July 19, 2018 03:00 PM

Six years later, Kristin Chenoweth is opening up about the terrifying accident on the set of The Good Wife in 2012 that left her with severe chronic pain.

“A piece of lighting equipment, about the size of this roof, fell on my face outside, in a big, big, big gust of wind,” Chenoweth, who played political reporter Peggy Byrne, exclusively tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “We were shooting outside on the river. I think it was day three for me. And Josh Charles, my angel, was there. The set landed on me and kind of messed up my face, my nose and my teeth, and then threw me into a curb, so there was a skull fracture and some rib pain.”

“The biggest Achilles heel has been my neck,” she adds.

CBS

“You know how things happen in your life to make you pause? That was a big one for me,” she explains.

With a milestone birthday around the corner — Chenoweth will turn 50 on July 24 — and a work schedule that keeps her busy, the Emmy-winning actress says the accident shifted her outlook on life.

“What I’ve taken from it is life’s short,” she says. “Another thing I’ve learned was enjoy life. It’s so short. Also, when you get injured, you have to take the time to heal. I went back a little soon.”

“We all have stuff that bother us,” she continues. “I’m still learning how to deal with chronic pain. Yeah, I’ve still got it. But, you know what? I still work. I still am able to, so I’m lucky. I’m lucky I’m alive.”

Now, starring in the new season of NBC’s Trial & Error: Lady, Killer, Chenoweth says she’s slowly learning to maintain a healthy balance of work, health and her social life.

Sergei Bachlakov/NBC
  • For more on Kristin Chenoweth, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

“I just work constantly, and I don’t take time to heal, rejuvenate and recharge,” she admits. “But to be a better artist, I have to live life. But slowing down is hard for me because I feel like I have so much still I want to do.”

NBC’s Trial & Error: Lady, Killer premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

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