Fighting Parkinson’s, and having your recovery for yourself

Recently, some people have mentioned to me how fortunate I was to have Sally with me on my journey to full recovery from Parkinson’s. When I expressed that I agreed, and it was a blessing beyond comprehension to have her by my side while fighting the disease, some have said that is not what they had meant. 

They told me what they had meant was having somebody in their lives for whom they wanted to get better. I told them that the somebody in their lives for whom they needed to get better was themselves. This realization was critical in my ability to defeat Parkinson’s.

In the beginning of my recovery, I had a difficult time coming to grips with my new physical limitations, and I felt badly about myself. Each morning as my Parkinson’s self was trying to talk me out of doing the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®, I would win the argument by saying to myself, “It is not fair to Sally and our children. This is not the life with you they signed up for.” And then I would do the Recipe…for them…I owed it to them.

Also, with my new physical limitations, there were things around the house that I had great difficulty doing, and Sally and our children picked up the slack. Initially, this made me feel even worse about myself than I already felt, if that was even possible. I did not feel worthy of the love they were expressing for me. Clearly, I did not love myself…at that point, I barely liked myself.

What was a turning point regarding this issue was one day when I realized I needed to get better for me. That’s right, I needed to get better for me, and getting better for me was not selfish. It was necessary! 

I realized it was not enough to want to get better just for them. I was blessed as the lesson appeared right in front of my eyes – I needed to like myself enough and love myself enough to want to get better for me…yes, for Sally and our children, too, but for me first.

If I had been able to get better only for them, then I would not really be recovered because I would still be suffering from all of the things that helped me get the disease in the first place, which included that I had adjusted the essence of who I was so I would be accepted or liked or loved by other people. And, throughout my life, those adjustments to the essence of who I was to make other people happy occurred again and again and again because it was my perception that it was how I would continue to be liked and loved and accepted…even if it caused me to suffer.

I learned that once I loved myself enough to want to get better for me, I would be filled with so many blessings that I never again would have to worry about being loved or accepted by other people because it would happen if it was supposed to…and if it did not happen…”Okay!” I accepted that, too. 

The old me (Parkinson’s-me) would be gone, and the new me (which was the original-soul-me), my true essence of me, would exude love, gratitude, and joyfulness, and I would be devoid of worries and fear; I also would be devoid of Parkinson’s. And with this understanding, I realized that it did not matter who liked me or loved me or accepted me, because as long as I stayed true to the essence of who I was, I would be loving, joyful and grateful. And loving, joyful and grateful I am! 

It helped push me over the top. It can help push you over the top, too. Moreover, it is not selfish – when you think of all of the people who will be inspired by your recovery, there is no way anybody could say curing yourself of Parkinson’s is selfish; no indeed, it is the ultimate blessing.

So, what are you waiting for? Give yourself a hug filled with love, and get recovered for you!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,

Howard

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14 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and having your recovery for yourself

  1. W’Ren A says:

    Once again…Perfect.

    That is exactly what I needed to hear today.

    Your an amazing human being Howard

  2. Barbara K says:

    How did you make that shift to love yourself? I don’t love myself or even like myself. How do I make that shift?

    • Val H says:

      Hi Barbara. I don’t know you or what makes you tick but I identify with your struggle. It’s funny how we use phrases like: ‘Don’t beat yourself up’, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’ and ‘You’re OK as you are’ to ameliorate the pain and self-doubt of other people but don’t deal so kindly with ourselves.
      I have used the Empty Chair Technique practised in Gestalt therapy to have some interesting conversations with myself about self-worth. I have also been repeating the mantra suggested by Howard to Petra last week – ‘I accept myself unconditionally right now’ – to bring me back to the basically good-intentioned axis of my being. I have come to realise that I can never ‘deserve’ my recovery in terms of merit. But I can honour the vulnerability inside me and dare to say: ‘Why not me?’

      • Chris M says:

        Sure you deserve it. We all deserve it because we are gentle loving spirits dancing our way through this messy thing called life.

  3. Margaret says:

    Beautiful! This reminds me of the little verse from Dr. Suess
    “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
    It seems so freeing to just accept and love yourself – I’m getting there.
    Love and healing to all my fellow warriors

  4. Tery and Werni says:

    Wonderful comment, Howard. It seems the biggest difficultiy with PD, but your
    explanation hit the point!! Thank you very, very much.

  5. Rick says:

    I feel blessed finding this website and the love I get from everyone of you . We are very lucky to have Howard because he would love to see you get over the line because he genuinely cares , love doesn’t come much better than that and I thank God for Howard and everyone of you helping ! Yes I’m doing the recipe for myself first , absolutely because who wants Parkinson’s, and look at all those doubters who don’t believe in what your doing , but we believe! I also think of all of the people who will be inspired by my recovery . I might have trouble walking from A to B sometimes but I’m already planning life without Parkinson’s as I still want to sail the Whitsundays. 8 months 26 days now doing the recovery. Love to everyone, Rick from Australia 😍

    • Neville S says:

      Good on you, Rick. I took a different approach, sold the boat (still tied up in Mooloolaba), went vanning for a couple of years, until COVID and state lockdowns got in the way. I still have plans once I remove Parkinson‘s.

  6. Anne says:

    Hi fellow amazing ones,
    My latest mantra is “you are deeply ok.” Somehow it cuts past the critical mind.
    To me it says, I am ok deep inside and that’s all that matters. My faults and mistakes
    and even Parkinson’s are just dry leaves about to blow away. They are laughable
    and silly. So all day I delightedly say “you are deeply ok” and go about my day.
    Love to all,
    Anne, Portland, Oregon USA

  7. Rabindar says:

    Howard, another great point you have driven home with the PD recovery, we need to like ourselves enough and love ourselves enough to want to get better for ourselves and then to love the family, who has supported us with the recovery. Thank you.

  8. Dianna in Wyoming says:

    I have tried twice to send this. Is ego trying to get her voice heard? Well it is said third time is a charm so here goes. First off, thank you Howard and each of you for sharing your challenges and triumphs. I was diagnosed 19 years ago with Parkinson’s. It has been such a journey of self discovery. Learning to love self has been one of the biggest lessons. Howard has been so incredibly instrumental in my accepting my own love for “me”. I bow in gratitude. With love to all.

  9. Melanie S says:

    It’s strange how such a simple thing as loving ourselves is so difficult.
    Here goes: I LOVE MYSELF

  10. Judy G says:

    Howard. You walk on water! Sally does also. Thank you both! While I am not yet symptom free, your recipe has healed my spirit. Much love, Judy

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