I read a wonderful article the other day in the Weekend Australian Magazine (April 20-21) about a woman who has recently become a recognised author, and this BECAUSE of a disability rather than IN SPITE of it. Honey Brown (her real name, proposed by her dad after seeing a great ad for honey on a galvanised iron shed over 40 years ago!) was left a paraplegic after being crushed by a cow on their farm in Victoria, 5 years ago, when her children were still little. She describes her depression that followed, and the loss of her identity.
None of this, of course, is the wonderful bit. Not the disability nor the depression, not the coming to terms with life in a wheelchair nor even the discovery of being able to express herself in the written word. Neither is it the fact that her husband had to take on a completely different role for a few years, caring for her and the children (although that in itself IS pretty wonderful!).
No, the wonderful bit is Honey’s realisation from a very young age, that she was creative and that this trait, this gift, was still HER. Growing up, she was always thinking and wondering “what if”, about things that were not her current reality. She describes being distracted by her thoughts about the “what if’s” more than being engaged with present tense life experiences, regardless of how positive or emotional those experiences were. She was happy enough growing up, with an eccentric dad and a nurturing mum, and felt loved by family and friends, but her creativity came from her thoughts, her imagination, her pondering on the “what if’s”.
Her eloquent description of her entire thought process made me think about people with Adult ADD. Perhaps Honey herself has ADD (but grew up in a time when labels were not given!). Her thinking has been a way of life, and has provided her with creativity and resilience, determination and bravery – although she writes “If overcoming adversity is a brave act, then bravery is natural in all of us.”
So it is with people with ADD – often they realise they are different to others, and are criticised or ridiculed by others as “big dreamers”, and they are made to feel they have ‘something’ that they have to overcome. Honey writes, “I .. have an inability to recall anything that I can’t have an emotional connection to. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time thinking outside the box, or maybe the reason I do is because the wiring inside it is frustrating to use.”
So to all those who struggle, whose thoughts distract them from their present tense, to those who are constantly thinking outside the box, or dreaming big dreams and planning big plans, to those who can’t remember and who keep being distracted, don’t let the irritation of others get you down! Know this is who you are, and your creativity gives you a personality. Congratulations on being you! And thank you to Honey Brown for your brilliance in putting this down in words.
Who else is constantly thinking “What if?”. Let me know if you relate to what Honey Brown has described about her own inner musings.