Starting the Day in Fear and Ending It With Hope

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by Lori DePorter |

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In a four-part audio series for Newman Catholic Campus Ministry called “Nothing to Fear,” the Rev. Mike Schmitz delves into several elements of fear: vulnerability, rejection, inadequacy, and the future. The series led me to ask, “How do we view fear?”

I believe many people see fear as something to face and conquer, not something that can end with hope.

While it’s true that facing our fears can make us stronger, there’s more to the story. Fear and hope are connected, especially when facing an uncertain future.

For those of us with Parkinson’s disease, or any chronic condition, we approach the future one day at a time. Our days may start with a fearful moment, but we do our best to conquer it and keep moving. The day becomes a series of little victories strung together, ending in hope for tomorrow.

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After diagnosis, our circumstances change. Our attitude and mindset change. We work on feeling comfortable with the new person we have become. We make the choice to live our best life. Many of us utilize support groups and programs that promote self-care. We find management strategies that work for us.

But despite our careful plans, we all have times when our fear becomes overwhelming. How do we keep moving when that fear is paralyzing? How do we reach that place of hope, and with whom?

Our support system plays a vital role in our journey. First and foremost, we have our family and friends. We know they will continue to support us. Yet thinking about the burden our disease may place on them can exacerbate our fear of the future.

Sometimes we need to look beyond our family and friends. We turn to our patient community and fellow Parkinson’s warriors — those in the trenches with us experiencing similar uncertainties and challenges. We all take turns “saving” one another from our fears.

As Cystic Fibrosis News Today columnist and BioNews Community Content Director Brad Dell wrote about a fellow rare disease warrior, “Chronic, terminal disease can be a decades-long dread, … I am weary from its burden, but that night, I see hers is heavier. Britt doesn’t need pretty words, sage advice, and distanced analysis — she needs a friend to share the load, a friend who has felt what she’s felt.”

For Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April, Parkinson’s News Today hosted the “30 Days of PD 2022” initiative, which featured a story from a different member of the Parkinson’s community each day. To my fellow warriors, thank you for boldly sharing your stories of joy, sadness, courage, and, yes, hope and fear.

While many of us still see fear as something to conquer, it’s important to remember that it can also help us find strength in one another — the strength to be fearless today and hopeful for tomorrow.

How do you view fear? Who or what is your source of hope? Let me know by commenting below or sharing in our forums.

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.


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