376: Crash Landings and Recovery with Leya Russell

376: Crash Landings and Recovery with Leya Russell

“I feel really lucky, and I think I’m just trying to find meaning, helping other people and being good in the world around you and just taking it one day at a time.” Listen as your host, Eric Tivers, and his guest Leya Russell discuss the plane crash she survived, her injuries and recovery, her art and photography, plus much more on this episode of ADHD reWired.

Leya is a proud mother, artist, photographer, and general magpie finder of shiny things and rays of light. Having all the fun letters behind her name, she was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia at the age of 30. Since her initial diagnosis, Leya has established a successful photography business, built a fine art studio, survived a plane crash, and earned even more letters after her name, including PTSD, anxiety, panic disorders, and many more. But nothing has dulled her effervescent curiosity, love for learning, and passion for life.   

Listen as Leya shares surviving a plane crash in Bangladesh, being taken to a hospital where no one spoke English, and not being able to communicate with them about her injuries. She discusses coming home in a body cast and going through EMDR and other trauma-based therapies to cope with what happened and about where she is on her journey to recovery.

Leya’s primary income maker is her photography, but since the plane crash, recovering from her injuries, and Covid, she hasn’t been able to work her business. Right now, her primary medium of art is soft pastel paintings, and she finds joy in helping others in her community. Listen as she shares what she is looking forward to once the pandemic has run its course and her work with the Centre for Disabilities in Development.

You’ll learn:

  • [03:02] Welcome back to the show, Leya!
  • [03:16] Leya shares how she survived a plane crash in Bangladesh.
  • [05:43] When she was taken to the hospital, no one spoke English, which was very scary, especially when she broke her back and had a traumatic brain injury.
  • [09:47] What do you attribute all of your resilience to? 
  • [12:46] When she came home, she had so many injuries she was in a full-body brace.
  • [14:00] Leya discusses going through EMDR and other trauma-based therapies.
  • [25:45] Leya shares some ways she has learned to cope with the memories of what happened.
  • [27:54] Where are you now on the recovery journey?
  • [29:57] Leya defines what a magpie is.
  • [32:38] Leya’s primary income maker is her photography, but her primary medium of art is soft pastel.
  • [33:40] Leya speaks about her paintings and the meaning behind them.
  • [41:56] Leya shares some dreams that she has turned into action.
  • [44:33] Leya discusses how she has purpose and compassion by helping others.
  • [46:11] Where do you go from here?
  • [48:11] Leya speaks about what she wants to do once Covid is behind us.
  • [53:10] How are you surviving when you can’t do the work that pays your bills?
  • [54:58] Thank you for having me on the show.
  • [55:52] Thank you for being on the show!
  • [56:43] If you are a regular listener, consider becoming a patron by clicking on our Patreon tab at

Find Leya Russell:

Leya Russell
Magpie Cove Studio
Leya Russell Photography
Centre for Disability in Development
Facebook | Instagram

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1 thought on “376: Crash Landings and Recovery with Leya Russell”

  1. I cried a bit listening to this. How PTSD and the anxiety and fear…it helps me feel not alone. Thank you for sharing your story, Leya.


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