Fighting Parkinson’s, and losing your mind

“Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.” Socrates telling Dan in The Peaceful Warrior movie and The Way of the Peaceful Warrior book, by and about Dan Millman.

Here is an excerpt from my Parkinson’s daily journal from one year ago today:

“10/02/09. Got up at 4:30 again. I had noticed yesterday that the pain I have had in my left arm has replicated in my right arm. I know this is not good. There were a couple of things that were different this morning in wake up time for me and then Genevieve wanted to get up at 5:15 instead of 6 — I got confused thinking about the difference and for some reason I felt pressed for time, which in hindsight is ridiculous. I forgot to warm the bowls for the oatmeal. Sally said it was no big deal. To me it was a huge deal — I learned, although I kind of already knew from other experiences, my brain is disorganized now. I still have clarity in my thoughts and reasoning, however, I cannot process too many different concepts simultaneously — something will go into a black hole never to be thought of in my cognitive processes. I am considering making checklists to make certain I remember all the steps when I am doing something, like making breakfast. There are not a lot of steps, but if my mind gets distracted, I lose my place; sometimes when the confusion comes over me I just cry. I cannot help it, it does not solve anything, and the tremors get worse until I can calm myself down….”

It was not until months later in my recovery that I realized that I thought too much, analyzed too much, obsessed over making the correct decisions too much, worried too much, was afraid to much, and “just felt and did” too little. Being a “thinker” was preventing me from being a “doer.” I finally understood what paralysis by analysis meant, and I had to get my thinking mind out of the way to get better.

I am trying to think of a better way to explain this. Looking back at my journal entry above, you can see that a thing as simple as forgetting to warm the bowls set off a whole list of fears that Parkinson’s was taking over my mind. I am certain that prior to having Parkinson’s I forgot to warm the bowls for oatmeal and that it did not set off a list of fears. Parkinson’s exploits our weaknesses and tests our resolve, and it manipulates the thinking mind in hopes of making us get off of our path to recovery.

How do we stop this cycle? When we address Parkinson’s, we need to do it with confidence in ourselves to feel and do what is right…there is no room for self-doubt, which I believe is the disease exploiting our thinking mind’s fears about a terrible future. When we find our path and we are feeling and doing the right things to recover, guess who is fearful? Parkinson’s Disease. And it tries to share its fear with us through our thinking minds. Once we realize that the disease is trying to feed us FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real), we can reject the false evidence and continue down our path with no self-doubt and no lack of confidence. And we can win.

You have the power to heal yourself.

All my best,

Howard

 

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