My Feelings on Being Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease
When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), my mind was in a whirlwind! My thoughts raced. How could this happen to me? Hadn't I been through such devastating trials and tribulations in my life already ... now this? Why is life so cruel? What's going to happen next?
In my career in the allied medical field, I am aware of the works of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who proposed the "Five Stages of Grief." After she died, her foundation, the EKRfoundation.org has expanded it to 7 stages, now known as the Kubler-Ross Change Curve.1,2
I related my feelings to the Kubler-Ross model and compared it to my state of dealing with being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Denial and disbelief
The 5 stages of grief according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These stages can occur out of order or may reappear at times.1
Originally, I experienced denial. When I heard the diagnosis from my movement disorder neurologist, I was shocked by the diagnosis. I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck! I was looking for reasons to support my disbelief.
I was angry
I was upset that things would be different in my life. Grief hit me due to losing my current lifestyle. Anger was directed inward for being in this situation. I was angry at Parkinson's disease.
The fact that there was no cure angered me. Why me? Why is life so cruel? What is going to happen next? Furthermore, this is not what I thought my "golden years" would be like. But, I realized that anger wasn't the solution to my problem.
I coped by bargaining
Bargaining was a coping mechanism for my self-directed grief. It delayed the emotions of fear, hopelessness, and sadness. For example: "God, I pray that if you heal me from this chronic disease, I will become more religious and will help others in need and will ..."
I felt that God heard my prayers, but the answer was not always in the affirmative. Sometimes, the answer was NO. I was frantically seeking a way that I would be cured of this cruel disease.
Personally, I felt that I needed to be Sherlock Holmes and find the missing clues that would solve the puzzle of Parkinson's.
I became depressed
I became depressed and overwhelmed. By the same token, my anxiety level was at an all-time high. My energy level decreased. In addition, my apathy increased and my hopelessness was elevating.
Not only, did I have diminished joy, but my depression was heightened by the impending loss of a life I once had. I was grieving my good health, which I lost. What would be of my life in the future? What is my purpose in life now?
I began living my "new normal" life. Furthermore, learning about Parkinson's disease has helped. This was a new situation for me, but I have always survived my life's slings and arrows that have been thrown my way. I am gearing up for the future road that I will travel upon.
Therefore, I will have to keep assessing the modifications I have made so far and adapt continuously to my future changing conditions. Ultimately, Parkinson's disease will not become the main character in the story of Marc.
Do you or a loved one experience micrographia (small handwriting)?