Fighting Parkinson’s, and being kind to ourselves

This month, I have been making a big push with my 30-day November to Remember, No Excuses November, challenge to do a modified version of the Recipe for Recovery for 30 days. As we enter the final two days, I have been happy to hear back from people on how they are doing. Quite a few people have commented to me or emailed me that when they saw family and friends who they had not seen for a while during the Thanksgiving holiday last week, that many people told them how much better they looked or how much healthier they looked. This is very good!

Accepting others telling us we look better or look healthier when we are not feeling great may be difficult. These stories reminded me that we need to be kind to ourselves. However, before we can be kind to ourselves, we have to fight the fear that drives our Adrenaline mode. Part of the Adrenaline mode mind that helped Parkinson’s rear its ugly head in us is the Adrenaline mode mind that had us being critical of ourselves. It is why we felt we needed to keep pushing, pushing, pushing to be better, smarter, faster, all-knowing…being critical of ourselves caused us to never take a mental break. And one of the largest motivators driving the Adrenaline mode mental train in full throttle was fear.

Fear of what? Everything! Fear of: “Maybe I won’t be prepared for ______;” “Maybe I won’t know the answer to ______;” “Maybe I am not good enough for ______;” Maybe _____ (bad thing) will happen.” I think you know what I am talking about, and it is a long list. It is the list of things that could happen that we feel compelled to have all of the possible scenarios to so we will be prepared for everything that could possibly happen for the rest of our lives so that nothing will go wrong or bad and everything can happen according to plan. Fear of what? Life!

And then we find ourselves with Parkinson’s Disease, and the professionals have the audacity to tell us there is nothing we can do about it. US, the-Adrenaline-mode-I-can-solve-any-problem, US! And we are crushed. Why? Because for all of those years we were mentally creating and solving every possible scenario of life so we would have every answer so we would be prepared and nothing would ever go wrong, PARKINSON’S DISEASE NEVER CROSSED OUR MINDS! So, we didn’t have an answer and we were crushed because we thought we had all the answers to all of the problems in life. And, then, we lose confidence in ourselves and we are critical of ourselves because we didn’t see it coming and we find ourselves ill-prepared.

We can solve a big part of this by being kind to ourselves. There is no blame, no shame, no guilt, in having Parkinson’s. We need to look forward instead of backwards. Replaying, what would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, happened to prevent us having Parkinson’s just helps advance the disease, and it most certainly does not make the disease go away. Instead, let’s be kind to ourselves and move forward toward the solution called recovery.

Looking forward as we finish out these last two days of my 30-day challenge, how about not looking back at what might have been. How about looking forward and deciding that being a human being is a blessing we have been given and that life is a gift to be treated with precious care. You are kind to others, so why not be kind to yourself and start enjoying your life, despite your Parkinson’s.

You spend so much time with the disease, and each day it may difficult to know that recovery is the path you are on. This can lead to being critical of yourself…let that criticism go. Replace the criticism with feeling good about yourself because you decided to do something about your Parkinson’s going forward instead of dwelling on the criticism of yourself for not seeing it coming in the past. Quite frankly, you have no control over the fact that you ultimately got the disease. However, what you do have control over is what you do about it.

Why not be kind to yourself and get on the path toward recovery and not get off until you have recovered. Aren’t you worth it?

All my best,

Howard

 

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9 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and being kind to ourselves

  1. Pat Lane says:

    Let us not look backwards in anger or forwards
    in fear, but around in awareness.

  2. Thank you, Howard…. I’m so glad I am on this path to recovery. Your advice to shift the blame/shame game is wonderful. I couldn’t agree more. Gratitude is such a useful tool in making this shift. I am infinitely grateful to you for illuminating the path and supporting me and so many others along the way. I am grateful to myself for the courage to follow the path (now four months long). And I am grateful to my companions on this path….Marie, Leo, Teri, Laurie, Helen, Lindsey, Kumar, Nancy, Malcolm, Christine, Luke and so many others. I believe we support each other as we share our challenges and our celebrations. As to celebrations, I celebrate that my massage therapist, on my last visit, told me he noticed remarkably improved energy in my body since I’d been doing Qigong exercises – he also said that my body was responding with much more ease to his treatment…. last week, on a lunch visit, my sister-in-law told me I looked “wonderful” (she hadn’t seen me for a few months)…. and I notice significantly improved energy on my morning walks….yeah!!!!!!!

