Camila Villafañe

By Camila Villafañe

LifeBuzz Staff

49-Year-Old Man Discovers His Love For Painting After Stroke-Like Illness.

A 49-year-old dad from Indiana thought his life was over, and it was easy to see why. An illness had shut off his brain. Suddenly, Rick Johnston found himself unable to do some of the simplest tasks like walking properly or speaking correctly. But did he suffer a stroke? Doctors said he didn't, but something caused his brain to convince his body he had suffered a stroke. After all, he had all the symptoms. Now he had to learn how to communicate again. But in the process, he discovered he had an innate talent for painting.

One day, Rick Johnston found that his whole life had changed radically, and not for the better.

“My brain essentially shut off,” Johnston shared with People. “Along the way, my speech was taken from me and my ability to walk was taken.” Doctors had no explanation for what happened. They only knew that the right side of his body had gone numb.

Johnston was understandably bitter and angry about his situation and became very depressed.

Most people in his condition would have given up and stayed in bed. But Johnston was a fighter in need of a little push. Unfortunately, his family alone wasn’t able to motivate him, so he found what he needed from an unlikely source.

He went to his speech pathologist, Shelly Hunt, who suggested he try exercising his brain by painting.

The Indiana father thought this was ridiculous. “My exact words were, ‘You’re crazy. I can’t paint. I’m not an artist by any stretch,” he said. Eventually, Johnston did pick up a paintbrush and was shocked by his newfound ability.

He tried painting to prove his speech pathologist wrong, but discovered she was right all along.

Painting became therapeutic and he found himself driven to continue doing it. In the process, he found that it helped him release anxiety and tension. He also discovered he had a knack for it. Johnston has painted horses, cows, flowers and farms and they’re all truly magnificent.

Now Johnston dedicates his time to painting every day, and in some cases, three days straight.

Since his illness struck, he has found it difficult getting a lot of sleep, so he focuses a lot of his energy on painting, which he considers a gift. He doesn’t know how he’s able to paint all of a sudden, but he’s no longer looking for an explanation for his ability. He’s just grateful he has it.

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