Accepting that you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease can be an important step towards living the best life possible with PD. Coming to a place of acceptance is different for everyone. Some MyParkinsonsTeam members are relieved to finally have answers, and accepting their diagnosis is a logical next step. Other members go through periods of denial or depression before accepting their diagnosis. For many, accepting Parkinson’s is an ongoing process. No matter your path to acceptance, you’re not alone. Support is always available at MyParkinsonsTeam.
For many MyParkinsonsTeam members who went years or months with undiagnosed symptoms of Parkinsonism, learning that they have PD can be a relief. “I accepted my diagnosis from the beginning,” one member wrote. “At least it explained why I kept shuffling my feet and couldn’t write anymore. I thought I was losing it.” Another member shared a similar sentiment, “They are 100 percent sure it is Parkinson's. It's a load off our minds to finally have a definite diagnosis.”
If accepting a Parkinson’s diagnosis took you longer, or you’re still working towards acceptance, you’re in good company. Denial, depression, and grief are common on MyParkinsonsTeam. “Still coming to grips with this diagnosis,” one member wrote. “Traveling between denial and feeling loss.” A caregiver wrote, “My husband has PD. We felt gut-punched when it was diagnosed five years ago.”
Identifying healthy coping mechanisms can help you and your family process difficult feelings and learn to adjust to the new normal of Parkinson’s disease. MyParkinsonsTeam members shared the following coping techniques that have helped them accept their diagnosis and manage their mental and physical health:
Stay present: “Don't dwell on the past or languish in the future. Stick to now,” one member advised.
Don’t rush yourself: “How long should it take [to accept a PD diagnosis]? Well, I think that we all go at our own pace - whatever that may be,” a member who’s lived with Parkinson’s for several years shared.
Be grateful: “My daughter would ask me to find three amazing things for each day and write them down. It was to keep me focusing on finding the positive,” a member suggested to another.
Find sources of joy: “I ended up adopting two kittens and they have been a comforting distraction and therapeutic joy!” a longtime member wrote.
Seek support: “I still have the occasional pity party, and I make good use of my therapist, an understanding neurologist, and a physical therapist,” another member who’s lived with PD for several years commented.
Connect with the PD community: “We each go to a support group which is really helpful for being with people who understand,” a wife to a husband with Parkinson’s wrote.
Sometimes accepting a Parkinson’s diagnosis is an ongoing process. “I don't think we are ever necessarily done,” one member wrote to a newly diagnosed teammate. “We think we are, something pops up, and we find out we still have more work to do.”
“I don't think we ever fully accept it,” a member diagnosed four years ago wrote. “I will have days where I don't really think about it and others where I feel overwhelmed and angry over everything about PD. We just try to find a way to live with the changes and accept our new normal.”
Members who’ve come to a place of acceptance notice an improvement in their quality of life. “I made a choice last night to accept my diagnosis and do the best I can to lead a more productive life,” a newly diagnosed member wrote. “This morning I awoke to an incredible peace. I want to thank all of you [on MyParkinsonsTeam] who have helped and encouraged me when I was so depressed and in danger of losing my faith.”
On MyParkinsonsTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with and caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Accepting a Parkinson’s diagnosis is one of the most discussed topics.
Here are some conversations about accepting a Parkinson’s diagnosis:
Here are some question-and-answer threads about accepting a Parkinson’s diagnosis:
Can you relate? Share your experience adjusting to a Parkinson’s diagnosis in the comments below or on MyParkinsonsTeam.
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