Imagine for a moment that you have something important to say. You want to choose your words carefully because you want people to understand your message, and as you wait for your moment to contribute to the conversation a three-year-old sneaks up behind and starts tugging at your trousers. At first, the tugging is just an annoyance, and a simple “please stop” restores order. But sometimes the tugging actually starts to pull your trousers down and you struggle to keep your mind on the task at hand. You notice that people are watching you for the wrong reasons. They are patiently waiting for you to finish or start your message. They see the tugging. They are watching the tugging. But nobody is stopping it. Or you are typing a simple email but someone keeps tapping keys you don’t want and closing applications in the middle of things. That’s Parkinson’s. That’s the way the tremor works.
I could go on … but I won’t. As a person with Parkinson’s, I balk at the suggestion that I have a disability. But Parkinson’s is certainly disabling. Not long ago I wrote of the positive benefits of martial arts and I can see that my engagement in Taekwondo has slowed the progression of my experience, but it hasn’t stopped and I am now at the stage where I need to concentrate hard for fine motor skills. I have a constant feeling of agitation. Even when I don’t have the tremor, I have a sense of free-floating anxiety; sleep disturbances; choking on my food; feeling faint when standing, losing my balance when I turn quickly …yes the disorder has begun to take hold.
Sadly, the thing that was slowing the progression is now interrupted. My capacity to engage in martial arts is severely challenged. But I’m not depressed. I’m not defeated. I haven’t lost my faculties.
Let’s check in on this thing in another few years!
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