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Lunch and Learn event fosters discussion on brain injury impact

On Feb. 1, Dayrne Rockett led a Lunch and Learn event at the Wilson Center at the University of Maine titled “The Impact of Gratitude and Art in the Healing Process from Traumatic Brain Injury.” During her presentation, Rockett emphasized the importance of mindfulness and sensitivity for those who have suffered any form of brain injury.

In January of 2014, Daryne Rockett experienced a brain injury while participating in roller derby. Unable to work and limited to bed rest, she faced a long journey  to healing. Rockett lost her connection with friends and family, faced inability to listen to music or have conversations, and struggled with everyday functions.

“For anyone who is still suffering, the help that is needed is on a spectrumit differs for each person and injury,” Rockett said.

While Rockett was confined to “brain rest” — periods of low sensory stimulation — she discovered that one of the few activities within her capability was drawing “doodles,” which were displayed on the wall of the Wilson Center for her event. These images started as small three-inch mandala drawings, but over time became more intricate reflections of healing hands.

Rockett traced the hands of the many people who helped her improve her health. Over time the drawings became larger and now fill up canvases that she displays at exhibitions. Rockett considers her paintings as a reflection of the generosity she received from friends, family and the community.

“There are not enough words for it,” Rockett said.

While some of those in attendance were there to support Rockett or loved ones that were impacted by similar injuries, several of them had suffered brain injuries themselves.

“The one point I would want anyone to take away from this talk would be to value everything, every moment,” Rockett said. “Gratitude is a practice that is powerful and worthwhile no matter where you are in your journey.”

Rockett explained how this journey helped her realize how much she still had, and she urged her audience to consider what they were grateful for. She said that the limit that was put on her daily life by her brain injury was eye opening for her; it allowed her to appreciate everything from a snowfall to petting a dog.

Rockett encouraged those who are trying to help a loved one deal with a serious injury to reach out and find resources.

“It’s ok to be lost, it can be very overwhelming and it can be a lot to ask of a person,” Rockett said.

People can contact the Brain Injury Association at their hotline, (800) 444-644, or by email at

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