When I first started this blog, I was in a place where I was determined to be optimistic and not gloomy.
Lately, I have noticed that my blog posts have been anything but cheerful.
Originally, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read this blog at all. I thought that if anyone did stumble upon it, he or she would probably have read all the horror stories on the internet about Parkinson’s and then desire to hear from someone whom he or she could point to who cheerfully fights this disease with courage and optimism.
Now that I am aware that I have recently strayed from this “keep it positive and optimistic” tone, I will admit that I am somewhat confused.
I have recognized by looking at my site statistics – that people around the world are starting to read this blog and look at my site. Do I have an obligation to be a positive light on the lives of those whom my blog touches? After all, nobody wants to keep read negativity for any great length of time, right?
Yet, this is my blog (I mean my experiences), and it would seem like deception to sugar coat a debilitating illness and paint a rosy picture of the future, when so far – for me anyway, it hasn’t gone so wonderfully. Should I keep it real? Yet, then I may risk scaring off some newbies that might have otherwise seen me as that “ray of sunshine” casting a favorable light onto their new path of their Parkinson’s Disease journey. Or – can I afford to allow myself to take readers with me through the valleys? Aren’t there other blogs out there that mostly keep it funny and humorous?
In general, I am optimistic. I have tended to write more on this blog during the overwhelming times when I needed to vent out of pain and frustration. I must admit though, that it is very tough for someone who has lived the life that I have, to be seen as weak. This blog has been the only place where I feel free to express a “this sucks” mentality, safely. I don’t want to be whiny and complain, but I also don’t want to pretend that there is sunshine and rainbows when there is some dark clouds above me.
Right now, I am going to say my goal is to blend – be realistically optimistic. Confused? Me too! Let me start with what I think I mean to say: I mean that maybe I can blend my optimistic nature with a little realism.
First off, let me say that having Parkinson’s is not the worst thing in the world. To paraphrase a quote from a member of an online PD support forum – PD is the “lesser of all horrific diseases”. There are other diseases that I would not want to have. I wouldn’t go as far as the celebrity we hear about and say that I feel truly blessed to have it, nor go so far as to say that it has positively changed my life – at least not yet. Having said that, PD has helped me be more thankful for what I do have. I do feel that each day is a gift. I take more notice of the things that I am able to do, since I now know that I may not (or probably will not) at some point be able to do the things that I am able to do now. Maybe, PD is a blessing – because with my awareness of my progressive illness, I can and hopefully will cherish each moment with others and do so increasingly as time goes on. Hopefully, I will handle this disease’s progression with kindness and be a guide who displays love and compassion and not become some cranky, cynical person who acts as if life unfairly cheated him.
Second, let me say that PD is unique for each person. Some people are able to work and function for many years after diagnosis without having huge life-impacting impairments. From what I can tell, my PD has progressed more rapidly than most others’ (and perhaps I could have more than just Parkinson’s Disease – i.e. like Parkinson’s Plus – an “add-on” condition like Multiple Systems Atrophy). Just because this disease has hit me hard, doesn’t mean it will hit everybody as hard and as fast. However, it is good for my readers to remember to be grateful for what you have now, as these things can be unfortunately taken from you in the future. Try to exercise, make effort to keep your mind & body active, and cherish (and be kind to) those around you!
It is easy for any of us to get caught up in life stress and not take time to enjoy the here-&-now. I will close by paraphrasing some words from a fellow PWP (Person With Parkinson’s), that maybe it is good to keep it simple and take time to recognize what truly matters, what you value and want to hold on to right now closely – and have some chocolate at hand! I hear it raises dopamine! Keep on!