I spent much of last year really struggling with my Parkinson’s. At the start of this year, I turned a corner in terms of how I was coping with everything, and I decided to focus on hope. I made plans – I booked a trip abroad with my best friend, I joined a new choir, and I booked to attend what would have been the first Young Onset Parkinson’s conference in the UK. And then Coronavirus arrived and changed everything – and all my plans were cancelled. I was so disappointed, but it all seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
When I think of all the devastation, suffering and grief that COVID-19 has caused worldwide, I know that personally I have so much to be grateful for. That’s not to say that it has been easy – far from it. But for several weeks during lockdown, I felt that because the whole world was suffering – with millions of people being far worse off than me – I shouldn’t be struggling or complaining about my life. My Parkinson’s felt insignificant by comparison. But it dawned on me recently that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and to admit you’re struggling and talk about it – no matter what the challenges you face may be. If they are significant to you, then it matters. When I finally shared my feelings, I felt such a sense of relief. For the first time since the start of lockdown, I stopped judging myself, and I allowed myself to feel upset, sad and frustrated about my situation, without comparing it to anyone else’s. Lesson learned from lockdown – having a sense of perspective doesn’t mean constantly comparing myself to others and judging anyone – including myself. Living with Parkinson’s is challenging at the best of times, but we’re all now living in exceptionally challenging times during this pandemic. It’s more important than ever that we all look after ourselves – both our physical health and our mental health.
For information about looking after your physical and mental health visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/
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Thank you so much – I have felt exactly the same and have nothing like your problems so guilt was a big factor too. I have accepted I think that I can feel overwhelmed without denying that my problems are less than others. And accepting how I feel has made it easier to cope as I don’t always try to push myself so hard.
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What a wonderful and insightful post Angela! You are so right about the significance of admitting to yourself that it is OK to feel frustrated, sad or angry. Not labeling those emotions as good or bad can be sometimes hard and in my opinion we all need a little reminder of that. You did it beautifully, thank you. I look forward to your next post, keep safe.
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