Dealing with the frustrations of Parkinson's Disease.
It’s my birthday, already seven days into my birthday month, and I’m just not feeling it. You have to understand, I’m not one to dread growing older. I figured out a long time ago that there is nothing I can do about that. Not only do I enjoy celebrating my birthday, I enjoy making a thing of birthdays for friends and family. They are worth celebrating. Hey, we made it this far, and there’s a lot to be grateful for. So what’s my deal?
The easy answer is my dumb Parkinson’s. The worst thing about Parkinson’s is not what you see, that tremor can be annoying, but mine is manageable. It’s the stuff you don’t see. As I told my wife the other day, it’s making me human. I’m slowing down, going to bed before 2am, and paying the price when I play too hard. The worst of it is the fatigue. It’s quite a bit different than being tired, I can push through tired. Parkinson’s likes to stay on the couch, David does not. Depression is the other symptom I’m battling. Fortunately, I have plenty of alcohol and donuts so I’ll be fine. Everything is fine.
All of this is not only affecting me, but my relationships too as I hunker down and go into hiding to figure things out. I’d rather remove myself than make others miserable just because I am. It’s a lose-lose situation as I stomp on people’s feelings either way. I’m not enjoying this. Not even a little.
Another issue weighing on me is writing. I’m in that “Will anyone like it?” “Am I wasting my time?” “What am I doing with my life?” phase of the 5th Angst book. This is not a new feeling for me, or, I’m sure, for others. I have a lot of very patient readers waiting for the conclusion of this series. I care. How many tv series end with a fizzle? Perfection is unrealistic, but I want everyone to feel it was worth their time to read my Angst books. No pressure.
I’m as human as everyone else (but don’t tell anyone.) We all have insecurities, bad days, and bad weeks. There are times that work or school are impossible hurdles or the worst kind of drudgery. Life feeds us monotony like traffic, mowing the lawn, politics, and utility bills. We have to deal with a lot of things we really don’t want to. It’s how we deal with them that matters. So, we push through, and this is how I remind myself.
Despite that fact that I’ve received 9 bad reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for my books, I’ve also gotten 240 positive reviews. (I know, some are dupes. Shut up.) Many of those readers posted that my books made them laugh or they could relate to the characters. I consider that a gift. The support I receive from my readers keeps me writing, even when I question myself.
I also found a lot of inspiration from my return visit to Randall Elementary school. The incredible teacher, Miss Tate, talked the school into buying copies of Clod Makes A Friend for their entire 5th-grade class. They included it as a part of their curriculum and even listened to the audiobook. One class greeted me with applause, another with high fives. At the end of my visit, I had the pleasure of watching movie previews of Clod Makes A Friend that the students made. A moving reminder that my writing is worth the effort.
Most of my friends and family understand what I’m going through with Parkinson’s. Even if they don’t completely, I know they’ll be patient with me. That’s what family is about. That’s what love is. Sometimes you have to accept change even if you don’t like it. I don’t like it, and I’ve been slower than anyone to accept it. I’m fortunate to have such great people in my life, I appreciate all of them. All of them.
I’m exercising less than I should, but more than I did. I’m still writing and editing – even if my mind isn’t all in, my heart is. I have an amazing wife, and kids, and family, and friends who are loving and patient (My wife being the most patient of all.) I have a great job that I even enjoy some days. Oh, and it’s my birthday. Maybe this year it’s not my birthday month but instead just one day. I’ll celebrate, because like I said, I made it this far. I have a lot to be grateful for. Things aren’t bad, I just need to remember that.