I’ll never see Parkinson’s Disease as a gift, blessing, or journey.
Parkinson’s is not a friend of mine. Although I’ve met many wonderful people through having Parkinson’s, I would have preferred meeting these folks under different circumstances such as a cocktail party, not a support group.
I’ll never write a book called The Joy of Parkinson’s. I don’t believe that there will be a cure for Parkinson’s in my life time. I’m doomed to be a pessimist.
I think optimism is highly overrated. I’ve tried to convert myself into an optimist, but deep down, I’m really a glass-half-empty kind of gal. According to social psychologist, Roy Baumeister, optimists are more divorced from reality than pessimists. They have high opinions of themselves and show exaggerated beliefs in their ability to control what happens around them. They think their future will be far better than the average person's. On the other hand, pessimists display fewer self-enhancing illusions and are more realistic.
Being a pessimist, I worry about peculiar things such as when the time comes, will I be able to afford living in an assisted living facility or nursing home in the style that I’ve grown accustomed. I fret about when and how I’ll die from Parkinson’s. Will I fall, choke, or develop aspiration pneumonia? Will someone try to prolong my life when its quality is no longer there?
Someone recently accused me of being a DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) Cheerleader, although I’ve never seen myself as a rah-rah kind of girl. I invariably expect things to turn out worse than they do. After having Parkinson’s for 13 years, I was sure that I’d be dead by now. At any moment, I expect that God will drop by, tap me on the shoulder and say, “Sorry, little missy, but your time is up.” It’s that Irish Catholic anxiety syndrome that makes me expect the worst and go through life being fretful.
However, there is an upside to not having a naturally sunny disposition. Being the kind of person who fears the worst, I have often been pleasantly surprised.
You optimists out there, please surprise me. Find the cure for Parkinson’s in my life time and turn Parkinson's into a picnic.