We all know somebody who talks a lot - a chatterbox. A hyper active person who never stops moving around. They can be very annoying, especially if you are trying to concentrate on something (like writing an article) or trying to have a conversation wth somebody else and they keep interrupting. Just rudeness surely? It means that whilst that person is around you, you can virtually get nothing else done!
It may not all be down to rudeness though! There may be a more deeply rooted problem - a reason for their behaviour that causes them to be like that. They may not want to talk about it, and may find the reason embarassing. Due to the underlying cause the talking and movement just does not abate, yet another time their behaviour might be completely normal. The trouble with this is that you never know how to receive the person.
If the behaviour is in a child, then it may not necessarily be ADHD - I feel that this diagnosis is used dismissively, way too frequently. There could be something much more deeply rooted. They may be anxious about something, such as school or relationships with friends or relatives. They could be developing nervousness for some reason. It could be that they are harbouring a secret of some kind that they are afraid to tell. They may even be developing some knd of mental illness. The advice is simple - wait until the child is in a calm quiet state and talk to them, in a matter of fact and calm way. Don't show stress or anxiety about the problem, but be calm and understanding with your child, because that is what they need from you - an ear. Ask open questions - questions that demand an answer - and pointed direct questions, then go from there. The chances are that your child will be relieved that you want to listen and tell you all.
This behaviour in an adult is even more annoying, but the underlying cause is probably already defined. They will know what causes the behaviour and they will know that it annoys those around them. The thing is that they cannot help themselves and it does embarass them. The reason could be a nervous complaint (resulting from something happening in their past), anxiety about being out and about (for some people like this even a simple journey by bus, or coffee in a cafe is a very hard task to complete), or it could be a kind of mental illness (bi polar, scizophrenia). The trick with these people is patience. They will talk about their illness in their own time - sometimes on many of their chattering sessions (the only problem is that most of us will have switched off at this point!) - and when they do prick up your ears and listen. You will begin to understand why these people are the way they are, and it is at that point that you need to try and have some empathy and compassion for their situation - they find even the simplest of tasks (things that we do without thinking) extremely difficult. It could be a friend, a colleague or a relation, but they will be very grateful for your silence, your nods and your patience.
In closing - I know a person like this, and sometimes I have patience and tact. At other times - like when they upset their close family (and mine) - I have little patience and want to see them helped by a professional. I want to help because I know they find their illness distressing, at the same time, knowing what the problem is I can not understand why they have not sought help long long ago, before it became a problem. This person is verging on the obssessive compulsive, almost (but not quite bi-polar), suffers bouts of all consuming depression where they confine themselves to bed for weeks, finds simple tasks like stepping out of the front door difficult etc. It is so sad to see somebody you love doing this to themselves, and living their lives this way, and despite the medication, counselling and support mechanism that they have nothing seems to help - and it all stemmed from something that happened during their early adult years. I try and understand as much as I can, but at times when my family are upset about the circumstances then I find it difficult. I do find, however, that on the days when I am patient and flippant this person responds more positively laughs more and enjoys themselves more - I hope that by being this way I am helping them to help themselves.
(C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly August 2010
Self esteem is a massive thing. Its something that few of us think about as important, to be fair its probably something that few of us EVER think about. Why is it so improtant though ?
Self esteem is important, because it is how we show ourselves to the world and how we portray ourselves to others. You can see instantly when somebody feels bad about themselves and has a low self image and poor view of themselves. Its in their body language and their voice and their portrayal of themselves.
Here are - in my view - the seven top things you can do in order to improve your self esteem and show the world that you mean business.
1. Achieve - you need to feel like you are an achiever, and that you can achieve something every day. Use lists. Keep it simple at first, it may just be "brush teeth, take children to school, buy newspaper, make lunch, call mom, make dinner, sort out bills". Try and make your list out in time order, and then cross them off as you go through your day. Going to bed with a completed list will make you smile, sleep easier and wake up feeling like you are getting somewhere. As you go on, the lists can become longer and more complicated, and thus your feeling of achievement will grow and your self esteem will be on the up. Write your list for tomorrow at the end of the day and you will also find that you wake up knowing exactly what you need to do today, which is a great start.
