Engulfed by the Enormity of the Diagnosis
Last updated: February 2022
When I was first diagnosed 8 long years ago, I recall letting out a guttural wail ... an aching sound that emanated from the deep recesses of my being. I was entrenched in a midst of fear.
Fear about how my future would unfold and fear about how I would cope with the severe (physical and mental) limitations that such a devastating diagnosis would bring.
My thoughts were infested with the word "Parkinson's." The word infiltrated my mind, pitched up a tent, and invaded 99.9 percent of my thoughts. This was my fundamental mistake. I let it contaminate and fester into every aspect of my life. I deeply regret this.
Parkinson's ... Parkinson's ... Parkinson's ... and round and round the merry-go-round this word went. It was and is just a word. But, the leverage and influence over my day-to-day life existence was all-encompassing.
I gave it too much publicity. Too much oxygen ... and the Pesky Parkinator basked in the attention. It thrived and flourished in this glory.
Waste of mental space
Unwittingly, the unconscious stream of thought-space and energy I gave to the diagnosis, merely fueled it. Meanwhile, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease just continued to increase in their severity.
The more I thought about, it the more mental headspace I gave it, the tighter the noose around my neck became. With the gift of hindsight, I recognize that this was my mistake.
I was so deeply mired in shock and depression, that I did not allow my mind to think of anything else. My life was reduced to and limited by this diagnosis and thus unfolding life through the embittered, jaded, and hazy lens of Parkinson’s diagnosis.
The more I thought about it, the more terrain and victorious it became on its aggressive assault on my abilities. In this instance, it was a case of "what you focus on and think, your brain refuses to shrink."
I lost myself in the diagnosis
It affected my ability to be a present and loving parent. It affected my ability to be an affectionate and caring wife. Without consciously realizing, I built a fortress and impenetrable barrier around myself and between me and my reality.
I allowed myself to be subsumed by my diagnosis. So, whilst the diagnosis evidently reduced my quality of life ... I further exacerbated this by limiting my own quality of life.
For the first few years, I did not know where the diagnosis ended and where I began. Everything became so convoluted ... so murky.
Unknowingly, I use to panic when I was in social situations in the early years preceding my diagnosis, especially when my symptoms or medication side effects were in full swing.
I would often become flustered and overcome with anxiety as I explained (and profusely apologized!) to random strangers ... just in case my random, sporadic, uncontrollable jerky bodily movement was making them uncomfortable.
With the beauty of hindsight and the wisdom of experience, I recognize that Parkinson's doesn't rule, define, or dominate my identity. It is only one micro composite part of the beautifully complicated and intricate kaleidoscope that is my life.
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