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Writing Is Hard — but It’s My Lifeline

writing

The other day, I filled out a form requesting my name and email address. It also asked me to check a little box. That was it. So I filled out my information and left the little box unchecked.

It took me about 37 seconds to fill out the form and ignore that little box. Anyone reading the form would barely be able to make out what I wrote, assuming they could make it out at all. 

Life slows down with Parkinson’s

I used to type around 40 words per minute. But my speed steadily decreased once I started having tremors. Who knows what my speed is now — probably 10 wpm, or maybe even less. It frustrates me because writing is one of my greatest joys in life. When I am not writing, I am thinking about what I will write next or what I am currently working on.

I enjoy writing articles, children’s stories, devotionals, inspirational stories, and so much more. But the going can be so frustratingly slow. My writing can even be full of errors and mistakes. I often have to go back and fix and fix and fix. 

I keep writing because I love to, and because, for some reason, I believe I am supposed to. Perhaps it’s because writing is therapy when I am weary over things in this world. Perhaps it’s because writing can (hopefully) encourage others. Perhaps it’s some other reason that I will never identify.

Struggling for control

I don’t struggle with tremors as much as I used to, thanks to my deep brain stimulation surgery, but I struggle to make my fingers work the way I want. They seem to have a mind of their own. Sometimes I want to throw the computer out the window, but writing by hand isn’t an option. No one would be able to read it by the end of the very first word. 

But I keep on. I have to keep on. I don’t have a choice.

Writing is a lifeline. It is a joy. I believe writing is a gift my God gave to me. He hasn’t asked for it back, so I will keep using it for as long as I am able.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Writing Is Hard — but It’s My Lifeline appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

A Word for the New Year

best

A huge part of bringing in the new year is buying a new calendar, a new journal, a copy of the book you have vowed to read, or a working scale — one that tips in your favor and not against it when counting those unwanted pounds.

The first days of a new year are filled with good intentions, great ideas, and go-get-’em goals. We tend to get excited about changing things, only to disappoint ourselves by not meeting those well-intentioned goals. 

I think keeping resolutions is more difficult for a person with a chronic disease. Each day is so unpredictable. When you open your eyes in the morning, you aren’t sure whether today will be harder, the same, or better than yesterday. Some days envelop all three states of mind.

It’s easier to keep one resolution than 101. While you may feel ambitious, one resolution is more realistic.

Failure

For a person with a Type A personality, making a list of resolutions is natural. But having Parkinson’s disease and being a Type A personality may be a recipe for failure. We want to make our list and check it off twice. We want all our ducks in a row when New Year’s Day rolls around so we can start out a champion. But by Day Four, we are tearing up our list and giving up — the ritual of years gone by.

One word

Several years ago, I heard about someone who chose one word that encapsulated the essence of what they wanted to change in their life instead of making resolutions. Not an easy word like “loving” — something more specific, more individualistic. Something like patience, forgiveness, or perseverance.

How often do we feel like giving up? What we need at that moment is the persistence and determination to keep moving forward. Perseverance.

Patience

And how often do we become impatient with our caregivers, or our caregivers with us? We often hear that patience is a virtue. It is a quality for which we should want to strive. We should practice patience whenever and however we are able. “To strive for the ability to accept trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset,” as Webster’s dictionary says. I would alter that by changing “getting angry or upset” to “staying angry or upset.” Patience can be endurance in a difficult situation, or showing self-restraint toward someone who is driving you crazy.

Forgiveness

We should also strive to practice forgiveness. Pardon others for the wrong they have done. Not because they deserve it, but because it is good for our health. It is healing. It promotes healthier relationships, improves mental health, creates less stress, lowers blood pressure, creates fewer  symptoms of depression, improves heart health and self-esteem, and builds a stronger immune system. With those advantages, who wouldn’t want to forgive?

Maybe in 2020 we should nix the list and find that one quality — that one word — to concentrate on for the year. Instead of making a list of 101 things we want to change but won’t, let’s choose one and accomplish much despite having Parkinson’s disease.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post A Word for the New Year appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

True Grit Is What It Takes

grit

It seems to me that the word grit is on the lips of many people today. It is old-fashioned, conjuring up memories of movies starring John Wayne.

Having grit means having the determination to stick to your goals despite setbacks and failures. You persevere. You set goals and you follow through. For those of us with Parkinson’s disease, that can mean taking our meds on time and with consistency. And not missing exercise class.

Angela Duckworth, author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” explained the concept in a TED talk:

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

But you may have doubts about a future with Parkinson’s disease. You may wonder why you should work hard and try to move forward when this chronic illness is moving you backward. Why try to take another step forward when you are on a downward spiral toward (more) misery, agony, and pain? How do you move forward with that kind of future as your probable reality?

Grit. This powerful word holds hope and strength. Grit is continuing to act even in the face of severe odds. It is choosing to live with staying power even on the toughest of days. Those days when you feel you may not make it physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.

Author and entrepreneur James Clear says that building grit comes with small physical wins. “Prove to yourself — in a thousand tiny ways — that you have enough guts to get in the ring and do battle with life,” Clear writes.

He adds that grit isn’t about inspiration or courage, rather, “It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.”

Living life by building (more) grit into it is to run straight ahead into our challenges and the adversity that life throws at us. Grit enables us to bear our burdens, including those caused by Parkinson’s disease. It allows us to press on when obstacles are thrown in our path. It is the medium used to refine and reshape our lives into something more beautiful.

I’m gonna get myself some of that grit.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post True Grit Is What It Takes appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.