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A man looks skeptically at the outlines of three doctors behind him, all seeming to suggest drastic surgeries or procedures.

Doubting Ourselves & How to Deal with It

Doubt is a tricky sense that can save us when we may have erred in judgment, but it can also keep us from going outside our comfort zone which could lead to personal growth. Doubt can hold us back or be a cautious warning. The hard part of doubt is knowing when to let it go.

Doubt can be protective

For anyone with Parkinson’s or really any chronic illness, if we expect to improve our condition, sitting on our hands and wishing for a cure isn’t the most proactive way to get the results we want. When we begin doubting ourselves, those trying to help us, or even trying potential solutions, the doubt wins, and we lose.

Being vigilant is not the same as being doubtful. I hate to admit it, but there is good science and bad science, and doubt is protective when questioning what may be bad or dangerous science. I have heard too many stories about unnecessary surgeries, procedures, and experimental tests that should never have been performed.

Maybe if the patient were better informed, were up to date on the science of their ailment and felt more empowered to discern the viable options from the impossible, invasive and traumatic experiences trouble might be avoided. If you have doubt, are uncomfortable, or feel that your answers aren’t being answered to your liking, strongly consider a second opinion.

How doubt saved me

Doubt saved my life or at least saved me from a great deal of harm. In more than a few cases, had I not found a second opinion, I fear what the outcome could have been. From heart surgeons quick to prescribe medication to even further lower my blood pressure to neurologists who were insistent that I get brain surgery that would only apply to non-existent symptoms, one must be aware, smart, and educated.

Pursuing what I doubted was beneficial

When I learned about the benefits of exercise in Parkinson’s, I was doubtful, but Rock Steady Boxing has proven to be very helpful in making me stronger and more flexible. When Reiki dropped in my lap, I was doubtful, suspect, curious, but very hopeful. Reiki changed my life for the better, over twenty years ago, and it has made my life so much more balanced, peaceful, and meaningful.

Discovery may mean going outside your comfort zone and trying something new. You’re never going to know what you like or don’t like, without a little experimenting. Be cautious, careful, and get good references, before starting anything and avoid any procedure with serious repercussions. Always check with your physician before starting anything new.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Maria De Leon
    5 months ago

    Karl R- extremely thought provoking but very important to always believe and be comfortable with the care, advice, treatment etc. to combat any illness. Because just like placebo effect is extremely important to improve well being and having a positive outlook is half the battle so does having a nocebo effect which is having negative expectations from the patient part which then leads a patient to have more negative response than they would otherwise be expected ..this is why you have to trust and believe the people providing care treatments as well as the efficacy of the treatment. if you are questioning or in doubt then best to pass. maria de leon/ moderator/ patient advocate

  • Karl R moderator author
    5 months ago

    Thanks for your input, Maria, and reading my stuff!

    I agree with you. Our thoughts really can dictate our actions. Doubt isn’t always negative–it can be very protective. Often our gut knows.
    Be Well,
    Karl R.- Community Team Member

  • luckyschultz
    5 months ago

    Oh pleeze
    Doubt has caused more Dreams to crumble than outright failure. gonna do everything I did but maybe slower. Stop giving folk excuses

  • Chris H. moderator
    5 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, @luckyschultz. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “stop giving folks excuses.” Could you elaborate? I think Karl was trying to express the dualism of doubt, in that it can serve to protect one from something harmful or prevent one from experiencing something beneficial. Take care. – Chris, Team

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