Embracing Realistic Optimism in the Mess of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson's disease takes a toll on patients, their families, and caregivers
While I have talked a lot in my columns about staying positive and looking for the good in all situations, I want to reflect on this. When you live with a loved one who has Parkinson’s disease (PD), there is never a break from the illness, for the patient, the immediate family, or the caregivers. From the moment we wake up in the morning, our lives revolve around PD until the sun sets each night. And it starts all over again every single day.
Our days begin with medications for my husband, Arman, the constant stress of impending falls, the painful stiffness of every muscle in his entire body, issues with speech, and the extreme fatigue and brain fog he cannot fight off. Even at night, I attempt sleep with one eye open in case he needs to get up during the night, waiting to help him at any moment. Staying 100% upbeat can be a challenge at times.
Of course, it is easy to say things like, “I don’t dwell on the negative” and “I always keep my head held high.” But realistically, a more sustainable mindset would be, “There are significant challenges in my daily life, and they are here to stay. However, I trust that I have all the resources and tools I need to cope.”
Keeping the momentum going without an end in sight as a PD caregiver can be challenging. Especially when I start to think about the future of his PD and all of the unknown things that go with it. The quote, “Failure is not an option,” seems to apply here, as I know I will need to do whatever it takes to get through this. However, probably a better way to think of it would be, “The journey ahead may not be easy, and while I may make mistakes, I will learn all that I can along the way.”
I am genuinely an optimist in every sense of the word, and I have often thought that if I stay positive in every situation, all will be well. While a positive attitude is a must, it is also essential for me to keep perspective on the reality of our situation. I must continue to remind myself that my family is going through a lot, which takes a toll on us all. But I am confident that we are strong enough to get through this and come out the other side.
As a caregiver, I will continue to fight the PD battle with optimism, strength, courage, and hope. I will remain realistically optimistic, as I search for the bright side of everything.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.