Seven years ago I was officially diagnosed with my Parkinson’s, without going into my full story it would suffice to say that it was not a good time in my life. The days were mixed, with about 80 per cent being days of rejection, denial, and why me? What I didn’t know then, but found out later was I had been living with a number of early Parkinson’s signs for some years before my diagnosis, I had lost my sense of smell and taste, my muscles were stiffening and I was being treated for stress(which I now accept was depression).
Before the onset of my Parkinson’s I would never have associated myself with Depression, I was stressed from time to time, but I always put this down to work problems. As my Parkinson’s progressed so too did the frequency of my bouts of “Stress”. After some time of trying to cope alone I was referred by my GP to a Psychiatrist on the basis that I required specialist help to sort a medicine regime that would help me to cope better. This worked well for a while, until things started to go wrong for me. My depression was getting darker every day, there were so many different ways that I was being tormented in my mind, at times I would be confused, not able to make a simple decision like where things should go in the house, I was sad and alone because I didn’t know how to let others near me. There were bouts of dark depression where I would be in total darkness, no light anywhere so I froze, sometimes my head felt as though it would explode, during these times I would withdraw, go to bed and not eat. I would sleep day and night but never felt rested, I was constantly tired. Finally I could cope no more, the dark days were coming closer and closer together, my thoughts were darker and I could see no end to my state of mind. Then just after New Year 2013 I spoke to my Psychiatrist and he arranged to have me admitted to hospital, I was a patient there for five weeks.
It was during my stay in hospital that I learned about myself, I learned that I was a good and lovable person, this was for me the start of my journey to wellness, I learned techniques that have helped me to cope better when life goes against me. I have learned how to share myself, and most important I have contacts if things start to go wrong. At home my family are great they now watch out for any signs that I might be slipping back into my old ways and they feel free to let me know.
I still have Grey days but with the help of the many hand-outs and notes from the hospital, and the fact that I now can talk about being depressed, I find it is not as difficult to cope.
If you read this and can identify with the Stress – Anxiety, the first thing I would urge you to do is to go and talk to your GP or contact Outpatients at your nearest hospital, and take the first step towards your wellness.
About the Author:
Paul CareyPaul is 69 years of age, he has been married to Dolores for 44 years. They have two daughters, one son and five grandchildren; three granddaughters who live in Chicago and two grandsons who live quite close to him and have a habit of reminding him of his age when he minds them! He is also a member of the Move4Parkinson’s Voices of Hope choir, which he says has given him a new lease on life.