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.
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!
A few weeks ago I started waking up in the middle of the night feeling a bit panicky. It was due to some tightness in my throat [causing me to want to swallow repeatedly] and my tongue sticking to the top of my mouth. It was making think I might suffocate. I knew it was nothing serious [I wasn’t going to suffocate], but still, it was really starting to play on my mind… freak me out! I think it was triggered by the medical marijuana I was taking, because I was also feeling a lot of emotional upheaval during the day. I was getting to the point where I was scared to go to bed. I was doing everything I could to make the feeling go away, but it wasn’t working!
Thanks to a recent conversation with a friend, I had an epiphany about my experience with this neurological condition. I realized that I have been spending far too much time thinking about the symptoms I experience; wanting not to experience them.
You’ve probably heard the story of Thomas Edison’s quest to create the light bulb. I’m paraphrasing here, but supposedly Edison tried many, many times unsuccessfully to create the light bulb before he finally did it. When asked if he ever felt like a failure, Edison responded by saying, “No, I just discovered 1000 different ways not to make a light bulb.”
In my quest to understand and dissolve the fear that led to the neurological condition I am experiencing, I continue to receive new ideas and perspectives that will eventually lead to a breakthrough and recovery.
It seems that I have come into this life to immerse myself in fear. To know it intimately. And I suspect, at some point, to overcome it in order to enact my innate self-love and recover my health. My childhood years were characterized by a culture of fear. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I was scared all the time. What scared me most, was that people would find out just how scared I was, because I put on a brave front.
Although this is all behind me now and I understand the purpose of my experience, I would love to have had the conversation below with my father while I was growing up. This dialogue is meant to be a script to help me retrain my mind and remap my brain in order to let go of fear. I hope you find it helpful and I urge you to keep reading it everyday, as I will be. I expect that I will be updating it as I receive new ideas. I wish you fearlessness and good health!
This morning I realized I have been feeling a lot of apprehension about living here on Manitoulin Island this winter. It’s the same sort of angst I was feeling about moving here in the first place and it seems to have crept up on me unwittingly. Then I was concerned about moving 6 hours away from my family, living in isolation on a lake 15 minutes from town, by myself for two weeks of the month. So far, it has been great!