A winning attitude, in my experience, is the single most important factor in recovering from any health condition. If you believe you can recover, take ownership of your situation and take the right steps, you will. But if you follow conventional thinking [that Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative, incurable disease], and leave it up to your neurologist, then in all probability, you won’t recover. You will simply spend the rest of your life managing your symptoms.
For me, a winning attitude is about:
- Believing I can recover
- Having an optimistic view of the future
- Taking it seriously from the beginning
- Changing my perspective … it’s not a disease, my body is out of balance [specifically, I have a neurotransmitter imbalance]
- Knowing that my condition [parkinson’s] has a purpose
- Thinking of it as experiencing, rather than suffering
- Filling my life with love
Believing I can recover:
From the moment I was diagnosed, I believed I could recover. This belief was predicated on the truth that if the body can recover from a cut or a broken bone, then it is capable of recovering from anything. The body wants to be in homeostasis. We just have to give it what it needs to recover.
Initially, my recovery strategy was mostly based on healing unresolved emotional pain and eating healthy foods. I used this same strategy to overcome migraine headaches. But over time and through experience and research, I learned that there is much more to healing a neurotransmitter imbalance than what I was doing.
I learned that I needed to detox my body, correct structural damage to my body and get really strict with my diet. I also learned about muscle memory and how it could be used to my advantage. Most importantly, I learned about the role fear plays in the development and progression of neurological conditions.
Even with everything I’ve learned, I have to admit there were times when my attitude and confidence wavered. After all, except for Mari, I was pretty much in this on my own. I wasn’t aware of anyone who had recovered their health. Then I learned about Bianca Molle, Howard Shifke and John Coleman. All three, and others [as I’ve learned through Robert Rodgers book, Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease], have made full recoveries doing pretty much the same thing as me.
Now I had proof that recovery was possible, and so I have complete confidence that I will fully recover … and in fact, I have already started.
Have an optimistic view of the future:
I see myself playing the guitar again. I also see myself standing in front of an audience talking about what I did to recover my health. And I see myself living to a ripe old age, playing with my grandchildren.
It is essential to have an optimistic view of the future. Victor Frankl cited this in his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, as one of the key reasons why he and others survived the concentration camps during WWII.
An optimistic outlook gives us hope and hope is extraordinarily powerful. It also helps eliminate stress, which in turn helps alkaline the body, and this is essential for healing.
Take it seriously from the beginning:
If there is one thing that I could change about my experience, I would have taken my situation more seriously from the beginning. It took me two and a half years to see a neurologist and another five years to get really serious about my recovery. I didn’t take it seriously because I lived in blissful ignorance. I confidently thought I could heal myself, without really knowing what I was up against. I thought Parkinson’s simply involved trembling. I had no idea of all the potential symptoms until I started experiencing them and watching them get progressively worse.
I don’t beat myself up for not doing more sooner. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have learned what I’ve learned if I hadn’t experienced it first hand. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have taken action immediately.
Change of perspective … it’s not a disease, the body is out of balance:
In September, 2013, I learned about Robert Morse through a blog reader. Morse is a naturopathic doctor from Florida whose philosophy is that we shouldn’t look at any illness [including Parkinson’s] as a disease, especially, an incurable disease. Rather, when we are experiencing any sort of health symptoms, it is simply an indicator that our body is out of balance. It has become acidic and full of inflammation. Our gut is unhealthy, our immune system is weak and our lymphatic system is clogged up. And these conditions are all treatable … naturally … and once treated [it may take awhile], the body will return to homeostasis and the symptoms will go away.
Morse’s philosophy made perfect sense to me. It is a very empowering perspective and again, it gave me more confidence that I would recover.
Parkinson’s has a purpose:
I believe all of our experiences serve a purpose. In the case of physical illness, it’s about our bodies trying to tell us something … that something is out of balance and we need to make some changes in our life. Perhaps we need to change our diet or our lifestyle or our thoughts.
For me personally, experiencing this neurotransmitter imbalance has been about learning and helping others understand the workings of the body, how it becomes unwell and how to make it well again. It has also provided me with an opportunity to let go of fear, anger and victimhood … and what could be better than that.
I believe Parkinson’s [and all disease for that matter] also serves a purpose for mankind. It’s meant to help us change the way we live: to eat healthier foods and to make peace, love [kindness] and joy our priority.
Think of it as experiencing, rather than suffering:
All too often, Parkinson’s is described as a ‘disease’ we ‘suffer from,’ but the truth is, it is simply a condition [characterized by specific symptoms] we are ‘experiencing.’ Suffering is something that occurs in the mind when we judge an experience as bad. [If you’re not sure about this, take me to the opera some time and observe all the smiling faces of the people around me who are enjoying the experience. Then look at my expression!]
The moment we say we’re suffering, we put ourselves in a position of helplessness and victimhood. Conversely, when we take the judgment of it and say ‘we are experiencing,’ we put ourselves in charge and that changes the experience entirely. The moment you believe you are in charge of the situation is the moment you know you can recover. So I believe, this ‘suffering’ versus ‘experiencing’ differentiation is an extremely important one.
Fill My Life With Love:
I will discuss this in detail in the post about letting go of fear, but in the meantime, I continue to fill my life with love. I made a list of things I love and recite it out loud regularly. I do my best to see the world through loving, kind, compassionate eyes. I do what I love. Adopting an attitude of love is one of the best things I have done for myself.
A positive attitude coupled with a healthy perspective is absolutely critical for the recovery process. Make this your first priority. Read Robert Rodgers‘ and John Coleman’s books. Associate yourself with positive like-minded people and keep in mind something else Victor Frankl said, “We don’t always get to choose our experiences, but we do get to choose our attitude about our experiences.”
In the next post, I’m going to discuss the next essential step in the recovery process … detoxification!