There is much wisdom to be gained from exploring the symptoms of an illness; I used to curse Parkinson’s for disrupting my life, but I now understand that it was just my body’s way of communicating with me. My unbalanced lifestyle was the offender, not Parkinson’s! I was forced to change the way that I was living, and I am now a very different person compared to when I was first diagnosed.
If I want to heal, I believe that I need to communicate with my symptoms, and until I learn what lies beneath each of them, they will not be going anywhere. If my body is trying to get my attention, I need to reflect on what it wants me to change. There are too many symptoms for me to explore in a short blog, but I have selected just a few to illustrate my point. So, here we go:
Parkinson’s causes in-balance, and my body always reminds me when life is out of balance as my symptoms tend to worsen. I am a control freak, and so was given an illness that made me lose control. I am a perfectionist, and consequently I lost the ability to do things perfectly. Is Parkinson’s protecting rather than attacking me?
I believe that my rigid body is telling me to relax and go with the flow. I am not someone who finds it easy to loosen up, and my tight muscles are a reminder that I have been living in a state of constant tension. My hands clench into a fist when I am stressed, it’s as if I am gripping on for dear life, and so I need to let go of to-do lists and pushing myself beyond my limit. My heavy limbs are clearly asking me to lighten up; and if I start to relax, they may decide to join me. My symptoms are screaming out that it’s time to unwind and let loose!
There are times when I find it very difficult to walk, especially when I have not allowed myself to get enough rest; my dragging leg is letting me know in no uncertain terms that I am still veering off the track to recovery and not moving forward. My feet are unstable because I am, they are not grounded because I am not; and so, I need to take the appropriate steps to get back on my feet. Despite the many changes that I have made, my legs are showing me that I’m still not moving in the right direction to the extent that is needed, and when I don’t slow down, they will step in and make me do so. Hurrying about is what got me here, I was even in a hurry to get Parkinson’s, and so my body has now made it impossible for me to rush at anything. Even my shallow breathing is telling me to stop and catch a breath. My body might just want me to know that I am still stuck in the same old rut that got me here, and I will be able to advance when I stop going back.
I absolutely believe that my brain is begging me to bring more fun and laughter into my life; it has stopped make enough dopamine to meet my body’s needs, this chemical has many functions, including creating feelings of pleasure. I therefore need to start making my own dopamine by doing more things that make me happy. Laughter can increase dopamine concentrations by up to 50 times; it’s clearly time to take life less seriously.
Old habits are hard to break, but if I stay stuck in my old ways, I will never progress. I believe in addressing the cause as well as the symptoms, and my body did me a favour that I refused to do for myself. I am trying to continuously observe my symptoms and reflect on what my body is asking me to do. I have immense respect for my body’s innate wisdom, and so I must make listening to it a priority.
Is your body also trying to tell you to make changes? What are your own symptoms communicating to you?
Healing is not linear, and it is a lifelong process. Very often I take one step forward and two back (literally), but I keep showing up and doing my part. My symptoms will always flare up when I slip into old habits, and so, I need to question each part of my lifestyle and every choice that I make. It’s time to rebalance and leave behind self-destructive habits. As far as I am concerned, healing is on its way; I trust in my own ability to heal myself. I will not be healed overnight but I am certainly laying the foundation to do so…