Last week I wrote about trusting in your recovery. In essence, it comes down to trusting in yourself — the choice you made to follow the Recipe for Recovery, and your ability to see your recovery through to the end — this requires a lot of trust in yourself. It also requires putting faith in yourself and defeating fear. This morning, as I occasionally do, I was looking at what I wrote one year ago, and it was this exact point. Here it is, again, as it is quite timely for many of you.
From “Fighting Parkinson’s, and another look at fear,” posted originally on May 25, 2011:
“In my last post about staying on the path to recovery, I wrote, “I felt that if I continued to do the recipe for recovery after I became symptom free, it would have been out of fear that if I did not do it, the disease would return. I feel that if we live in fear, we create the things we fear the most, and then False Evidence Appearing Real becomes our reality. This is one of the important lessons I learned during the recovery process as I was becoming a new person.” Yesterday afternoon in a Skype coaching session I was asked an important question about this point.
The person commented that since the Recipe for Recovery had resulted in me being symptom free, it seemed that to remain symptom free, one would have to continue do the recipe forever. Why was that not so? Here is my short answer, with an explanation to follow: The Recipe for Recovery removes the causes of Parkinson’s instead of masking the symptoms. Once the causes are removed, the disease is gone and there is no need to continue with the recipe.
For about a decade prior to getting Parkinson’s, I had been studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other forms of holistic healing. From a TCM perspective, I learned that three main causes of Parkinson’s are:
1. Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment.
2. Phlegm-Fire Agitating Wind, which is caused by dietary considerations such as consumption of too much greasy, fried or sweet foods.
3. Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm.
The recipe was designed to deal with these three main causes of Parkinson’s. When explaining this yesterday afternoon, the following question these arose: “How come fear is not on the list of emotional causes? You talk a lot about conquering fear.” I consider fear to be a symptom of the disease, not a cause.
Think about it. Prior to getting Parkinson’s, were you regularly afraid of freezing, falling, tremors, rigidity, Bradykinesia, having to use a walker, having to use a wheelchair, or your body going through a progressively degenerative neurological meltdown for which they say there is no cure or even a way to improve. These fears came as a result of being told you have the disease and as a result of what you are experiencing while dealing with the disease. This is why I see fear as a symptom of the disease…your fear of Parkinson’s and your future life with Parkinson’s is a symptom of having Parkinson’s. This fear was non-existent prior to you having the disease…it is not a cause.
So, here comes the next question: “You say that getting rid of the causes gets rid of the disease. If fear is not a cause of the disease, why do you spend so much time talking about getting rid of it?” Because fear becomes FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real), and fear is the one symptom that can prevent recovery.
Can rigidity prevent recovery? No.
Can Bradykinesia prevent recovery? No.
Can tremors prevent recovery? No.
Can fear prevent recovery? Absolutely YES!
How? By making you doubt yourself and doubt the process and by shaking your faith to the core so you change paths right before recovery. Here’s how this works. As you begin to recover, you may actually feel a little better for a while. You may notice small things like a little less pain, easier bowel evacuation, a little better balance, a little more flexibility, and an emotional shift that says, “Yes, this is working. I am improving a little.” Since you have been told that Parkinson’s is a progressively degenerative disease from which you cannot improve or recover, these little improvements are actually huge improvements!
And then one day in the midst of these little improvements, you feel worse than the day before. At this fork in road, there are two choices only…faith or fear.
Fear says, “You see, this doesn’t work. It is just like all those other things you tried. Why don’t you stop being foolish and take something to ease your pain. Since you are heading down the path to a walker and a wheelchair and a nursing home, you might as well feel as good as you can until the inevitable arrives.” Can you see that if you follow the fork in the road with fear as your driver, you will practically guarantee that your False Evidence Appearing Real actually becomes your reality?
Faith says, “Think about this logically. You have what is defined as a progressively degenerative disease from which you cannot improve, and you have seen and felt improvement…a little improvement, but improvement nonetheless. To fully eradicate yourself of Parkinson’s, you have to embrace it, experience it, face your fears about it, and decide that you will stay on your path until Parkinson’s is gone.” Can you see that if you follow the fork in the road with faith as your driver, you can maintain faith in yourself, faith in the process, and faith in your Higher Power to see you through to recovery from Parkinson’s?
