• This is a very difficult question to answer because it depends what stage of Parkinson’s the person is in and also how many additional complicating and co-morbid conditions are continuing concurrently.  During the “crisis” times when things get worse, or suddenly much worse, it’s hard to do anything but care for the person with Parkinson’s.  During the “quiet or down times” it could be a bit easier, but I find myself often waiting for the “shoe” or “other shoe” to fall.  People often are helpful during the crisis times, but not necessarily available during the quieter times.  So, for me, I’d like information on how people deal with their anxiety, stress, and prolonged grief.

    Obviously, the above doesn’t answer the question.  I can share what I tend to do now, but it doesn’t eliminate the sadness; rather often these strategies are only a temporary distraction.  However, to be fair and to try to answer the question, this is what I’ve done successfully so far:

    1. Listen to a lot of books on tape.   2. Got into a writing group.   3.  Pray and go to services and spiritual-religious study groups   4. Attend Parkinson’s and caregiver’s support groups  5.  Attend dance class   6. If time and I’m up for it attend lectures (one night) or short (1-3 sessions) craft-art classes.   7. Watch a lot of TV and fall asleep on the couch   8. Keep in touch with family and friends as much as possible.  9. Continue to work full time which can be helpful and stressful depending on the day. (Husband is in assisted living).

    Again, this probably sounds good on paper, but my anxiety, sadness, and grief is pretty constant.  I really have to work at quieting those feelings.  If anyone has other and better suggestions, I’m all ears.

    A friend put it very well.  He said, “First I though we had to stay ahead of this.  Then it became just trying to keep up with it.  Lastly, it was it is what it is.”  I think of that a lot, which sometimes gives me some comfort.  Thanks so much, Jeff (person who made the statement).

    Hope this was helpful.

    Corrie

     

     

     

    • Corrie,

      I’m currently experience anxiety, sadness and grief too. And I think that the hardest part about dealing with it, is that there isn’t a simple fix. It’s not like I can flip a switch and find immediate relief from the pain. But I do think that my every day choices can impact the intensity.

      Recently, I’ve been learning about the impact that the outdoors has on mental health. There’s a concept called “Forest Bathing” or “Forest Therapy”. The idea has been around for a long time. But Japan labelled it for the first time in the 1980s. It basically involves going out into a forest and taking a mindful 2-3 hour walk. Studies are starting to show that regular exposure to forests (and probably outdoor environments in general) significantly reduces mood disorders like depression and anxiety. But it also lowers blood pressure and even cholesterol. So, for whatever reason, re-connecting in the outdoors seems to offer a good way manage grief, sadness and anxiety.

      I’ve also read that researchers are beginning to suspect that there’s a link between the gut microbiome and depression. Meaning, what we choose to ingest can impact our mental health.

      I don’t know. This is a journey I’m on for myself too. And it can be tough to navigate sometimes. But maybe it’ll get easier if we keep trekking.

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