With Parkinson’s Disease, it is easy to imagine a scary future. No matter how bad things are now, you can always imagine worse!
Our mind has a built in “YouTube” that enables us to see “videos” of a scary future. We also know that the video(s) may be very realistic and plausible – then the fear strikes us. Our ability to predict and plan can be good thing at times. However, many times our own thoughts and feelings serve as obstacles to our coping with life, and these overpowering thoughts and feelings can and will often hinder our progress. I would go one step further and say that our thoughts and feelings often will bully us. Just like big mean kids on the school playground, these thoughts, feelings, and scary “videos” generated by our mind will often strike fear in us and possibly even tempt us into doing something unhealthy (isolate, drink, convince us to hurt ourselves, take things out on others, etc). It is very difficult to avoid “buying in” to some of these thoughts/images or directives from our mind and then it becomes easy to get overpowered.
These scary stories are very real to us and seem like objective reality – even though our thoughts are usually biased. Our thoughts are…well, just thoughts – just opinions. However, in the heat of the moment, we see our thoughts as objective and definite reality or think our predictions are going to be 100% accurate. Just like a biased news station covering a political event of the opposite political party, these thoughts/images of our mind are giving us “reality” through a lens of interpretation. What thoughts and feelings do you have that are serving as barriers to you and limiting or keeping you from doing healthy, recovery supportive behaviors in the present moment?
You may consider writing down a log or journal of some of the thoughts and feelings that you have that are keeping you from living the kind of life that you want to live RIGHT NOW in the present. Again, I urge you to remember that these thoughts may seem threatening and intimidating, but they are just thoughts and images. We often forget that we can actually do healthy behaviors no matter how loud the bullies in our mind get and no matter how much they criticize us, discourage us, AND despite how much they may tempt us to do something unhealthy instead. Be alert and ready for the thoughts and images to come – and keep an eye on them, but don’t allow them bully you.
Remember that we are only human, and sometimes we will get caught up in the scary stories and videos. I know that I sure do – my mind gives me the story and then it is like I am actually already there in that scary future – unwittingly allowing my bullying thoughts and predictions to bring me down. To help avoid being caught up in unproductive rumination, I often label these products my mind throws at me as being a “scary story”, and then say to myself something like, “Okay, here it comes again, the scary story of my future being a vegetable and having financial ruin for my family” or simply label it the “Scary Future Story” and find myself telling the bully – “Okay, that is possible – but right now, I have some living to do and I can’t allow myself to get too caught up in that story”.
Yes, our Parkinson’s is real, and yes it is progressive, but are you going to let it be that monster that tells you that you can’t do anything to make life better – or are you going to do something healthy despite it’s bullying messages?