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I'm about to graduate and will be meeting with an instructor about an internship. Many instructors know I've had health problems. It never came up in his class. If none of the others mentioned it - I don't see why they would - he won't know. I have a meeting with him Monday about the internship. I don't know what I should and should not say about my health. I am currently in denial about Parkinson's most of the time, even when my hand has a tremor so bad it shakes the cloths off their hangers. However, my mind is greatly impacted by everything. (Migraines too) and so I often have moments of slow thought/speech or trouble with understanding words. My concentration right now is bad - every two seconds I'm doing something else. I can't seem to get the work done that I have and that's not like me. So, what is appropriate to tell employers? And what should I tell my instructor? I should note, only one instructor knows about the PD diagnosis, and that is because of how much trouble I am currently having in his class. The rest just know I have health issues.
So two days ago when diagnosed - and after a two year period of observing myself having issues (and the occasional doctor visit and a couple of rheumatologists visits to rule out arthritic conditions), I had my answer. So what did I do? Cry? No. Did I celebrate that I had an answer and that I wasn't some crazy stiff and shaky hypochondriac? No. I did what many of you did. I went back to work the very day of my appointment. Kind of interesting that I am a psychotherapist. I did groups and individual sessions with people who are depressed - many of whom live in an affluent area (Johnson County, Kansas). Did my empathy suffer? No. Not a single thought such as "You think you have problems because you are not sure why you are depressed and can't decide between the new Lexus of the Land Rover?" Nope. I still felt compassion and upliftingly directed them to be mindful of their thoughts and feelings and engage in healthy behaviors. I went home, told the wife. My 17 year old daughter was concerned. My 12 year old son (who has mild Asperger's) asked me if I was going to die. I told him that I would be fine, maybe just struggle more with some tasks. I didn't tell my 21 year old - that lives out of the home with his new family and their two new babies. I didn't want him to know yet. My wife said "I just can't picture you being disabled some day". We ate dinner, watched TV and I woke up the next morning and wolfed down an Azilect (and regretted it too because I have gluten intolerance and my choices of food are limited anyway - now I have to worry about all sorts of MAO interactions). After all the "Parkinson's for Dummies" book said that it will not kill you and that there is probably a cure around the corner. Just another day at the office, right folks? That was the day before yesterday. And then yesterday, I decided to leave work on a short walk. I hobbled across a busy intersection and almost slipped climbing a grassy slick embankment. I made it to a coffee shop and reached in my wallet to grab my debit card - which somehow decided to elude my grip and sail to the floor. I picked it up and then reached for the piping hot coffee. Now I have to be extra careful. I managed to juggle it to a table and sat down. Then it hit. Sadness. Was it the new medicine - or was it ... oh, crap "I have Parkinson's - my life will be different." I am technologically gifted, so I therapeutically stayed up late and made my own little Pdude website (despite problems typing) and felt almost a sense of serenity. Thanks for listening.