I started 2016, not with new year’s resolutions, but with a decision to focus on the word ‘bold’.
2015 for me had been about learning to accept my diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. During the year, I’d made a choice to work on becoming more resilient – so that I could cope better with any challenges life may throw at me – health or otherwise. The next step was stepping out of my comfort zone… being bold.
I took a few small tentative steps including:
- joining the Young Parkinson’s Network (YPN) and then Start Living Today PD (SLTPD) (a Facebook support group for people with Parkinson’s) – hesitantly at first posting the odd thing;
- taking part in a focus group looking at people’s experiences of being diagnosed with a neurological condition;
- and talking to my colleagues about my condition.
Each small step I took was met with a positive response. I was supported and encouraged by those around me – and those on the other side of the world (some members of SLTPD). Inspired by others living with Parkinson’s, I continued to take more steps forward.
At the beginning of the year, I also started a gratitude journal. This helped me to keep in mind, that however challenging living with Parkinson’s may be, I still have a lot to be grateful for. One of the things I am most grateful for this year, is that I have got to know so many amazing, inspiring, strong, caring and compassionate people living with Parkinson’s through SLTPD.
Now, I am proud to be helping to run SLTPD – coming up with ideas, implementing them and having others in the group take part in my projects. I’ve been so touched by the positive responses and feedback to these ideas. Given that I am naturally a fairly private, reserved person, I can hardly believe how far I’ve come. I never thought at the start of the year that I’d be helping to run a Facebook group with over 600 members worldwide, or writing a blog – and the fact that some people have been inspired makes me feel truly humbled. I never thought I could inspire anyone – which just proves that you never know what you are capable of until you try.
When I think back to the start of this year, I realise I’ve come a long way and made some huge strides forward on my Parkinson’s journey. I hope to continue being inspired by others in 2017. And I plan to carry on sharing my experiences – which I hope might help others in some small way.