a woman asleep at the piano knowing your limits with parkinson's disease

The Repercussions of Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

Last updated: October 2022

Posy previously described how she performed at a soirée under difficult conditions. Here, she will describe her conclusions about taking risks. She wonders if she should still challenge herself to be the person she used to be before Parkinson's disease (PD).

The reward

The soirée was such a fabulous evening. It was a really gratifying, confidence-boosting experience. For Posy, it was especially wonderful after she had finished playing and could finally relax. She felt on top of the world.

She had taken her final pill much earlier in order to keep going through what would otherwise have been an off-time, but was suffering no ill consequences. Everyone sat outside in the beautiful gardens until late, enjoying the warmth, peace, and the company. Posy blushed at the compliments and met many fascinating people.

The punishment

So, what is the problem? What were the drawbacks of such an event for Posy? Well ... the fatigue! Posy dragged herself around like a sloth for the following 3 days. Her head felt like a block of wood. She could not get out of bed until most of each day had passed.

Every time Posy experiences these extended "off" days (always brought on by "too much" activity), she is convinced she will never recover. For those 3 unproductive days, she questioned her sanity for having allowed herself to be so incredibly busy for the weeks leading up to this event.

A sense of self-worth

Being "out there" and involved in music making gives Posy joy, a sense of self-worth, and keeps her brain alive. She loves to be with people and the challenge offered by performing at the soirée concert on a problematical instrument was obviously worth it!

Happily, the answer is not "just say no." Posy realizes that making music is what makes her tick. It fills her soul, gives her self-confidence, makes her forget her troubles, and gives her goals toward which she must keep going. It also gives pleasure to many other people. How lovely!

Recognizing our limitations

Posy beats herself up with disgust over her lack of incentive to exercise. She has to organize her day around any event, by waking up and starting her pill schedule at an appropriate time. This is because the day is fore-shortened by a finite number of doses. Proper exercise would almost take over her whole day. Even a walk (read: stroll) round the village can leave Posy wiped out.

Now that she is beginning to recognize her physical limitations, she hopes to be able to fine-tune her activities and to fit in some exercise! How does she manage to practice the piano when exhausted? How does she manage to stay up all night to finish writing the songs for an event and yet cannot fit in some stretches or squats? (Mind you, the knee clicking is rather off-putting!)

What happened to dance class?

When Posy was first diagnosed, she was still working. Six months later, she moved away, and retired. Her new home and lady of leisure status allowed her the time and inclination to drive 45 minutes, 3 times a week to her lovely health club for dance lessons. Her motivation was heightened by a treat: After each session, Posy and her newly acquired friends would chat over lunch on the terrace overlooking a lake. (Bliss!)

Sadly, this was not to last as Posy became too tired to drive. Then her husband retired early to look after he, so they could no longer afford the club anyway. Then it was lockdown. Zoom classes were tried and abandoned. Exercising alone was no fun!

Determined not to overdo it

Should Posy try to do a little less of everything she enjoys so that she can find the time and energy to fit in some exercise?

After the soirée, Posy was determined not to allow herself to be overwhelmingly busy ever again. She decided be less sensitive to "letting people down" when she has to pick and choose her commitments.

Most people do not see Posy when she is "off" and consequently, they have to take her word that she cannot do too many activities in a day or week. She must get a handle on this. As of today, she feels determined not to overdo things.

Scaling back

Since writing this article, Posy suddenly found herself, once again, fired with enthusiasm and committed to organizing rehearsals and composing songs for an event to take place in a couple of weeks! After a few days of composing round the clock, taking endless calls and answering millions of emails, Posy started to flounder.

In the nick of time, it was decided to streamline the event, so now Posy's input is more focussed on half, rather than all of it! Posy rose back up to the surface and is happily just busy, rather than an over-loaded, maxed-out nervous wreck all over again!

Has doing too much when you have Parkinson's caused you to "burn out?"

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

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