I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 6 years ago, and during that time, I’ve learnt a lot about this condition as well as myself. But probably the most important thing I’ve learned is how to live well with Parkinson’s. There are things I do that help me live a positive life; if I don’t do them, the chances of me having a bad day or feeling low are greatly increased. All the things I do come under the umbrella of “my routine”. Every morning when I get up I know exactly what time I will take my medication, when I will exercise and the type of healthy food I will eat. These are my essentials for living with Parkinson’s. I also have a couple of other resources in my “live well with Parkinson’s” toolbox that I can use should I need them, such as practising mindfulness or yoga. Last May though, my routine was altered because of a series of life events I undertook. These events involved quitting my job, travelling abroad for a month, getting married, going on honeymoon, moving country, finding a place to live and looking for work. All these things I did in the space of two months, the highlight being the day I married my beautiful wife, Amber.
During these two months, there were obvious highs but also some lows and personal struggles I had to overcome. Looking back, I can now understand that these lows came from my routine being affected due to all the things with which I was kept busy. I sometimes didn’t take my medication on time, I didn’t do nearly enough exercise and my regular food intake was changed. The result being my mood was affected and I became more irritable, impatient and fatigued. This is because Parkinson’s doesn’t just affect my movement; it also affects the way I think and feel. I wasn’t like this every day, but certainly, I noticed the number of days I smiled had decreased. This was particularly noticeable during the time Amber and I moved country and house. As anyone who has ever moved house before will know, it’s not exactly a stress-free activity and stress is something that definitely doesn’t help my Parkinson’s. Despite Amber doing her utmost to do as much of the work as possible, the stress got to me and I didn’t have my routine to fall back on. Consequently, we shared a few moments that are best forgotten! However, remembering two of our wedding vows about understanding and communication, we got through the move together.
Four months later, I’ve only recently started getting back into my regular routine and I’m happy to say the frequency of my smiles has definitely increased. This shows me that I am responsible for myself and how I choose to live my life has a direct impact on my Parkinson’s. As long as I choose hope and choose to be happy, my well-being is in my hands.
About the Author:
Andrew CurranDiagnosed with PD in 2008 at the ripe old age of 29, Andrew is from Meath, but lives and works in Dublin. He spent 6 years on and off travelling around the world, the highlight being an 8 month trip in 2010 where he circumnavigated the globe without flying. Leading a more settled, routine life now, Andrew has learned to accept PD and work with it, which allows him to enjoy life one day at a time.