Sense of Self after Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog by Mike Strand

June 7, 2012

Sense of Self after Brain Injury

What is this “sense of self” that everyone is talking about?

Your sense of self is that knowledge of what kind of person you are, how you feel and act, how you have developed over time, the roles you fill and the roles you play.

Your sense of self was turned off like a light bulb when you had your accident, when the light was turned back on the room had changed. It had become a shambles. It takes a long time to put it in order and it will never look the same. Who you are is a dynamic process. This sense, the personal experiences, are the sum of events over time. Permit yourself the time to become a whole new person.

How many times have you heard the phrase, “if I could do it all over again…” Well, now you can.

Create a new self after brain injury

Brain injury is an opportunity to design yourself all over again. When you do something or behave in a way that is unsatisfactory you can tell yourself, “that wasn’t me, I’m better than that.” Saying it makes it so.

One thing that makes for a positive sense of self  is a sense of accomplishment. Unlike many people, I get a real sense of accomplishment just from tying my shoes. Twelve years ago I had to learn how to do that. It was a lot of work, I still must work at it, but I’m getting better all the time. Now I only look back to see how far I’ve come!

Post-TBI everything is hard, so it makes little difference what I’m trying to do, whether it’s tying my shoes or learning another language. I hone my will on adversity. I started small and worked my way up. The nice thing about having no short-term memory is that it rarely occurs to me how long I’ve been working at something. I just put it into my routine and work at it every day until I succeed.

I believe you will find that success suits you.

Recommended Reading

Lash and Associates is working on a second edition of Meditations on Brain Injury by Mike Strand to be available summer of 2012. Sign up for the bookstore What’s New Newsletter for notice of its publication.

One response to “Sense of Self after Brain Injury”

  1. Marie G. Cooney says:


    Somtimes I explain it this way: My post-TBI self is a composite of pieces of who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming. Best wishes on the release of second edition of your book.

    Marie G. Cooney

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