Positive Self-Talk with Parkinson's
Last updated: March 2023
I have tried to treat myself with as much positivity as I do others. I talk to myself a lot to the consternation of my husband and son. They aren’t sure if I am addressing them so I have learned to talk in my head rather than aloud and have tried to treat myself with the same kindness as I would anyone else.
Noticing a negative internal dialogue
Recently I have been faced with several symptoms and issues and am undergoing a multitude of very extensive and unpleasant tests. I noticed that my self-talk has become very negative and I can’t even count how many times I began to say "I hate" to myself.
This is very unlike me, but it has crept into my internal dialogue daily. I also kept using "I can’t" when faced with a difficult task. This change was affecting my personality, making me negative and unpleasant to be around. I knew I needed to change my approach as I was starting to not like myself very much and wasn’t pleasant to be around. But what to do?
I made a list of all the negative statements I was using and substituted something upbeat that I could use. Instead of saying "I can’t do this," when faced with Parkinson's disease mobility challenges, I started sounding like Dora the Explorer and chanting, "You can do it" until I could walk down the hallway to the bathroom. When I got there, I congratulated myself with, "You did it!"
When my son has to lift me because I am completely immobile at the moment, instead of saying "I hate this" in my head, I think how fortunate I am to have someone so strong and loving that he is willing to do anything for me and what it must be like to have no one.
Changing my perspective
By turning my perspective around, everyone is happier with my outlook, especially me. When I have to succumb to a less than pleasant test I try to remind myself how fortunate I am that my medical team is trying to discover what is wrong and how to address it. That may sound a bit like Pollyanna but it allows me to reduce some of the stress and anxiety I feel.
Every day having to take a large number of medications had me saying, "I hate this," and sometimes putting it off. I do not take Parkinson's medications, and I have learned to be grateful that I don’t have to watch the clock or time my meals. I have the option of spreading them throughout my day, even though I try to take the same medication at the same time daily.
Be kind to yourself
It is surprising how much your self-talk influences your mood and approach to what is happening to you physically and emotionally. My mantra has always been that of the Dalai Lama, "Always choose kindness. Kindness is always possible." That includes extending it to yourself as well as others.
As another member of our community pointed out, "You can be hateful or grateful, bitter or better. The choice is yours." I will always choose the latter. If you find yourself turning negative, try replacing your self-talk with positive alternatives. Treat yourself with the same kindness as you do others.
This or That
Generally speaking, my self-talk is usually:
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caregiver) go to the pharmacy?
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