    Gratefully

    Penny

    • Howard says:

      You are welcome, Penny. Thank you for sharing your challenges and your celebrations with us. We are happy to be sharing ours with you as well. This is really excellent news and much to celebrate regarding your massage therapist visit, your sister-in-law’s remarks, and your significantly improved energy on your morning walks…we join you in celebrating…yeah!!!!!! Good for you, Penny!
      With gratitude and blessings,
      Howard

  3. Teri Rye says:

    Thank you Howard, Pat, and Penny for this morning’s “fix” of encouragement. I needed it desperately. The last couple of days, I have focused on my symptoms. “I lost my edge” for a moment. I’m resolving today to focus on the good things in my life (and there are many). The bit about “trying to solve all of our problems, and being crushed when we cannot” was especially insightful for me. Thank you. Thank you! Still on the road to recovery! Fighting on!
    Teri

  4. Leontina says:

    Va salut cu drag pe toti.Sunt suparata,astazi am fost la un pas de paralizie,s-au blocat toti muschii corpului si abia dupa ce am luat pastila mi=am revenit.De la 1 noimbrie pana acum am luat doar trei pastile si ieri eram bucuroasa ca am putut sa merg mai usor,am avut un tremor usor si eram pe calea de a simtii schimbari importante,dar asta zi m=am speriat foarte tare ,cel mai mult am rezistat 12 zile dar cu chin mult.Am studiat problema ,eu nu pot sa ma ridic repede ca mi=e frica ca ma blochez,nu pot merge repede ca mi=e frica sa nu cad,nu pot manca bine ca mie frica sa nu cada mancarea ,si toate fricile acestea ma fac sa tremur .pentru mine e clar parkinson egal frica de viata.Nu pot scapa de frica decat pe moment si iar apare,iau medicamente ma simt in siguranta si dispar toate simtomele . Cum sa resetez creierul ? Sper ca voi sa fiti mai bine Leo.

    • Teri Rye says:

      Leo,
      I am so sorry you are struggling! Fear is a very powerful thing! It makes us do things we don’t want to do and not do things we should do. I, too, was considering taking a pill yesterday because it would make me feel much better… for the moment. But, just like an alcoholic returning to the bottle to mask bad feelings, I would only have been masking my symptoms and not helping my recovery. I truly want to recover and I know you do too. I believe the most important thing is to not “beat yourself up” when you take a pill. It’s hard to function without drugs. Keep doing the recipe. I have faith in you! Hang in there, Leo! I will pray for you! We are in this fight together!
      Teri

    • Howard says:

      Leo’s translation:

      I gladly say hi to. I am upset, today I was on the verge of paralysis, they blocked all the muscles of the body and only after I took my pill I returned. From 1 November before I took three pills and yesterday I was glad I was able to go easy, I had a tremor and was easy on the way to feel important changes, but this day I am very much afraid, most I lasted 12 days but with much torment. I studied the problem, I cannot get up quickly because I’m afraid that I was stuck, I cannot go faster because I’m afraid I might fall, cannot eat better because I am afraid of other food, and all these fears make me tremor. Parkinson’s equally clear to me is fear of life. I cannot get rid of fear all of the time, and while it is there, I feel safe taking medication and all symptoms disappear. How to reset the brain? I hope to overcome this. Leo.

  5. Howard says:

    Teri, thank you for your earlier comment and for sharing your situation and encouraging Leo in your later comment.

    Leo, it is difficult and everybody struggles. We appreciate you explaining your struggles, particularly with fear…it is a common struggle with Parkinson’s. Please read https://www.fightingparkinsonsdrugfree.com/2011/02/28/fighting-parkinson%E2%80%99s-and-prayer/ as there are meditations and prayers that you may find useful in helping you fight fear. Fear is paralyzing just as much as Parkinson’s is paralyzing. Faith defeats fear and allows your movement to flow a little easier. Give away the fear to your Higher Power and replace it with faith.

    Blessings to you both,
    Howard

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