We all have a fundamental desire to help our loved ones, and this is particularly true of those of us with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Life moves along, and we try to advance with it. We are used to taking care of our responsibilities. But when we have Parkinson’s, the rules change.
I was trying to accomplish many things and not doing any of them well. I felt defeated in my job, and as a mom, daughter, and wife. I didn’t know how to step back and recognize my limitations. I had been taking care of everything for over 25 years and I loved it.
Now I find myself in unfamiliar territory. It may be a natural part of getting older or my progression, but I am not the same person. I can’t do everything that I could in the past. And accepting my limitations is not easy.
When my doctor suggested that I see a psychologist, my immediate reaction was, “No, I don’t need to.” However, she was right. I did need therapy, at least in the short term. While it is not for everyone, therapy has been beneficial when I find myself struggling. My therapist can make me aware of things that my friends, family, and others who are part of my everyday routine can’t see in me.
Talking with a professional provides a different perspective. And sometimes, having a fresh look at your situation can help you to get to where you want to be. Unfortunately, therapy is not always available, and people often avoid seeking this kind of help because of the stigma attached.
While my approach is still a work in progress, I have developed some new rules. I am sure that I will add more and you may have some rules of your own. With the busy holiday season approaching, you may want to give these a try:
- You don’t need to take care of everything.
- Know when to seek support.
- It’s OK to ask for assistance.
- Allow others to help.
Parkinson’s makes us feel helpless at times. However, it’s not just about us. What about the people in our lives? Do they feel the same way? Maybe playing by the new rules and allowing them to help us will make them feel more useful. We can see our acceptance of their help as a gift to them rather than a burden — something as simple as opening a car door can make all the difference.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.