Fighting Parkinson’s, and our emotions

It seems like a discussion about emotions would be pretty straightforward, but I have found it quite difficult because emotions permeate everything we do. Yesterday morning in an explanation about surrender, I got on the topic of emotions. Yesterday afternoon in an explanation of how to deal with issues in life, Pre-Parkinson’s versus during Parkinson’s and Post-Parkinson’s, I got on the topic of emotions. Today, I will tackle the topic of emotions in a way I hope will be meaningful for you.

I list one of the three main causes of Parkinson’s as: Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment. (These are the emotions that harm the liver).

Surrender and Emotions. Surrender, in simplest terms, refers to acceptance. Acceptance, in this sense, refers to accepting things as they are without emotions getting in control of how we react. In a perfect world, it would look like this: The doctor says, “You have Parkinson’s Disease,” and you respond, “Okay.” The “okay” is not governed by fear or worry or anxiety or anger or frustration or resentment. It is just “okay” as accepting what the doctor says as a fact, just one of many facts that are occurring in your life, like you are reading this blog post right here, right now…”okay.” Since this is not a perfect world, surrender and acceptance become harder issues, but it all comes down to emotions.

Issues in life and Emotions. Yesterday afternoon, the question focused on this: “My work is seasonal and last season was the slow season and I am recovering very well from Parkinson’s. How do I go back to doing my work now (busiest season) without the negative emotions from my work resurfacing and causing the progress I have made in my recovery to go backwards?” My response was that just because one is recovering from Parkinson’s, or has fully recovered from Parkinson’s, it does not mean that life’s issues go away. What is different is how we react to them emotionally. I then gave an example from my life that I will provide here.

Pre-Parkinson’s, when one of my children came to me and told me there was a virus in the children’s computer, my reaction was anger. Anger was followed by interrogation of the bearer of the bad news, something to the effect of, “What did you download that you weren’t supposed to download? What web site were you on that you weren’t supposed to be on?…I think you get the point. I would be consumed with anger over the event, frustration over how my time was going to be interrupted to try to remove the virus, and resentment over the fact that somebody had been doing something they were not supposed to be doing and now we had a virus in the computer.

This reaction has a resounding ripple effect. I would not release the anger. The entire time I was removing the virus out of the computer, I was angry. And after it was removed, I was angry and dwelled on it. And, whichever unfortunate child happen to be the one who told me about the virus was angry because I got upset with them and they viewed my behavior as unreasonable. Also, I realized this morning that part of what was fueling my anger was fear over all the terrible things that could have occurred had I not been able to get the virus out of the computer. How sad is that? Part of my anger had been driven by fear of events from the past that did not take and never would take place because the virus was removed from the computer.

It was this type of emotional reaction to life, that’s right, life, that along with other things, helped weaken my liver and allow liver wind (or Parkinson’s Disease) to overtake my body. One of the things I had to do to recover from Parkinson’s was calm myself and not allow my negative emotions to rule my outlook on life or taint and control how I reacted to life’s facts and events.

A couple of months ago (almost a year after my Parkinson’s recovery), one of my children came to me with the dreaded news, “Dad, there is a virus in the computer.” She also said, “Because I know how you feel about this, I tried everything to fix it…I removed the program I had downloaded, I rebooted the computer, I downloaded tools to remove the virus, and it has just gotten worse. I am sorry.” After she told me this, I noticed that my pre-Parkinson’s emotional reaction of anger to this situation was non-existent…I was calm about it, and I looked at her and said, “No problem. I will take care of it.”

I know you may find this hard to believe, but it is true. My daughter had the same reaction as you. She looked at me with the kind of bewilderment that said, “You’re not my father. What did you do with him?” I fixed the computer and the only other thing said to her was since she knew what it was that she had downloaded that caused the virus, let’s not do it again in the future and we will probably avoid the virus.

Parkinson’s taught me that I needed to change my emotional reaction to the facts and events of life in order to recover from the disease. I knew I needed to focus on the solution to the problem rather than focusing only on the fact that I had a problem. It circles back to the issues of surrender and acceptance that life is messy. And, sometimes in life, a doctor tells us that we have Parkinson’s Disease. It is unrealistic to think that at that moment, we just say “okay” and go about our business as if the doctor had said we have a hangnail.

When we get the news we have have the disease, it is only natural for our emotions of anger and resentment and frustration and fear to quickly rise to surface. The important thing is to let go of these negative emotions and do not let them control how you will deal with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, or should I say, how you will deal with the facts and events going on in your life. Think about this: isn’t “disease” a manifestation of “dis-ease?” And, isn’t “dis-ease” a manifestation of our emotional reaction to the facts and events of life?

So, what is one of the ways we work on our recovery from Parkinson’s Disease? Get rid of the “Dis” and work on the “ease.” Aren’t you worth it?

All my best,

Howard

 

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2 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and our emotions

  1. Marie says:

    Hello, Howard,
    And thank you.

    As the person mentioned above who sometimes finds it challenging to hold on to the life changes I’ve made in following the Recipe for Recovery, I will add….”OKAY”.
    That is how it is. I’m grateful to have had the slow work months to really focus on
    my health in very profound ways. And now the demands of work make it trickier to fit in all of what I want to fit in within a day. OKAY.
    I would like to share with others another part of the conversation. It was very helpful to me when you asked if my feelings were a generalized anxiety and irritation, or tied to specific things in my life. It was interesting that the things that came out of my mouth are not the day to day obstacles and setbacks and minor inconveniences that I seem to be reacting to. Instead, there are some larger, unresolved life issues involving important people, and I have major decisions to make. Just recognizing that, and acknowledging that these are serious things that I must consider helped me to feel more settled, and to give myself some slack.
    Computer viruses get fixed. Decisions get made. things eventually get done, even though by giving myself time for healing, some other things get put off. That’s fine too. The gift that Parkinson’s gave me, was to shift my priorities towards my own well-being. Sometimes I lose sight of that. But not always, and not today.

    thanks for your help. Marie

  2. Howard says:

    Hi Marie,

    You are welcome. And, thank you very much for sharing the personal side of our discussion from yesterday. I am certain there are many people who are similarly situated and will be inspired by your words.

    Warm regards,

    Howard

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