Why is it important for someone with Parkinson’s disease to hear something positive said to them? There is enough negativity around us, be it environmental, political, domestic or international, those of us living day-to-day with a health condition can use a reminder of the positive stuff. Words have real power!
When I decided to write about what to say to someone with Parkinson’s that’s positive, I failed to ask whether the person that I was talking to was newly diagnosed or may have had it for a while. Having had this illness since the age of 17 and diagnosed at the age of 23, my perspective comes from learning to live well with Parkinson’s disease for three decades. I will add that a great deal of my early years with Parkinson’s came out of trial and error and experimenting to see what I found benefit from and what I didn’t.
The following list contains what every person with Parkinson’s needs to know whether they are newly diagnosed or have had it longer than me. I hope that you agree that these are vital messages to share throughout our community:
You are NOT alone!
Try not to be overwhelmed by your diagnosis. Like all of us, our future is unknown and undetermined. Take the best possible care of yourself that you can.
There’s help and information available to you that wasn’t out there when I was diagnosed, so long ago. The network of people, resources, knowledge, compassion, and medical expertise spread amongst this planet is truly inspiring and amazing! The Parkinson’s community is a close-knit group of dedicated individuals, organizations, and foundations, offering support, research, and various programs that may show benefit to your condition! Read the various informative blogs, news feeds, and daily updates to keep up with the news related to Parkinson’s disease. Take advantage of lectures, seminars, conferences, and meetings that are available to you, both in your area and online.
You have a choice whether you want to look at your life from a positive perspective or one of negativity. Negativity is the best option if you want to repel friends, alienate those who are close to you, and pull yourself down. Parkinson’s has taught me not to take life for granted and to appreciate the “small things”, that really aren’t small, at all! Whether it’s a good meal, the sun on your face, or a favorite song on the radio, we must remember to celebrate the good in our lives!
We have a choice in how we see the world. If we choose to focus on the negative and fail to appreciate what is right in front of us, it is very easy to miss all the good around us. I have found that this illness can be a powerful teacher about what is important in our life. Let it teach you. Learn from it and be at peace.
Stay open, keep flexible!
A tree in the wind is sure to snap if it isn’t capable of bending and swaying with the breeze. This is a fine example of how you might look at new exercises and therapies to incorporate into your life. Trying different options offers possibilities and hope.
Work with your doctors and keep informed!
Knowing your condition and having a firm understanding of your medicines empowers you for better self-care. When you and your doctors are both well-informed, you both can communicate better. Knowledge really is power! Don’t be afraid to educate yourself on your illness.
Lower your stress and everything seems to improve!
Stress, anxiety, and worry are all emotions that are detrimental to people with Parkinson’s disease. Finding exercises and therapies to lower your stress level can have a very calming effect on the whole body.
Humor, fun, and small victories are vital for you and those close to you!
Remember to incorporate fun, pleasure, and enjoyment into your daily life in any way that you can. Learn to decompress, de-stress, and even relax. Make the most of the days that you feel your best!
Balance, moderation, gratitude, compassion, and patience play a big part in staying well!
Rather than asking “why me?” ask “what can I do today for myself and others?”
Helping others helps ourselves! If we feel sorry for ourselves, we fail to see the many lessons that illness unveils. Don’t forget to be grateful for the good in your life! Rather than asking questions that really have no answer, ask yourself how you can help yourself and others in a similar situation.