Facts, feelings and beliefs

Before Oct 2013, I had a (mistaken) belief that Parkinson’s only affected older people.

Fact: 1 in 20 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are diagnosed under the age of 40.

I’ve learned that it’s important to distinguish between facts, feelings and beliefs.

“I have Parkinson’s Disease and it will get worse and I know I won’t be able to cope.”

Fact: I was clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in October 2013.
Fact: I had a DAT scan which confirmed my diagnosis.
Fact: Parkinson’s is a degenerative, neurological condition and there’s currently no cure.

I can’t change these facts, but how I react to them depends on my beliefs and feelings.

Possible belief:
It will get worse. I won’t be able to cope.

Feelings: I’m terrified, anxious, stressed and upset.

Outcome: I don’t cope well. My symptoms get worse. It’s a vicious circle. (Fact: symptoms are aggravated by stress).

Here’s my current belief:
It may or may not get worse. But if I look after myself – mentally and physically, and work on becoming more resilient, I believe I will be able to cope. And I believe I can live my life to the full, even though I have Parkinson’s.

Outcome (to date): I don’t get stressed about things the way I used to. I have good days and bad, but I am contented. And I am coping.

I now believe that I can and will cope in the future. And that in some ways is more important than the actual (as yet unknown) facts of the future.

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