I did promise that my findings from Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet would be up next but, response to my last post means “he” has to move back down the line, as the topic of anxiety mentioned in my last post hits pretty high on the agenda of those of us suffering from Parkinson’s so, I need to give this topic a little more air time.
Anxiety, the definition. A feeling of unease, such as worry or fear. Seems familiar? For me fighting this trait has not been easy and there are days when it still rears its ugly head but, many have asked how I overcome it and so here are some tips that help me.
First, a little history. I was the most confident, unstoppable person with life goals. For seven years I didn’t give my condition a second thought, the two years that followed became increasing difficult but nine months ago it took me over and six months ago, I temporarily didn’t recognise myself. This wasn’t because I have the worst physical symptoms because luckily I don’t, it was the anxiety, which robbed me of every inch of my confidence. So, how am I beating it and working towards normality?
Firstly, I am blessed by being supported by a life long friend whose determination to encourage (some days drag) me back to the woman I was is unquestionable and, I can never repay her for the time she has spent away from her own family whilst supporting me. My son has a different approach, tough love makes me get my act together but, knowing your loved and being willed to “get better” just isn’t enough. So, after much debate, trial and error, these work.
First, learn to breathe, “what” I hear you say but, I don’t mean exhaling in and out to carry out normal tasks. When I get anxious, normally when I’m against a time deadline, I take myself somewhere quiet, close my eyes, blank out my thoughts and inhale for 4, hold for 2, exhale for 4 and repeat. I can hear some saying to yourselves, “what rubbish” but, believe me, practise this regularly and calm will overcome your sense of anxiety each and every time.
Secondly, if you know a task is impossible for you, for me, plucking my eyebrows and painting my toes (trivial I know) but, tasks that make me who I am. Don’t even attempt them, cut them out and make arrangements for the task to be done for you, this way you are not even letting your anxiety take over by starting a task you know you will not complete. Understanding your triggers is critical in order for you to overcome them.
Next, concentrate on the things which give you pleasure, cooking for my son and friends, exploring my new love of yoga and Pilates and putting together the interior of my flat are all good hobbies that I give my time. Helping others with both their physical and mental problems also distracts me from my own and has certainly made me very humble, a word I didn’t really understand.
And lastly, this is the one I find most difficult, try not to dwell on the past, accept you are where you are, I know it’s dreadful being diagnosed with such a debilitating condition and no one can prepare you for how Parkinson’s will change your life but, I’m determined to get back to “not giving my condition a second thought” so accepting where you are is of the utmost importance. Comparing then and now I find only leads to having more off days than on.
However, this trait is still robbing me of my true character, but as I said a few days ago, I’m not ready to lay down, give in and never return to being the life loving blonde.
I truly hope this helps those of you who have contacted me and you see a positive shift in your own anxiety and confidence. Don’t let Parkinson’s rob you of everything, fight to keep you your own.