My experience was that a few weeks before I recovered, Parkinson’s got just as bad as it was at the beginning, eight months earlier. In the last few weeks prior to recovery, I spent a lot of time with meditation, prayer, and conversations with my adrenaline and dopamine. It was this faith in myself, my Recipe for Recovery, and my Higher Power that helped me persevere all the way to recovery.
I will be the first one to tell you that this is not easy. However, isn’t recovery from Parkinson’s worth fighting for? Aren’t you worth it?”
Please look at this statement from the post: “And then one day in the midst of these little improvements, you feel worse than the day before. At this fork in road, there are two choices only…faith or fear.”
Fear is a choice. That is right. At this fork in the road, fear is a choice.
Fear is the only Parkinson’s symptom that is a choice. That is why I talk about it so much. It is a choice in how we decide to look at our Parkinson’s, our other symptoms, and our lives. It is so powerful of a symptom of this disease, that in the midst of improving from a disease the experts say there is no chance of improvement, one bad day, one extra pain, one extra stiffness, one increase in tremors…one unfavorable change in any other symptom causes people to stop their improvement dead in its tracks and say, “I guess I am getting worse just like the doctors said I would.”
That interpretation is a choice, and the choice is fear. And it leads to FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). And that leads you down the path that causes your own fears and FEARs to come true.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. MAKE A DIFFERENT CHOICE……….
How about if you choose to interpret the events like this: “I trust myself in knowing what I am doing is the correct thing. I trust myself that I correctly have interpreted all of my improvements. I am willing to surrender control of having to fully understand every nuance or every energetic change taking place inside my body, and I am empowering myself to look at everything I am doing as long-term progress in my recovery from Parkinson’s without being fearful of the day-to-day changes that I do not fully understand. I have faith, and my faith defeats my fear.”
That interpretation is a choice, and the choice is faith. And it leads to staying with the Recipe for Recovery on your path toward recovery. And that leads you down the path that causes your faith in your recovery to come true.
Choose faith over fear and visualize your future recovery.
You are worth it!
All my best,
“Faith is to believe that which you do not yet see; and the reward of this faith is to see that which you believe.” Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Theologian and Bishop
Bless you Howard for all your words of wisdom
And thank you Patricia for your wonderful quote. It brought to mind Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book from the ’90s, “You’ll See It When You Believe It.” A great reminder that our path to recovery is to “trust” our own inner voice.
Gosh Howard…. once again, words flow from you that inspire and support… what could be more empowering for me than to realize that in every moment I have choice…and when I center on that realization, the choice of faith is an easy one….so to fear, in the words you so tenderly gave me during a recent coaching session, I say, “Enough already… enough!”
Thank you, Howard, from a very full heart.
Penny in Canada
BOY, HOWARD!! DID I NEED THAT!!!!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!
Thanks Howard. The explanation of fear being a symptom rather than a cause of the disease makes even more sense to me now than it did a year ago. Especially after conquering some pretty big fears after our Skype session yesterday. Thanks again!
super blog again.
i read you post again and again and every time i find something new in it.
i am worth it.
i trusted you and did my receipe for recovery religeously.
Thank you Howard for your Recipe!
Fear is enemy. Faith the hero.Thank you so
much Howard your compassion for the Pd
community inspires me! Thank you!!
I knew in my heart that I have lots of fear. I’ve been so used to having it that I self create
it to have it when it appears to be gone. I notice I can be tremor free and then a thought comes up and I start shaking again. I guess I have to love the peace that comes over me more than the fear. Fear is not part of my script anymore, it’s only a symptom. Thanks for the post. It brought a new perspective.
Thank you all for commenting on this important point in recovery. I appreciate you sharing your journeys as well as sharing the wonderful quotes that some have you have posted about faith. Given the choice, faith slays fear every time!
With gratitude and love,
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