Neorodiversity and Growing in Prison
Like many of us in prison, things in my life have not always been happy and merry. When I look back, I realise I lived most of my life trying to fake normality, often very successfully. I longed to be ‘standard’ and to fit in. I was told as a young girl that I was rude, that I needed to listen, to pay more attention, not to interrupt
A hectic and rebellious early life and many reprimands for not being normal led me to see myself as lazy, absentminded, difficult and naughty. I was bright and capable in my own way but I didn’t know it. I fought myself and tried hard to be what I thought was normal. My parents were at a loss with what to do with me and tried make me good with strict discipline,
I am now 60 and in prison. Since being in prison, I have had 2 important self-awakenings. I was diagnosed with ADHD recently which has been the most liberating moment of my life. I also have learned a new passion in growing and nurturing living plants in the glasshouses of the prison. ADHD continues to hinder my communication and make me doubt myself but learning new skills helps. In prison I have been working toward new qualifications and a new life. The Glasshouse project nurtures house plants in UK prison glasshouses and has been a true blessing, allowing me to find my own green fingers and care for myself whilst caring for living green things. Being around plants, I have found comfort and tranquility that would have been unimaginable a year ago. I think every person with ADHD would benefit from learning the intricacies of growing and gardening. It truly slows down the feelings of urgency and the outcomes are so beautiful, full of love and life.
I embrace my neurodiversity. I look back at the decisions I made in my personal and professional life that led to super-high highs and fiasco lows and I wonder if I’d known about my ADHD, or learned skills like growing, if I could have negotiated things differently, allowed my talent to overcome my deficiencies.
I am in prison and it is what it is. Every day is a struggle. Every day is also a blessing. I try to make the most of my time here. Now I recognise what I am and I accept my ‘abnormal’ way of thinking. I’m making my disability my super-natural power.
Provided by The Glasshouse project, a horticultural rehabilitation project growing, nurturing and selling house plants from disused prison glasshouses in the UK. For more information or to order direct delivery of our very special house plants, visit http://www.theglasshouse.co.uk