Parkinson's Disease - incurable, chronic, and progressive. The "What Ifs" can be a lot to worry about - body failure, job loss, financial ruin, vivorce, dying in a nursing home. Looking like one of those people in the neurologist's waiting room, dementia, taking medications forever, DBS, becoming a burden to family. being unloved and unloveable.
ODAT. One Day At a Time. It's simple but not by any means easy. Not a buzz phrase but a way of life that has made a difference for incalculable numbers of people. It is reflected in the Sermon on the Mount "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself" and words attributed to the Buddha "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ODAT.
When an individual is first diagnosed, it is natural to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation. Fear is understandable. Most people with Parkinson's attempt to regain their footing by seeking information and there is a great deal out there. More than any single person could reasonably absorb and make sense of. Much of the information is anything but rosy and there is a sense that the days ahead can only be described as dire. It is just overwhelming.
ODAT. Anxiety is a given when anyone looks through the jumble of the days ahead and forgets that everything in this day can be managed. All of the immediate concerns of any day can be managed. Assess what is happening at this moment and rise to meet it.
Mark Twain noted "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." The future is inherently indeterminate in spite of our best efforts. It stretches before all of us with as much threat as promise. Jobs security is tenuous and supervisors can be capricious. Retirement funds can tumble in value more rapidly than they grow and home equity is not a stable entity. Our children make life decisions that cause us to lie awake at night. Our bodies age and organ systems falter. It is impossible for anyone to stop the aging process and ultimately we all die. These fears apply as surely for individuals with Parkinson's as they do for every human being presently above ground, drawing breath. It is easy to forget this when your neurologist says you have Parkinson's Disease.
At the moment you feel most powerless, most out of control, it is incumbent upon you to take charge of the only thing over which you truly have domain: how you respond to the moment.
ODAT. Deal directly with symptoms today. Compared with yesterday, your disease is not noticeably worse. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Do something that gives you pleasure. Do anything but fret about where Parkinson's disease will take you when you extend your outlook one day forward.
Not easy advice for anyone to follow but ultimately this is the only way to manage all challenges life presents to us.