Sometimes life just seems to throw constant challenges at us. I imagine many people have had that feeling.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four and a half years ago. This means that not only do I have to deal with these constant life challenges, but the everyday challenges of living with Parkinson’s – and the same goes for anyone living with a long term condition, whatever that may be. Symptoms and challenges vary immensely from person to person, but it’s still another thing to consider and work around.
Sometimes we have no control over some circumstances or challenges that life throws at us. All we can do is face them to the best of our ability at that point in time. However, I often find that I spend a lot of time worrying about these things. I’ve learned from experience that worrying / getting stressed just makes my symptoms worse. Parkinson’s is a very individual condition which affects people in different ways. I have several symptoms including: rigidity in my right hand/arm (which makes everyday tasks such as writing, washing up and buttering a sandwich a struggle), lack of energy and the most well known symptom associated with Parkinson’s – a tremor. When I feel my symptoms getting worse because I am getting anxious about things, I sometimes find that a good distraction can be helpful. It takes my mind off things (which I have no control over anyway) and sometimes this eases my symptoms. Maybe Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ had the right idea in remembering her favourite things such as ‘raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens’. It doesn’t solve your problems but it distracts you and can make you feel better (even if just temporarily).
One of my favourite things is singing. I’m grateful that I am able to sing in a choir. When I’m singing in my choir, I’m not feeling anxious or worrying. I’m focussing on the song, the tune, the words, keeping my part, listening to the other parts and thoroughly enjoying it. While it can be hard work learning new songs, it’s very rewarding too. Another great thing about singing is it’s supposed to be good for your mental health and for all sorts of conditions – including Parkinson’s. Yay!
While a distraction (such as singing) can be helpful at times, another thing which helps me is knowing that worldwide there’s a lot of work going on to support those of us with Parkinson’s and our families. You can do your bit by supporting charities such as Parkinson’s UK and helping to raise awareness – especially on World Parkinson’s Day (11 April 2018) #UniteForParkinsons
Thank you to my choir leader, Gitika Partington and all the members of my choir – The Bishopsgate Singers – for your support. Here we are uniting for Parkinson’s and singing ‘My favourite things’ (arranged by Gitika):