I think life is about balance. There are always going to be ups and downs in life. I used to wish for things to be easier – to have less struggles, and for things to be more comfortable. I’ve grown to realise that the struggles I’ve been through are just as important as the comfortable times.
I believe that experiencing difficulties has helped me to appreciate the good things in my life. For example, at one point I was working for an organisation which didn’t suit me. I found it extremely challenging and stressful. However, because of that experience, I am now much more appreciative and grateful for the organisation I work for now and the colleagues that I work with. In my current workplace, although we face many challenges, I feel inspired, supported, encouraged, motivated and positive. I therefore feel I am able to make a much better contribution to the organisation.
It can be easy to take things for granted. When those things I used to take for granted were taken away from me, it wasn’t easy to accept. I now have less energy than before. Everyday tasks which I used to do without a second thought are now more difficult – even with my meds – such as writing, typing, washing up, chopping food – the list goes on. Like many people living with Parkinson’s I have many varying symptoms and life is not the same as before. But I believe it’s made me appreciate what I do have more than ever.
Living with the different challenges of life imposed by Parkinson’s, has pushed me (unwillingly at first) out of my comfort zone. But stepping out of that comfort zone has enabled me to grow, and achieve things I never thought I could. I’ve grown stronger and more resilient – these changes don’t happen without overcoming challenges and sometimes going through uncomfortable times.
Some days are really difficult, and it’s hard to stay positive. I’ve learned that it’s okay to feel that way sometimes. What’s important is that I don’t stay in that place of doubt, fear, self-pity and negativity for too long. If I find myself feeling that way for more than a day or two, I try to focus on the good things in my life and to push myself out of that place – before negativity gets a grip and drags me down. I’ve been there (some time ago) and it’s not somewhere I want to revisit. That’s why I harp on about gratitude and resilience a lot. I really believe that learning to be more grateful and positive has made me more resilient. And so, I now cope better with challenges that come my way.
Adopting a grateful and positive attitude to life takes time and effort, and is not without its difficulties. It’s a way of thinking, feeling and living. And it’s my way of getting through the down times, and truly appreciating the good times. For me, it’s the right balance.