Finding the bright side entails accepting that we will have bad days
Committing to positivity doesn't mean that we're always perfect
I truly love writing my column, “The Bright Side.” It has been a great way to chronicle my experiences as a mother, as well as a wife and caregiver to my husband, who has early-onset Parkinson’s disease.
When I was hired by BioNews, the parent company of this website, to be a columnist for Parkinson’s New Today, I was thrilled to share my personal recipe for a positive attitude about caregiving and daily life with Parkinson’s disease. This unique opportunity to help the Parkinson’s community was my chance to make a difference and hopefully support others battling similar struggles.
But, like all caregivers and patients, I am also human. I’m not going to pretend that every day is easy, and I’m not referring only to the demands of caregiving and Parkinson’s disease. Regular daily life, in addition to chronic illness, can be complicated, stressful, disappointing, frustrating, and at times depressing.
Although I try my best to overcome the challenges of everyday life with a positive attitude, some days, my mind just won’t have it. I can breathe deeply until the cows come home, but the anxious and unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach just won’t quit.
During these moments, I find it helpful to remind myself that feeling down, sad, angry, and negative is OK. At times, I recognize that being down is perfectly acceptable and normal. I allow myself a very short stay at my personal pity party, and then it is time for the Irish exit.
We keep each other going
When I’m having a hard time pushing through and putting a smile on my face or changing my attitude, I focus on thinking about my husband. Arman was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease before his 40th birthday, and yet, despite his diagnosis, he smiles, laughs, never complains, and lives his life to the fullest. If he can be positive through his pain and suffering, so can I.
Arman loves movies, particularly the “Rocky” series. He loves to quote memorable movie lines, and his favorite is from the film “Rocky Balboa.” During a tumultuous period in their relationship, Rocky tells his son:
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
The great thing about this quote is that it can apply to almost any situation. In the end, not every day will be easy, and some days will be harder than others. It’s OK to have many different types of feelings, and they may not always be positive. It’s perfectly normal to have a bad day. Just try your best to avoid letting that devolve into a bad life.
The best thing you can do is listen to Rocky and keep moving forward.
Do you relate to this column? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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.