Always Look on the Bright Side
When I tell some people that I have Parkinson’s disease (PD), I get a variety of responses. I am sure you do too. Often they involve more questions but the most common reaction is: “Oh, I’m sorry.” Living with PD is different for everyone because each of us is different and experience symptoms, attitudes and personalities. One thing I am sure of is this; no matter what PD deals me, I play those cards to the best outcome possible. That may mean a bit of bluffing and sometimes it is real hard to smile and laugh when you feel like crying. The crying part is real easy for me considering living with a chronic, neurological, progressive illness stacks the deck against me and the odds don’t look good. I suppose our brains are just wired that way. No pun intended for those with deep brain stimulation (DBS). It’s a PD humor thing! So what are we supposed to do to put on a happy face to avoid those long dark periods of life with PD.
Chase the PD blues away
Things to chase the PD blues away first include determination. You must consciously decide that you really want to be happy today. When you wake up, it is important to convince yourself, against the rigidity and pain you might feel, that staying in bed and pulling the covers over your head is not an option. Tell yourself, I am going to be a participant, not just a spectator of life. You can start by putting your feet on the floor. There, that’s a start. You would be surprised what neurons begin firing by this arduous task. If you are like me, your next neuron induced thought is “God, help me make it to the bathroom on time." This can be a problem especially for people living with PD but I digress. Another thing once you are physically up, before you retreat back to your bed, open the blinds and let the sunshine in or if you are fortunate enough to have a sun porch or sun room. Spend a few minutes soaking up a little vitamin D which a large percentage of those living with PD are depleted of according to medical science. Take advantage of these few minutes of time to set goals for today. These are short term goals that assist in overcoming apathy which runs high among those people living with PD. I actually use a white eraser board and write down the things I want to accomplish that day. Such as:
- Pick up medication at the pharmacy
- Go grocery shopping
- Get my hair cut. (actually not on my personal list, see the photo in my bio!)
- Get a manicure/pedicure
The point is to make these small obtainable goals that you can accomplish successfully without wearing yourself out. Remember, fatigue is one of your symptoms and you only have so much energy.
The power of positive thinking
Ignore the negative, brain draining, stressful and drama filled events that use up all your dopamine. Avoid situations that attack your emotional and mental wellbeing. This won’t be easy. I know from experience that less drama equals less mental stress, which we all know is detrimental to good mental health. Incorporate positive up lifting music into your daily routine. Studies have shown that music and light exercise is important and beneficial in treating PD. Here are some things you can do every day to help:
- Meditation, Reiki
- Yoga/Thai Chi
- Jogging, bicycling (if you are able to perform safely)
The emphasis is to explore the available programs for therapy for PD in your area and find one that you enjoy. So the next time you feel down and blue, fight back against the disease with purposeful and positive mental health. Don’t let the PD win. This is a battle of which you are not alone. So put your feet on the floor, throw open those shades and live well with Parkinson’s Disease. As always, I encourage you to add your questions, stories, and comments and keep battling my friends.
Which of the following caffeinated beverages do you regularly consume?