2. Change you body language - body language is an amazing thing. We do not realise that we have it or are even communicating with it, but how we hold ourselves can communicate certain things to others about us. You may feel a little weird but take a look at yourself in the mirror, are your shoulders slumped, is your head bowed, are your arms folded ? Just taking in a deep breath will change your posture and your body language. Still looking in the mirror take in a deep breath and see what it does. It lifts your head, it lifts your shoulders, and it throws out your chest. Unfold your arms and lower them to your sides. Now assess how you feel. Holding yourself in this way, gives you confidence, without you even knowing it. Confidence makes you feel good about yourself, thus increasing your level of self esteem.
So concentrate on your posture. Use the mirror, try different ways of holding yourself, and see how it makes you feel. Nobody can see you, so you can feel free to practice until you find a position that makes you feel super confident.
3. Your voice - so you feel like an achiever, your body language is good. Next comes your voice. Think about the people you talk to, and think about how their voices sound. Who do you respect the most for their confidence ? Who do you listen to the most ? Is it the person that mumbles or talks quietly ? Or is it the person who talks clearly and confidently ? I'll bet its the latter. Now you need to listen to your own voice as you communicate with others, how do you sound ?
Now we're back to the mirror!!! Again you may feel a little strange, but it is worth it. Talk to yourself in the mirror as you would talk to a stranger - if you are shy then you will talk quietly and probably to your toes. Here's what you need to do : Look directly into your own eyes and SHOUT at yourself - "HELLO! PLEASED TO MEET YOU MY NAME IS SAM JONES!" Okay so you don't need to go out and shout at everyone. What you now need to do is speak in a tone and volume that makes you feel good about yourself. Keep looking directly into your own eyes as you find the tone and volume that are right for you.
This is how you need to speak to everybody you meet - direct eye contact, firmly and confidently whilst maintaining good posture and that feeling of achievement.
4. Makeover - a lot of people with low self esteem do not pay attention to their appearance. They feel like they should not bother, as they are not worth the time or effort. Well I'm here to say that you are! I've been here and therefore know how it feels. Clothes that fit nicely, and a hairstyle that suits, make you feel better the minute you look at yourself in the mirror. Start at the top and work your way down . . . first your hair - if you don't like the style then change it, now your clothes. When I met my wife I was wearing jeans and rock t-shirts every day. I knew that these did not look good as they were oversized. My wife took me shopping - we bought plain fitted t-shirts with open necks, fitted shirts and trousers and jeans that fitted properly. The difference it made wearing clothes that suited me and fitted me well was immense. My self esteem improved leaps and bounds immediately. I felt good about myself, friends were complimenting me on my new look, I found myself smiling a lot more than I used to!
5. Smile - smile and all of your nerves will just disintegrate. A smile is a very powerful thing, and makes you feel instantly more confident and so much sunnier and happier in yourself. Think of a good joke, or a happy memory, just something that makes you smile and hold that thought in your mind all day. Happy thoughts and smiles make for a positive attitude, and positivity breeds positivity - plus smiles and positivity are contagious and you will find that you are infecting all of those around you. The fact that people are feeding off your positivity will make you feel great about yourself and your self esteem will fly. As this happens you will find that your smile and positivity come naturally and are there when you wake up in a morning.
Thus by following these 5 tips you will wake every morning with a healthy level of self esteem, feeling good about yourself and after a time you will not even remember the days when your self esteem was low. Obviously you will have down days - we all do - days when something awful happens, or effects you in a negative way. All you need to do is gather your thoughts and try and get something positive from what is happening - you get a red bill just thank them for reminding you to pay ; you can't afford the red bill - look forward and figure out when you will be able to afford it, call the company and explain, they will be fine about it, and you will feel positive about yourself for doing something about it and not letting it sit there.
