Reflecting on repetition, resilience and reality

A few years ago in my choir we sang Kashmir by Led Zeppelin … acapella in five part harmony. It’s a long song and was challenging to learn. I don’t think we quite perfected it. Five years later, and we’re singing it again.

Somehow it seems easier and makes more sense to me now – probably because I’d already learned it once and all the repetition we did years ago worked. Practice really is the only way – that’s muscle memory for you – it does work.

This year, there’s been a lot going on in my life. I seem to have had many challenges to face – some bigger than others – mostly not related to my Parkinson’s (though Parkinson’s does tend to make all challenges that bit trickier due to stress aggravating symptoms). Life has seemed chaotic and if I’m completely honest, there have been many moments this year when I felt completely lost and I have seriously doubted my resilience.

Recently I was reminded of an important lesson I’ve learned through living with Parkinson’s…

It really is okay to ask for help… Okay, I admit I need reminding of that more often. I don’t like to bother others – especially when I know everyone has their own challenges to deal with.

It was a particularly chaotic day at work. We were also supporting ‘Wear it pink’ day which I was organising. I got everyone down to our reception for a photo – but just as I went to take the photo, my tremor started and I knew I wouldn’t be able to take a clear photo. So I had to stop and ask for help. I explained that due to my Parkinson’s my hand was shaking and asked if someone else could take the photo. Immediately one of my colleagues stepped in, and it was over in a flash. I raised my usually quiet voice to thank my colleagues and remind them about making a donation. All the hard work and repetitive voice exercises I did during my four week intensive speech therapy (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) earlier this year, must have paid off, as I think I managed to speak loudly. (I think my speech therapist would be proud of me!) Repetition and practice works.

I doubt anyone else gave those few moments in reception a second thought, but they stuck with me. The rest of that day was equally busy and chaotic, but I felt calmer and more resilient. The reality is that life will no doubt continue to throw challenges at me, and there will be many times like these when I struggle with my symptoms. So I may need to ask for help. But that’s ok.

Learning to live with Parkinson’s isn’t easy, but I’ve had five years of practice so that’s a good start. Like learning a new song – even a long and challenging one such as Kashmir, repetition and practice helps. I’ve realised that every tiny step I’ve ever taken towards making myself more resilient, was good practice. Because even during those times when I doubted my resilience, it was there – I just didn’t realise it. I think all of us are stronger and more resilient than we feel at times. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder.


One Comment Add yours

  1. John Scotter says:

    A great thought provoking blog Angela. I can align with your experience

    Liked by 1 person

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