Living with Parkinson’s presents many challenges in day-to-day living. Most days, you get through just fine, in spite of PD. You rise to the challenges with a smile (or frozen smile) on your face. But some days it becomes overwhelming. You haven’t slept well for days, or maybe even weeks, your brain is fuzzy, your muscles are stiff. And you feel like s**t. Getting dressed to go to the gym takes too much effort. Actually, the thought of getting dressed to go anywhere takes too much effort. You know you will feel better after a workout, but you just can’t get motivated to go. You’ve been up since 5:00 am and suddenly it is 9:00 am. You have done nothing except check email and play games on you iPad, drinking cold coffee, and you have missed that class at the gym that you really needed. So now what?
You wait for your meds to kick in, hoping that you don’t have to wait for the second dose of the day to feel better. And you wonder what a day without Parkinson’s would feel like. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to set the alarm on your phone to remind you to take those many pills you have to take throughout the day? Even better would be to have a week, maybe even two weeks in a row, with no doctor’s appointments. It seems that the majority of your time is spent taking care of yourself just so you can get through the day. You can’t even remember what it felt like to to be “normal”.
Last week I had one of those days. Coincidently, I happened to have an appointment with my therapist on what was a pretty bad day for me. I was slow in recovering from a trip back east. Too much food and too little sleep. My mind and body were not working. And it showed. He told me that we should not feel guilty for staying home all day eating chocolate and playing games on our iPads, (or whatever it is that will make you feel better). It’s ok to stay in your pajamas. And furthermore, he said it is ok to NOT do the things you HAVE to do once in a while. So what would happen if I put off that doctor’s appointment? Skipped the gym once in a while? More seriously, what if I didn’t take my meds one day? That one I am afraid to do, but the decision to not get dressed and moving until noon occasionally is just fine with me.
So his advice to me was to go ahead and give in to it once in a while. Have a “Pity Party” and cry if you want to. Just don’t make it a habit.
*My apologies to Lesley Gore for mangling the name of her song. For those of you who who have never heard of her, Lesley Gore had a hit song titled “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” in 1963.