Today, December 12, 2011, I am 18 months symptom free. I like looking forward, not backwards, and it is what I advocate for all of you. However, every now and again, a little reflection on life’s events doesn’t hurt. I will post here some excerpts from a previous post I wrote about balance…physical, mental, and spiritual…and share with you how I see those concepts today, in hindsight.
“Parkinson’s likes to hang around and make us feel like we have to have it forever. It knocks us off balance physically, which leads to knocking us off balance mentally (anger, frustration, depression), which knocks us off balance spiritually (we give up hope). We have to reverse the order to beat Parkinson’s at its own game.
Think about this: Physically, you are off balance. You move slowly and cautiously, often looking down instead of forward. What does that do? It puts your body in a posture that makes it virtually impossible to walk balanced. Your neck is bent, your spine is bent, the fluid in your semicircular canals is moved, and your visual frame of reference (important for balance) is your legs or the floor, and you acquire what is often referred to as a Parkinson’s gait. Mentally, you then become off balance because you are afraid of falling or freezing, and you are afraid of the future with Parkinson’s. This is right where Parkinson’s wants you…not living in the moment, but instead living in the past (getting Parkinson’s) and being fearful of the future (life with long-term Parkinson’s). Spiritually, you give up hope that you ever will get better. At that point Parkinson’s is winning.
Essentially, when you stare at your legs and feel unbalanced, you are looking at the past. When you feel unbalanced, you fear the future (walker, wheelchair, etc.). How can you move forward in life in a balanced manner if you are staring backwards and it makes you fearful of where you are going? Hope. But hope is not enough. You have to KNOW. You have to know in your heart of hearts and your soul of souls that you will get better.
I knew I would get better. I knew it as fact. I did not know when, but I knew I would get better. I got my body ready, I got my mind ready, but spiritually, I was still looking outside myself. I had the order incorrect (first, heal the soul, and the mind and body will follow). Ultimately, to heal my soul, I had to go to the scariest place of all and look inside.”
The reason that was the scariest place of all for me was that I was an adrenaline-driven, perfectionist, over-thinker, and the Parkinson’s inside me knew it. Looking inside meant I had to face myself and rely on myself and have faith in myself to “do” the right things, not think about them…and, as all of you know, Parkinson’s was a very worthy opponent. Parkinson’s constantly challenged my faith and challenged my resolve and challenged my “doing.”
It wanted me to stop what I was doing and “think” about it. It wanted me to “think” about Parkinson’s being considered incurable. It wanted me to “think” about how barely anybody outside of Sally and our children felt I was doing he correct thing. It wanted me to “think” it was not possible to succeed. It wanted me to “think” because with “thinking” comes fear and worry and anger and frustration…and that is where my Parkinson’s could thrive.
What my Parkinson’s did not realize is that my faith was bolstered by my secret weapon…Sally. Every time I would say, “I am thinking about adding this to the Recipe,” Sally would remind me, “Don’t think about it, do it.” And I would do it, add it in for a month and see if there was a benefit. Over time, “doing” became natural, and over-thinking became a thing of the past.
So, yes, it is very scary to look inside yourself and say to yourself, “I am not going to think about this…I am just going to do it because it feels right and I have faith that it is right.” However, it is the doing that leads to recovery. The doing is how we develop into our new selves, the new, Parkinson’s-free selves. We leave our old selves behind. One of the attachments we have to let go of to become balanced in our lives and balanced in our recoveries is our attachment to our old selves, you know, the adrenaline-driven, perfectionist, over-thinking old selves that currently have Parkinson’s.
Yes, at times it was a scary adventure to reach full recovery. But, wouldn’t you agree it was worth it? Now, how about you? Aren’t you worth it?
All my best,