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Valerie Graham

Thanks you so much, Carolyn, for your insightful response to a very difficult question which, if not verbalized, is, I am convinced, on the minds of everyone diagnosed with PD or associated with someone who is. That question being "when and where is it appropriate to seek counseling or therapy concerning the ramifications and impact on a couple or family of such a diagnosis and how can the subject be broached in a way that is as non-threatening as possible?"

I believe it often becomes the proverbial "elephant in the living room"-- everyone knows it's there, yet no one wishes to acknowledge it because to do so makes the disease ever more "real." As long as the ugly question is not raised, all the "problems" encountered in the relationship or family dynamic can be attributed solely to the person afflicted with the evil disease and not on the much more complex interplay of the myriad responses, reactions and coping mechanisms to such disease of the individual human beings who comprise the family.

It takes an extra measure of courage to address this great unspoken question because, as we all know, simply failing to name the boogey man in the closet doesn't make our fear of him any less real-- it simply allows him an unfettered rein to wreak havoc on our thoughts, minds and relationships!!

Craig Yohn

Excellent comments - thank you both for discussing an issue which, as you say, affects us all one way or the other. For instance, my (grown-up) kids won't discuss my PD with me at all. My husband sometimes talks about it - or wants me to talk about it - ad nauseum! Is there a "happy medium"?? One problem I face often is the sense of being totally inarticulate when it comes to discussing myself. Perhaps I just don't want to! Or, again, perhaps it is the disease which steals my thoughts and freezes my brain. I wonder if I might be "using" the PD as an excuse not to face the anger and grief which are there: too close to the surface to unleash; but, far enough away so that I can usually change the subject.

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