Because it is a progressive disease, Parkinson’s gradually gets worse over time. It is possible to make PD worse in very short order however. Particularly when there is a Partner who is making the Person with Parkinson’s feel worse, without even being aware of it.
Posts tagged “Relationships”
My client is sad but composed. She has tried very hard to make it work out and is apologizing to me for “wasting” my time. My gentle admonition that any struggle to save a marriage stressed by PD was never wasted time brings a shrug. However, we are both aware there has been a shift in the work we have been doing. It is clear that our strategy will now be one of navigating through the shoals of guilt, recrimination, and grief that are inevitable when a couple needs to divorce.
Another marriage shattered by Parkinson’s.
Raising a teenager is a challenging and bewildering job under the best of circumstances. The task becomes even more complex when one of the parents is also struggling to make sense of Parkinson’s disease. The key to managing life as a parent with Parkinson’s is learning to recognize your teenager’s developmental needs then putting strategies in place for meeting them.
My last blog discussed the difficulty in making a transition back to the family home because of Parkinson’s Disease. In that entry, I discussed the relationship challenges such a transition entails. In this entry, I want to discuss the loss of independence.
In some ways our Western ideas about independence are a part of a devastating paradigm that produces unnecessary guilt when we must live with family. We equate a return to the bosom of our family as failure. We are relinquishing control of our lives.
You are really interested in someone. You have had a couple of dates with this person, and you know that you would like this relationship not only to continue but to grow. In a recent last blog entry (1/16/12), I cautioned about putting too much meaning into early dates. But there can come a time when it is no longer just a date.
I have been asked by several readers to discuss the topic of dating and Parkinson’s disease. I think it is helpful to start by thinking back to when we all first began dating.
Most of us remember well the awkwardness and insecurity the dating process produced during our early adolescence. From the multiple doubts about the possibility the person will say no to the worries that there will be nothing to talk about, dating was an anxiety-provoking experience for many young men and women. It strikes me that Parkinson’s brings back many of those fears we all shared.
Many individuals who acquire PD early in life are single. They may have been enjoying exciting careers, experimenting with life, looking for the perfect relationship or emerging from the least perfect relationship imaginable. The sudden emergence of PD can make being alone particularly frightening. All of us manage stress better when we are supported by a loving partner. The need to find that support can be a powerful drive, one that can cause a person to lose sight of why we date.
November is National Caregiver’s Month according to the National Family Caregiver’s Association. These individuals certainly deserve our attention and accolades. It is noteworthy, however, that the term “caregiver” often rankles individuals with young-onset PD. I don’t think this should be surprising.
Those who know me or have followed my blogs are aware that I do not like the term “caregiver,” particularly as applied to a spouse or partner who is simply following through on a relationship vow made when both were healthy. For them, “sickness and health” was a meaningful obligation. These are men and women of character who stand by their partner through the best of times and the worst of times. They do it without getting paid, often incurring a significant economic hardship due to a decreased presence in the workforce.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of heavens dance between you.
- Kahlil Gibran’s
Recently, my work with families touched by Parkinson’s has caused me think of a verse about marriage in Kahlil Gibran’s classic, The Prophet. Much of the stress and difficulty arising in the PD relationships can be traced to forgetting to “let the winds of heaven dance between you” (the partners). This failure is what therapists call emotional dependence.
Hey, let’s do the limbo rock
Limbo lower now
Limbo lower now
How low can you go
- Lyrics Limbo Rock
It is always nice to open a blog with the wisdom of the great philosopher, Chubby Checker. I have always loved to watch limbo dancers. It is fascinating to see the individual differences in abilities to wriggle the body under the suspended bar without knocking it over. One of my favorite limbo performers was able to slide under a flaming bar set atop two longneck beer bottles. It is a feat I could not even imagine myself doing. Following that limbo would be an exercise in frustration.
In addition to its irresistible alliterative value, the limbo provides a nice metaphor for libido. There are tremendous individual differences among individuals when it comes to limbo, some very high and some very low. Sexual desire can be described in a similar manner.
Although many people with PD struggle with decreased libido (sexual desire), it is easy to forget that many people who don’t have PD also struggle in this area. In fact, everybody’s libido can be fragile if the circumstances are right.
A feeling of sexual desire is a crucial aspect of sexuality. This means that sexuality itself can be quite fragile. The reasons for this are too numerous to discuss in one blog entry. I therefore would like to tackle this important subject over the course of several entries by asking: What influences libido?