Ed. Note: This article is a part of an ongoing series of stories from Parkinson’s Warriors from the community.
How it all began
February 2012, I had my 39th birthday a few days before I had been summoned to see a Consultant Neurologist as a result of a problem with my left elbow. The problem was that for about 4 months I’d had the feeling that my left elbow was dragging a heavy weight. It became more troublesome every day, so much so that even the simplest of tasks was becoming difficult.
I never thought a great deal of it at first because I was a Police Officer who practiced martial arts, so I thought I’d hit the elbow whilst arresting someone or training somehow. So to say it was a shock to receive a Parkinson’s diagnosis would be the understatement of the year.
However, because there was little or no physical change within the first few years we, (my family and I) coped quite well. Despite the diagnosis, I kept on working for 4 years (Finally succumbing to the fatigue and lack of focus). Albeit in an administrative role in the Family Protection Unit.
This was when the reality of the situation hit me.
I really began to suffer in 2018. I’ve no idea why but my anxiety levels soared to such a degree that I was having off periods of more than 4 hours! Within months I was badly depressed. So much so that I thought about doing something stupid.
A spell in a mental health unit allowed me to evaluate what was important in life. Things had to change, I knew that. I came home after a few weeks, and the hard work was about to begin.
I had become so dependent upon family helping me, get dressed, go to the bathroom, and assist me with basic tasks that my wife and two sons, (then 16 and 12) were struggling.
So I sought help. I attended a care group every Thursday, which allowed me to interact with people again because I had become a recluse. I spoke to someone from Penumbra every week (Mental Health charity), I underwent hypnosis and began meditating.
A new mindset
Instead of convincing myself I couldn’t do something, I began looking at what I could do. Within weeks I could calm myself down and look at things with a positive outlook (This was hard for me because I’d always been negatively minded).
I’ve created a positive routine. I control my breathing if I wake up anxious, if not, then I skip to the second task of telling myself I’m going to have a good day. I clap my hands once and say C’mon. Then when I successfully get up and get dressed within a few minutes I say F*** you Parkinson’s.
If at any time I feel anxious or tense, I sit down close my eyes and control my breathing. If I’m outside I sit down and think of a bird flying which always calms me down.
I have even achieved a dream and published my first book something I never thought possible before.
POSITIVE MINDSET IS EVERYTHING.
Steve is the author of the novel, The Trophy Killer.
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Nick Pernisco is the Parkinson’s Warrior, a person with Parkinson’s who has dedicated his life to helping others with Parkinson’s. Get the Parkinson’s Warrior book here. Join the discussion on Facebook.