Parkinson’s and the Mindfulness of Stress

____Eyes_like_the_Sun_____by_reKAYOH“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty,” -Albert Einstein

I keep a card in my wallet from the National Parkinson’s Foundation that list my name and address, family members to call in case of an emergency, medications I take, drugs I should not take and so on… On the back, it states that I have Parkinson’s disease which could cause me to move slowly and have difficulty standing or speaking. Now here’s the clincher and most of you will think I’m making a joke. Underneath the above statement, printed in capital letter it states I AM NOT INTOXICATED. Now why would it say this?

Parkinson’s is defined by two sets of symptoms… motor and non-motor. Motor symptoms would be tremor, rigidity, and slowness of movement as in walking in an imbalanced manner. Non-motor is depression, anxiety, and indifference.

The slow, head drooping forward, imbalanced movement, as though your head was in a race with your legs; the unbending facial expression, the lower in tone confused speech pattern… all of these are associated with the public either as a person with an unfriendly gruff attitude or someone intellectually challenged or more often than not, intoxication. But most would not guess Parkinson’s disease. 

I take medication to offset these symptoms or apparitions of a self I’m still not familiar with. But there is one think that can send me spinning into a world of deep-seated tremor. And we know it as STRESS. I call my tremor ‘deep-seated’ because my hand is shaking so fast it seems to dig deeper into my consciousness as all the symptoms work their way full force.  

So I try to control my little friend at every turn. If I’m traveling by plane I get to the airport ahead of time, my seating preference is the aisle in case I need to get up fast, I pay an extra fee so I can get on the plane ahead of others and for the most important reason… to be assured that I have a place for my luggage which is always carry-on so I’m close to my medication.

I make list so I can foresee the unexpected. For the unexpected causes stress which causes me to lose it. I do well with my list as I manage to stay on top of things; I’m making more of every minute of every day than I have ever in my life. However, it’s the small things, the unexpected that hurl me into the land of deep tremor and stress.

Stress with My Coffee

I go to my local Starbucks to do some writing. Now this is my local Starbucks where they know me. I order a coffee, plain bagel, extra toasted with butter. In mindfulness, you learn to listen to your intuition and that day I could feel the stress coming around the corner in the drive thru. I order my coffee and go sit down while waiting and set up my Laptop. Well they forgot about the bagel, so I go remind them, the bagel comes out and they have it with cream cheese, I go get butter, come back to my chair and discovered it was not toasted. By this time, my hand is shaking, my feet dragging my imbalanced frame, unable to say anything coherent. On top of this, I sense the world is looking wondering what is his problem. I want to shout with my twisted shaking hand raised up and say, “This is my problem!”

So I must ‘Om’ my way out of this stress. I go out to sit in the sun. You know, there is a tribe in South America who believes their sole purpose in life is to make sure the sun rises and sets each day. We call them primitive but aren’t we missing the point in this argument. This is the way of nature and it teaches what’s really important. Seek and you shall find! I’m back again and yes I did my part to help the sun.

Now I can handle the negativity in coffee and a bagel. I can think mindfully of stress and embrace it for what it is. I can handle curious people who don’t know how to approach me, so they may stare or look the other way. This is the reason for this blog… so everyone shall know if they want to. And I’ll give this address to anyone who wants to know. Stress comes from the unexpected, the small things and it’s all small things.

What do you think of stress and how has it affected your life or someone you know?


10 thoughts on “Parkinson’s and the Mindfulness of Stress

    1. A friend of mine told me to never go to Starbucks if there’s a drive-thru because the service inside is usually terrible. I will listen to that advice.

      And yes thank God for every new day! Amen…


  1. Isn’t it sad that people who do not act “normally” are assumed to be under the influence. I remember being guilty of this myself once. I noticed a “drugged up” person by a public toilets. Fearing for his safety, I asked a nearby policeman to check him out. The cop assumed drunkenness also. Turned out he was diabetic and my “reporting him” actually could have saved his life. I’ve been aware that I should consider other options ever since when I see a “drunk”. Nice post. Informative and a good read. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words about my writing, it is appreciated.

      Yes, I’ve been guilty too. Now I see the other side of the fence. And yes you might have saved his life. I guess there’s a fine line. I hope I have the wisdom to know the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And so far as stress goes, I try to use mindfulness to be aware of it arising, but it takes a quick mind to notice it arising in time before it takes over. By then I either have to bite my tongue and sit it out, sit quietly and watch the bodily sensations or express it and probably regret it later 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s the trick, to see it coming and catch it. To be above the whirlwind of stress. I can usually plan ahead but when it’s unexpected.. watch out! Have a good day… Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great blog post. A real insight into a world I know very little about. I read Michael J Fox’s autobiography and loved it. One of my favourite author’s is Terry Pratchett and I have watched many of his talks since getting the disease. Even with my limited knowledge I know that everyone’s experience of these things can differ greatly though and you give a very honest perspective. I look forward to reading more of your stuff. Vicky


    1. Thank you for your comments, they are very much appreciated!

      Yes, that was the first thing I learned to; each person with PD has their own unique story and outlook. And I hope my words can make a difference for others as well as educate.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A gentle lesson for all of us to approach stress with mindfulness. Isn’t amazing that it can take a drastic life change to force us to develop these tools? While I don’t manifest stress as physical symptoms, it definitely compromises my ability to think clearly and work effectively. Might the world be a kinder place if we could all learn to “Om” our way through difficulties? As always, thank you for sharing your journey. I appreciate this glimpse into your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.