When you find out that you have a chronic progressive illness, there comes a point when you have to decide who to tell and then how to tell it to others. I guess there are many ways to do so with each one having advantages and disadvantages:
1) Dramatic Style – this is where you either vocalize or write in dramatic fashion how you are “fighting your greatest battle” or mention some horrible future possibilities. You might think that you are not doing this for sympathy but to educate, but the payoff is having those who hear it either admire your bravery or run for the hills.
2) The Public Media Way – so like a major celebrity, you tell everyone about your diagnosis in a statement to the public using a fashion such as social media outlets (i.e. Facebook or Twitter), can be combined with drama style above for added effect. This can also be the way to do it if you plan on being an advocate or want to get education out there and inform people quickly.
3) Top Secret Information – you tell one person at a time on an “as need to know basis”. After all, some people don’t need to know but some need to hear it as your condition may impact their lives.
4) My Little Secret – you decide not to tell anyone and make great efforts to cover up your symptoms. You are a private person and this is a private struggle. If someone you care about keeps questioning, you may break down and do it as in #3 above.
5) Drip Drop Dissemination – you leak out your diagnosis to small groups or individuals at times (but different than #3 above) because you have reasons (i.e. family first, then my boss, then those whom I trust at work, etc.).
Now, I tried to be humorous in the descriptions above, so please don’t be offended. Trust me, I debated each of these ways and the end result seems to be a combination of all of them in how I have been approaching it. I am careful though as I want to avoid #1 if I can avoid eliciting sympathy (that is not my personality) but will probably do #2 eventually – after I get tired of telling people by going through #3 and #5. I really considered #4 but my symptoms of Parkinson’s are getting too obvious.