Parkinson’s: Not Your Grandfather’s Disease

Many people will ask me what Parkinson’s disease (PD) feels like. Seeing as there are many variation of symptoms, it is hard to describe. Not to mention that each person will experience Parkinson’s in a different way. We are kind of like snowflakes… no two Parkies are alike. Or if you are a fashionable and chic Parkie, you could see it as we all have our own pair of designer jeans that we wear. Although they may look similar, we each wear our jeans differently.

When you think of Parkinson’s disease, do you think of an old man with a tremor? Can you imagine a 30-something girl, such as myself, having trouble multi-tasking? The overgeneralization that Parkinson’s only impacts elderly people’s movements is common today.  PD is not our Grandfather’s disease anymore. Finally awareness is being raised on the many faces of Parkinson’s. That is why I am going to describe some non-motor symptoms that I struggle with on a daily basis.

Struggling with my non-motor symptoms

“Too Much” is the only way I can describe the feeling that I get when my medication is “off” and there is too much noise around me. This can be as simple as the television and dishwasher going at the same time, or my dog crawling on my lap when someone is trying to have a conversation with me. Sometimes, the only thing that I can think of is finding a quiet place, by myself, and try to regain my thoughts.

“The blahs” is what I call it when am lacking motivation to do the things that I once loved. Like going to the gym. I used to love going to the gym, now I just kind of feel “blah”, I don’t really have the drive to go. I feel impartial. Apathy is the correct term, but my lack of excitement just makes me say “blah”.

If there are too many people around me, I almost feel like I cannot breath and that everyone is looking at me. I am in a state of panic, like just getting out of the room or into my car is the only way to stop this sensation. You begin to second guess everything that you say, or any facial expression that you make. Now I can see why they say people with Parkinson’s can become recluse and antisocial! Netflix and my couch becomes a safe zone.

My symptoms are always changing

You must understand that this is just a slice of what my Parkinson’s feels like and this can change every hour. When people say “You don’t look like you have Parkinson’s disease”, I want to hug them and then at the same time push them in front of a car. Hey, don’t judge me! Blogging is about being honest.

The fact that my symptoms are always changing can be a blessing and a curse. It is nice that when my medications are on and my body is balanced. I can appear as if I am just as normal as the next attractive, smart, funny, witty… (sorry, I lost my train of thought) girl. But when I am off, I am not only trying to hide my symptoms, but I am failing miserably. Hope this gave you a small glimpse into a day in the life of a Parkie.

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7 comments on “Parkinson’s: Not Your Grandfather’s Disease

  1. big_puppie says:

    There are good days and bad days for all of us. I have learned the difference between a day intermingled with quiet focus or meditation, and one fraught with non-stop task after task as I use to do years ago while enjoying my to-do laundry list.
    Now, refuse to feel guilt when my body won’t cooperate. I am determined to maintain peace in my soul even through the pain.
    Most I miss being around people and having a “real” job. My dogs are my daily companions. I am thankful to be in a safe place where they can be with me.
    Thank you, Allison, for sharing your journey. PD has a way of stripping us down to what is truly important for that moment in time.
    Peace be with you, friend.

  2. Allison Smith author says:

    Thank you for your kind words Donna! You made my day!

  3. Donna Miller moderator says:

    Allison, this was a great description of apathy and the inability to think in noise-filled or people crowded spaces. I also have to have perfect, uninterrupted time to do anything like balancing our financial records – anything that requires my concentrated attention. Your blog above made me feel like “Oh yeah! She gets it!” Thanks for your great post’ ~ Donna, ParkinsonDisease Team Member

  4. rsutcliffe1 says:

    Alison, Great article. My tremors caused me to rate it one star. It’s a FIVE. I share your feelings.
    They need to fix that star rating system.

  5. Allison Smith author says:

    Happy to hear that you enjoyed my article. Thanks for your comment!

  6. rqfenn says:

    Hi Alison, You hit a homer! I’m always surprised (but shouldn’t be) by the variety of symptoms that ebb and flow (I’m posting this from our beach house) – aha! I’m a snowflake on the beach.. Thanks for your insight, it helps me say what PD does when talking about it with ‘normies’. Cheers, rq

  7. Allison Smith author says:

    A snowflake on the beach? I love it! Happy to hear that you enjoyed my post.

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