Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s can be a frightening and devastating experience. Living with the disease is a challenge that can bring out the best and worst in us. Like any difficult situation that life throws at us, learning to defy and manage Parkinson’s is often frustrating and nerve-wracking, but it can also make you more resourceful and discover a strength within you, you didn’t suspect you had. Some people don’t cope very well with Parkinson’s but after a while, most patients learn to maintain a good quality of life for many years and even inspire others with their courage.
Before learning to cope with Parkinson’s people go through varying phases of shock and anger. Some people try to cope by pretending the problem isn’t there and some become hopeless and depressed. Most people, however, eventually learn to cope in their own way. One way of feeling more empowered and in control is to learn more about the disease and the various strategies, medical and non-medical, to better tackle the symptoms.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s often fluctuate during the day. So, if you are affected by Parkinson´s it becomes more important that you are able to pursue your interests, whatever these might be, at the times of day that you feel at your best. Some people even find that laughing at some of the awkward situations that Parkinson’s can cause is one of the ways they can better cope. Whatever your strategy for making the most out of life, it is always important that you try and communicate as best you can with the healthcare professionals helping you, as well as your friends and loved ones.
For those around you, the impact of the disease is also testing and it can strengthen as well put a strain on the relationship you have with them. Learning to live with others, without Parkinson´s getting in the way is sometimes difficult. When emotions run high it becomes more difficult to maintain an open and calm communication. Children tend to be better at this, but adults find it more difficult to be spontaneous and candid. Hence it is common for adults to waste too much time and energy in keeping their thoughts and feelings to themselves, which leads them to make wrong assumptions about what the other person might feel or think. This well-meaning attitude that we tend to adopt as a way of protecting others by not saying the wrong thing can, in the end, backfire by creating barriers and building up resentment.