As a person living WITH Parkinson’s Disease, I strive to look and act like a normal person WITHOUT it.
The following are tricks to appear normal:
To get rid of that facial mask of Parkinson’s, smile at all times even if you feel happy, sad or lonely.
To remove the Parkinson’s stare, blink your eyes more frequently and remember to use eye drops twice daily.
When your hands tremor, stuff them in your pockets and hope that people don’t notice.
When your hands clench, remember to unclench them.
If you are embarrassed about the awkwardness of your hands in getting coins and bills out of your wallet, plan ahead and retrieve them before you make your purchase.
If your arms and legs flail due to dyskinesia, always remember that “This too shall pass.”
When walking, don’t forget to swing your arms. Without that arm swing, normal people might point and stare and say “I bet that person has Parkinson’s.”
Get up an hour earlier than others so that you can be dressed in time to be with normal people.
Choose foods that are easy to cut and swallow. Choose Parkinson’s-friendly restaurants that tolerate dropping food on the floor like a toddler.
When speaking with your soft-spoken voice (even though you have always been a soft-spoken person), always speak and think LOUD. Try to articulate so that normal people won’t mistake your slurred speech for being drunk.
And, don’t forget about your posture and remember to breathe.
When it’s just too much multi-tasking to make yourself appear normal, disregard all of the above and accept yourself as the slow, shaky and stiff person with Parkinson’s that you’ve become.
For those of you who don’t appreciate my dark sense of humor, the main point of this post is that all this multi-tasking drives me crazy. I can never just relax without worrying about something related to PD. For example, am I getting out of the chair right so that I don't fall, am I breathing correctly, am I exercising an hour a day, how is my posture, etc. These questions give me a false sense of control over PD, its symptoms and progression. I can do it all just right and PD is still there sneaking around and undoing my good efforts.