Forever young gift or curse?

J.M Barrie. Famous for creating the character

Peter Pan the boy who never grew up.


Perhaps less well know is the fact that the part

about never growing up was a very really part

of his life.


Barrie suffered from what is known as onset

Dwarfism. He had a difficult upbringing but

the point Barrie retells is a time when he over-

heard is mother say that she only loved him as

a small child.


It was thought that this was enough to keep

him for ever growing again.


It sounds life a fairy tale in itself but this is

far from an isolated case.


This story was seen over and over again in

the orphanages of Romania where children

were too many to care for.


And the orphanages of England where growth

correlated with the strictness of the staff.


The textbooks document one particular case in



A young boy removed from an abusive family

home after being diagnosed with onset



[a condition where the body stops producing

Human growth hormone or absorbing calcium]


…was placed in the care of a particular nurse.

Under this nurses care he began to grow, he

stopped for a 2 week period when she went

on holiday. On her return he eventually grew

to be an average size man.


Extreme stories perhaps don’t create a clear

picture for comparison but they do help us

see what humans need.


We picture ourselves as machines, sleep here,

work here, exercise here, eat these things –

get this result.


Then when we struggle or fail to do the things

we said we would do we see ourselves as

malfunctioning in some way.


The stories above point to a clear fact.


We are wired for connection.


We drink

We smoke

We eat stuff we don’t want to

We go for drinks after work

We say, “go on then”- when we want to say “no”

We agree when inside we disagree.


We are tribal animals,

It’s not “NICE” to connect.

It’s life and death.


We will always place human connection above

health and awareness of this fact is vital if we

are to understand and in turn change our

actions should we wish to.,


So don’t be hard so hard on yourself but start

getting comfortable telling the story of what

is important to you.


You’ll be amazing how many people want the

same things. Make them your tribe.


Ed Ley