If you’ve been newly diagnosed, one thing your neurologist may neglect talking about is depression. Thankfully, depression doesn’t have the stigma attached as it once did, but it is an often overlooked side effect to this disease. Although I am taking a anti-depression med currently (Celexa), I had decided that as long as my panic attacks were kept at bay, I wouldn’t change to a stronger or different med.
Even with this pretty effective prescription, I still have days of depression. Now, it’s obvious that I’m not a doctor of any sort nor do I carry any type of degree, but I can attest to what works for me & what doesn’t. So, I’ll share that aspect. If you feel completely hopeless & depressed, please seek professional help. You’re worth it!
Along with other symptoms, Parkinson’s sufferers can have what’s called ‘the mask’. Basically, it’s when your face is without any expression. You may take on a grumpy appearance. I don’t know about you, but constantly having other people tell me that I look cranky makes me cranky! In fact, it can make you downright depressed to have people constantly ask what’s wrong. Educate them! Make sure those closest to you know about the mask effect & ask them to not ask! Eliminating what could be considered a petty, pet peeve can make a huge difference.
We all know the benefits of exercise. Even if you have achieved a good state of physical fitness, continue to do some sort of physical something everyday. Just getting that blood pumping can be a mood refresher. Force yourself, as I have to, to do it daily.
Get some fresh air. Granted, with these below 0 wind chills it sounds horrible, but step onto your porch or balcony for at least 10 minutes. Soak in that sun & breathe. Many times it’ll make a blah day into a manageable one.
Nap! Insomnia or sleep issues is a huge part of this disease. It’s absolutely something I struggle with every day. My biggest hurdle? I get mad at myself. I chastise myself for not sleeping. Two hours is usually my limit before my eyes pop open & I feel this overwhelming urge to be awake. While I’m aware that doctors tell you not to use electronic devices at bedtime for a variety of reasons, my Kindle has helped to keep my sane. When I toss & turn with a body that refuses to rest, reading just a bit relaxes me enough to try again. Sorry, doctors. I’ll be honest. My husband & I have had to resort to separate bedrooms. It’s been more of a benefit than a problem. Now he can sleep properly for his very physical job. Our marriage has improved with a reduction in animosity.
Don’t concern yourself with nosey peeps who insist couples must share a bed. Life happens. Do what’s best for you. Not stressing over sleep will help your depression, too. I’m happy knowing I did something to make his life easier. In addition to not worrying about the actual sleeping, my your sleep space pretty. Add a few touches that’ll make you smile before sleeping. Put up grandkids photos. Display a collection. Give yourself a reason to smile.
Collecting or a hobby similar will also help with depression. I avidly collect salt & pepper shakers. When I’m feeling down, I look at Pinterest or some favorite sites to see new ones. If you love to read, save a new, best seller for a particularly depressed day. Block everything out & read awhile. Find a collection expo nearby if you don’t have a collection addiction yet.
Be patient with yourself. The worst thing to do to yourself when the depression has you down is to berate inwardly. Those dishes will wait- it’s not fatal. No, you don’t have to do anything today. You can sit around in your Snoopy pajamas all day if you need to. Just don’t spend more than one day like that. Give yourself permission to have a bad day. Nowhere in the Constitution does it proclaim that you must have 365 consecutive ‘good’ days. It’s ok to have a pity party for a day. But, don’t become the only guest at that party.
Don’t forget the Great Physician. God gets it. Jesus paid the price for our healing. Claim it. Thank Him daily that you’re already healed. Post notes with up lifting Scriptures anywhere you’ll see them. Stay connected to your Creator. He loves you & He cares.
You may have Parkinson’s. It doesn’t have you.