I have been off work for nearly six months with Parkinson’s. Dealing with it, is like a full time job: fiddling about with endless blister packs of meds, admin around exercise classes, and frequent trips to see the consultant and/or the Parkinson’s nurse. I am more often than not in a complete muddle with all of the above.
Add to that a long list of symptoms that come and go like the wind: the stiffness in my fingers to aching leg to brain fog. Claw-like toes to whirling twirling left foot and twitchy left hand. It goes on and on.
All that said I feel calm.
For the first time in a long time.
This is quite a recent thing. Before Easter I had a bit of a blip (classic Englishman understatement), it wasn’t much fun but it proved to be a turning point. A week or so feeling sorry for myself, then a rather wonderful transformation - I was flooded with positivity.
And I am glad to say it still rinses my soul.
It helped all my negative self talk become positive self talk. I feel calm and relaxed, I am happy and while Parkies does its damnedest I don’t think about it as much.
That’s not to say that it isn’t there. Parkies has a funny way of testing one’s positive resolve, changes in how I feel happen frequently and unexpectedly.
I found hypnotherapy useful for managing stress way back in adland life. I am trying it again now.
It is very peaceful and nourishing.
In the sessions we talk about how my life is very different now. It takes time to come to terms with this and accept that things are changing, a whole way of life has materialised since stopping work.
It was a good life before, now it is bloody marvellous.
I am free to be idle, to not worry about time, to just be and not being stressed.
There are ups and downs to everything. A working life is stressful: commuting, meetings, clients, deadlines, money, time (or lack of it); and a trip to Central London feels very different - hectic in a way I only experienced after my back operation, then I felt physically vulnerable, now I feel an all out assault on my senses (noise, chaos, urgency).
You get into a groove and don’t realise quite how intense it all is until you take your foot off the gas.
Many people told me I’d get bored. Not a bit of it. There’s always something interesting to do, even if it is sitting in the garden with an empty head.
There’s a lot to process after the cut and thrust of a 35 year career in advertising.
But I am in no hurry.
Take note Parkies - back off.