of the hole in my vision and cognitive of how some magic of existence has leaked out through it, and is gone.

Coire Langham suffered a brain surgery and TBI over a year ago and lives in Toronto with his family – who are indispensable as he navigates a changed world. He enjoys the prospects of new community inside BIST, and drinking tea.