The quality of our experience is largely determined by the quality of our thoughts! This is particularly true for anyone experiencing the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Generally speaking, if we have positive thoughts, we will have positive experiences.
But where do our thoughts come from? Where do they originate and what determines their quality?
One of the most frequent questions I am asked, is how to get off medication. Be it PD meds, anxiety meds or both, there is a genuine desire to be medication free, and thus, free of side-effects and the inevitable loss of efficacy of the medication … it is well-known that over time PD meds lose their efficacy, eventually becoming completely ineffective, the outcome of which is quite grim. Moreover, for the vast majority of people experiencing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and who believe recovery is possible, recovery will involve coming off medication at some point, and this too quite frankly can be a disconcerting prospect. It is akin to a drug addict going through withdrawal.
It has been two months since my last post on my journey experiencing the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Since that post, my journey has taken an abrupt turn!
When I was diagnosed with PD in 2008, I made the decision at that time to deal with it naturally. The neurologist who diagnosed me explained that the only way to treat PD was with medication. I said, no thank you. I felt confident that I could overcome the condition by healing the emotional root cause … the same way I had overcome food sensitivities and migraine headaches.
In a recent conversation, Mari and I agreed that the state of our bodies is largely a reflection of the quality of our thoughts. Yes, nutrition plays a role, as does chemical toxicity, exercise, stretching, relaxation and correcting physical trauma, but more than anything else, it’s our thoughts that determine whether our bodies are going to be in a stressed [fight or flight] state or a relaxed state, and thus, in good health or not.
In 1983, I joined a market research company. A few months into the job, I did a presentation to a client accompanied by my account senior and group manager. It wasn’t my first presentation. Every time I looked up during the presentation, my manager was feverishly writing notes, which I took to mean he didn’t like what he was seeing and I started to become unglued. It got so bad that at one point, the Eastern regional sales manager asked me to explain the numbers on a chart, and my response was, “I don’t know, that’s just the way they came out of the computer.” The moment I uttered the words, I knew I had blown it and the presentation went downhill from there. By the end of it, I was a total mess! Afterwards, neither my account senior or manager said anything, but on the way out of the building I declared to myself that I would never let that happen again. And for the next 23 years, I didn’t!
I recently made a similar declaration as it relates to my experience with the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s disease, really? The medical community, the Michael J Fox foundation and the various Parkinson’s societies would have us believe that it is an incurable, progressive, degenerative condition, resulting from the magical die-off of dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra portion of the brain. They would have us believe that there is no known cause, although they speculate it could be genetic, hereditary or the result of overexposure to chemicals. They would also have us believe that there is no known cure and that the best way to treat the condition [in fact, the only way] is with medication.
A few years ago [I don’t recall exactly when], I noticed that driving intensified my symptoms. Not long after that, I noticed that my symptoms got worse even when I was a passenger in the car.
Last week, I took a rather long driving trip to visit family and friends, including my mentally handicapped brother who is in declining health. Every day involved a significant amount of time in the car, including nine hours on day one and six hours on the last day.
To quote a well-used cliche, “I’m not gonna lie to you,” yesterday was a challenging day! I’m not quite sure how to describe it except to say, I was a mess … and I’m not much better today! My voice was very raspy [almost inaudible at times] making it very difficult for me to use speech recognition. My entire body was very tense. There was considerably more trembling in my hands and much more loss of balance and freezing. I was also feeling very irritable and my patience was really put to the test!
Let me begin by saying, even though I’m writing a post about anxiety, I thankfully, do not experience a lot of it. The situations that cause me to experience anxiety include speaking in front of a crowd, packing for a trip or being late for something. These situations are infrequent.