Healing in the everydayness of life

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 15:14 01/09/2012
After a major accident that left her with brain injuries Anne McKenzie's life changed for ever.
After a major accident that left her with brain injuries Anne McKenzie's life changed for ever.

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Seven years ago a traumatic brain injury changed Anne McKenzies' life.

Today, she launches her book, The Brilliance and the Madness; Letting Traumatic Brain Injury Out Of The Closet.

In November 2005 McKenzie was cycling in the Port Hills when an unsecured mattress fell off a trailer in front of her.

Breaking heavily to avoid it she flew over the handle bars and landed on her head.

She said the resulting brain injury saw "Anne" replaced with a "doormat woman locked out of my life".

"I could not begin simple tasks or make simple decisions. I was walking in circles, muddled, stunted, nullified, feeling frustrated, stupid and reduced.

"[Traumatic brain injury] hits you where it hurts, in your identity, your career and social performance, your parenting skills your sense of self-worth and the map you thought you had painted of your life."

In the months after her accident McKenzie's broken body began to heal but recovery from the traumatic brain injury was slow.

Instead of dwelling on the slow progress, she began to find ways of healing among the "everydayness of life".

She stopped trying to be "super mother" to her three children, now 20, 18 and 15.

"If they stuffed biscuits into their pockets for breakfast on their way to school, what did it matter?" McKenzie said.

"They had the important things."

Slowly, her stamina began to improve, although it is not back to where it was before her accident.

She is just able to work part-time hours at her family's timber business.

She hopes her book will inspire and encourage those with traumatic brain injury, and those close to them.

"[It's] a down-to-earth book about healing and recovery in your own backyard amongst the everydayness of life," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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