FEBRUARY 18, 2019 Sherri WoodbridgeBY SHERRI WOODBRIDGE IN COLUMNS, JOURNEYING THROUGH PARKINSON'S DISEASE - A COLUMN BY SHERRI WOODBRIDGE.
We have all heard of them, and many of us, in one way or another, have encountered them. Some of us (hopefully, with regret) have been one. Who am I talking about?
They intimidate us and physically hurt us. They embarrass us, taunting us with their words. We fear that they’ll defeat us.
What do bullies have to do with Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s is a bully with a capital “B.” It teases and taunts us, telling us that we are no longer useful. It tries to convince us that we no longer serve any purpose. This disease can tempt us to give up, to surrender to its cruel clutches.
Embarrassment is one way Parkinson’s tries to steal our dignity and pride. And it often wins. We forget as we struggle through each day that others don’t understand us: our movements, speech, and forgetfulness. We can take those misunderstandings personally.
Drooling, shaking, a quiet voice, and a masked face are symptoms that may have become “natural” to those of us with the disease. But no matter how “natural” these have become, we’re still embarrassed by them because of others’ reactions when we’re out in public.
Parkinson’s whispers its ugly lies, saying you are no longer of value
If anything, you have more value. You have developed an empathy that many others don’t possess. You can relate better to those who are battling other diseases, those who are in pain, feel alone, and need hope. People who are fearful receive your undivided attention. Of course, having this disease may not be your preferred method of acquiring such character traits.
In a recent documentary video on Facebook, television host and producer Mike Rowe said, “To feel bullied is to feel helpless.” While Parkinson’s disease is a bully with a capital “B,” we don’t need to feel helpless. Instead, we should feel hopeful. Why? We are becoming better and strong enough so we don’t allow Parkinson’s taunting to get the best of us. And for me, that’s a huge plus.