By Jennifer Oldroyd, Contributing Author and Person with Parkinson's.
"Just like the family of a person who smokes can suffer from passive smoking, the carers of people with Parkinson's Disease suffer from “Passive Parkinson's”. If they still want to do things together they have to slow right down to accommodate the PwP. The question is - is this necessarily a bad thing? While we do not draw Parkinson's into our lungs, a negative way of looking at things can be infectious and negative thinking is stifling.
Thank you for your input, Gary. I don't feel so alone in my fight any more. I think our body is more cleverly designed than we give it credit for. It knows subconsciously when something is wrong and tries to fix it. Pain is simply an alarm that tells us something is wrong. It can be physical or emotional pain but who do we truly have control over? Only ourself. This is why stress comes out as OCD and worse. OCD is simply telling us that we need to change our habits to something positive and practise the new habits until we do them automatically. We choose the habit we use to replace the OCD.
After suffering a bad bout of measles as a child I would pass out every time I hurt myself. This, I presume, was my subconscious mind thinking oh, oh! I don't want to go through that pain again. According to the doctor my brain had learned to switch off. It's a survival thing. There are 3 options - Fight, Flight or Freeze. PD sufferers are 'survivors'. I am convinced that my Parkinson's began as fear of physical harm in my grandfather who was a medic in Gallipoli during the 1st World War, and then my father's fear of him. PTSD is still a little known subject but gives rise in the next generation to learning difficulties if left untreated. The BBC Horizon programme about PTSD showed that unconditional love toward the sufferer was essential from his/her family and friends and helping other people.
I overcame the fainting fits through will power and managed to stay conscious in spite of my brain trying to switch me off (conversely, is the difficulty in sleeping because our subconscious mind is telling us to stay awake in case of danger?) I got myself out of the loop then, so I must be able to get myself out of the loop now. We tend to disconnect ourselves from the source of pain according to how much 'tolerance' and patience we have built up over the years. Interestingly enough, the word 'tolerance' is an engineering term. Our bodies are engineered to a certain tolerance. Survivors have to be 'nervous'. If you jump at the least little thing you are more likely to survive physically than those who don't respond to outside stimuli. I think my body has had enough but my spirit is fighting to survive. Hence the short circuit and it will have to decide which side I'm on. Basically our spirit has to win so we all need encouragement as much as we need pills (or, dare I say, more than).
Gary, we have plenty to live for and many people to show that they can be in control. We need to exercise both our body and our mind. I'm sure my PD is trying to tell me that I'm not in control yet but I'm not a giver upper. Keep up the good work. As long as I'm around I'll keep on encouraging you from time to time because I believe you can help. Ignore anyone who is negative and believe in yourself.
Jennifer Oldroyd, October 2016.