Adair White-Johnson, Ph.D., known simply as Dr. Adair, has struggled with lupus for more than a quarter of a century. She has battled the effects of this debilitating disease physically, emotionally, professionally and financially and shares stories of tragedy and triumph in this book. It is a motivational, inspirational and empowering presentation of stories, ideas and messages that are designed to cultivate and encourage positive changes for those who have been diagnosed or are affected by Lupus. She teaches her audience that although they may be “damaged,” they are not “destroyed.” And even when they are “bent,” they are never “broken” because they own the power of change and to “bounce back” despite living with lupus. She tells her readers how to use “Birth Control, Emancipation, Listening and Learning, Inner Integrity, Emotional Evolution, Victory and Ending” as methods to live well with lupus. As the main tenets of her unique BELIEVE. system, these elements guides readers through a journey of hope, faith and unlimited possibilities.
Read what she has to say.
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book in an effort to give hope to anyone affected and impacted by this deadly disease. I also wanted to remind them that despite the diagnosis, they are blessed and can still live in their purpose, follow their dreams and be emotionally prosperous but they must first stand in their truth to trust and BELIEVE in their greatness. I really wanted to give volume to silenced voices, and by writing the book, it would allow me to reach the masses.
This is the explanation that I provide in the book:
“I want to show you how you can still believe even when you feel as though you have hit rock bottom. You can still believe when you think that you are all alone. You can still believe when you question the steps God has ordered for you, and you can still believe when you start to wonder if God ordered any steps for you in the first place. And you can still believe after being diagnosed with lupus.
You see, you are not special just because you have this diagnosis … there are so many other reasons why you are special, but because you are a ‘Lupie’ is just not one of them. I want to share and teach you that although you live with Lupus, you are still blessed, if you just believe, then you will be able to receive all of these blessings and know that having Lupus does not mean that you cannot “have” your life too. The stories, strategies, and suggestions that I will present in this book may make you laugh, cry, shake your head or perhaps become annoyed. My purpose and my goals are to show you that you can get over it. That is, you can get over embracing a negative outlook on life just because you have Lupus. It means to get over feeling sorry for yourself, limiting your possibilities and allowing your disabilities to disable your abilities. I am here to show you that you are still strong, still viable and still blessed – even if you have Lupus.”
What’s the story behind the title?
I selected this title because I wanted the readers to know that although there is no cure for lupus and many days can be really tough, they can actually live well with this chronic illness. The seven lessons give people hope that if they follow these lessons, they can live well
Here are the steps as noted in the book:
I created the BELIEVE system because after working with and speaking with many others I honestly think that this is a crucial missing piece of the puzzle of happiness in all of our lives. BELIEVE is an acronym, and I will explain in details in the chapters the significance of each letter but here is the overview of the seven ways to live well with lupus:
B: Birth Control
L: Listening and Leadership
I: Inner Integrity
E: Evolution of Emotions
V: Victory and Victorious
Each chapter will focus on how to incorporate these concepts into your daily life and the significance of maintaining them. I also included several inspirational messages that were written to empower you and to warm your hearts. The bottom line is that I wrote this book to encourage, motivate and encourage you to live well with your Lupus. So let’s begin this journey to believe in our abilities and dreams so we can “Live Well with Lupus.”
What do you hope readers will glean from reading your book?
My intention was to prompt the readers to experience a paradigm shift. I wanted them to begin to change the way they think so they would change the way they behave. This is at the core of a mental transformation process that is required to live well with Lupus. It is also life altering and requires an ideological metamorphosis in the way they have been approaching how they live with lupus. I wanted my book to allow the readers to look at the life they were leading with lupus and how they were dealing with everything that came along with it. I wanted them to know if they were able to believe then they would be equipped and empowered to persevere and be prepared. It was important to be that lupus survivors and their families become foot soldiers emerging from the trenches of hopelessness and despair to recognize that that are blessed and can live enriched and fulfilled lives despite having lupus.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About four months.
What was your regimen to complete this book?
Write every day. Share my thoughts every day with myself via audio recordings and sticky notes. As thoughts came to mind, I committed to capturing those thoughts via the written word or recordings.
How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
As one of the 2012 Ambassadors for the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter, known as a Face of Lupus, it was my responsibility to bring awareness about this deadly disease throughout my year tenure. I cannot say it was “gradual” or “natural” because it was what is was supposed to be. I loved writing and had written a few books before this one, so I felt compelled to use my gift of writing in this manner to raise additional awareness about this devastating disease.
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
Tough question but my knee-jerk response would be I am uniquely me. I bring to the table a plethora of experiences that are cloaked in tragedy and triumph, but I am also walking, living proof that if you BELIEVE then dreams can still come true. My experiences had dictated the path that I followed even when it was the road less traveled, and allowed me to live in my purpose…despite my lupus diagnosis 31 years ago.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
Stand in my truth. Live in my purpose. Trust and believe. Knowing my value and understanding my worth. Remembering that Lupus is not just what I have, but it is a part of who I am, embrace it and continue to learn different ways to live well with it.
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
Many people just don’t understand lupus and its effects on the patient and the family. Because they don’t understand the disease, they often do not provide the needed support. The best that I can do is to continue to educate and bring awareness to the disease. This book allows me to do so.
How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I create actions plans based upon a backward design. I begin with the end in mind, my ultimate goal, and then I create the steps that are needed to reach that goal, working backward. My success is measured by every move I make to reach the goal. As a firm believer that “every drop eventually fills a bucket,” I think all of my positive moves towards change are indicative of success.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself.
1. Books: The Thornbirds. It taught at a young age that sacrifice is often necessary for true happiness.
2. Performance: “Mama I Want to Sing” (off-Broadway play in the 1990s): Inspired me to fight for my dreams and I don’t have to follow the dreams that others had for me. Live in my own truth.
3. Exhibits: Paintings by Leroy Campbell: A gentle reminder that my “Black is Beautiful.”
Why do you consider continued learning important?
It’s a necessary requirement of the growth process so that we are not stagnated. You must first change the way you think before you can change the way you behave but you don’t how to think, then what? Life-long learning is a survival tool that pushes us to make changes in our lives. The more I learn about Lupus, the better I can live well with it.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
These are some of my favorite affirmations that I created that are in all of my books.
“I am. I can. I will. I do.”
“Dreams don’t come with a warranty or guarantee so you must work a dream to live a dream.”
“Don’t borrow worries.”
“Get Over It.”
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
I use a smartphone, laptop, etc. Just the essential business tools.
What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life and/or career?
Word. I’m a writer so I can’t live without it.
Please define your personal brand.
My brand is defined by motivating, empowering and inspiring others that despite and in spite of anything they may have gone through in life, they can “Get Over It.” This can be done by creating action plans for change and knowing how to really trust and believe.
What is your favorite vacation destination and why?
The Bahamas…My dad was my world and was a native Bahamian. Going home meant that I was able to spend more magical moments with him. My paternal family is Bahamian, and my sisters still live there, so it is a good feeling to visit with family. I’m at peace there.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I would change the negative things that push people to become “non-believers” and give up, give in, and lose hope.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. I think I would try to change that.
What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?
I think to be a Lupus survivor with a positive perspective and still push through the pain in order to persevere is worthy of “iconic” status. There are many silent Lupus warriors out there who may be bent, but are not broken and may be damaged, but are not destroyed and have learned to live well with Lupus. These are my icons.