Something positive can be found in almost all negative things, and therefore overcome easily with a smile and some positive thinking. If it is one of the few things that can't be overcome, then involve others. Speak to someone you trust and who is confident and positive, and they will be able to help you find the positive aspects of the situation.
All in all by following these tips, your self confidence will grow and you will find everyone about you notices. When they notice it, they will not be able to stop complimenting you on it - your self esteem grows more. Next they will become jealous of your confidence - your self esteem grows again . . . .do you see the effect of following these simple tips ? Its like a beanstalk that never stops growing, and what's waiting at the top ? A giant self esteem . . . .fe, fi, fo, fum!
(C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly July 2010
Given the choice, we would all choose tan over white. It looks healthier, right? The question is, how healthy is it ? And is natural healthier than the tanning salon? Lets take a look! There are three ways to getting that gorgeous tanned body - the natural way, the fake way (tanning salons) and the "other" fake way (sunless tanning). A tanned body is good - it heightens the definition of the body, it looks great and it makes you desirable. Is all that positivity though, worth the perils your body may well suffer ? Well lets take a look at them individually. Traditional (sun) tanning - is it safe ? Tanning is, in essence, the skin’s reaction to damage already done, and a defensive attempt to protect itself from further harm. So when you head out into the sun soaked garden, dont forget your shades, your towel and your sun block! So is soaking up the sun dangerous ? It can be, as the suns UV radiation beats down on your body, it literally burns the skin - your tan is your body's natural defence against this, a healing mechanism, a scab if you like. This is a big risk for skin cancer. If you are going to tan in the sun, avoid tanning between the hours of 12 and 3 as this is when the sun is at its most ferocious. Use a low factor sunblock. Be cautious if you go in the water, as some sunblocks are not waterproof and wear a sunhat, and t-shirt. Using sunbeds. These attempt to eliminate the UV rays coming into contact with the skin, at the same time as giving you that healthy tan that you so desire. On top of this they also control your exposure to UV rays, thus reducing the risk of you getting skin cancer. There is however still a risk - The British Association of Dermatologists recommend spending no more than 10 hours a year in sunbeds. Can you imagine having just 10 hours of sunshine in a year. Does this mean none of us are safe ? Fake Tans ! These are the safest! There are bronzing powders, usually applied to the face like blusher, the tan you apply for a day and then wash off when you shower, and the self tanner. The latter is the most complex, but basically contains a chemical called dihydroxyacetone which is absorbed by the surface skin cells and turns brown in the presence of oxygen. The tan lasts until these cells naturally shed. Tips for this type of tan, involve exfoliation of dead cells and moisturisation of the skin prior to application in order to give the best possible tan absorption. Also the application of the lightest shade as you can always darken it later. It appears that the safest method is fake tan via lotions, followed by total avoidance of the sun's rays - if you cant do that, then still use a high SPF sun cream when you go out in the sun, because even if your tan is fake you can still burn and you dont want to end up looking like a slice of toast thats been under the grill for too long, now do you? (C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010
There are three ways to getting that gorgeous tanned body - the natural way, the fake way (tanning salons) and the "other" fake way (sunless tanning). A tanned body is good - it heightens the definition of the body, it looks great and it makes you desirable. Is all that positivity though, worth the perils your body may well suffer ?
Well lets take a look at them individually.
Traditional (sun) tanning - is it safe ? Tanning is, in essence, the skin’s reaction to damage already done, and a defensive attempt to protect itself from further harm. So when you head out into the sun soaked garden, dont forget your shades, your towel and your sun block! So is soaking up the sun dangerous ? It can be, as the suns UV radiation beats down on your body, it literally burns the skin - your tan is your body's natural defence against this, a healing mechanism, a scab if you like. This is a big risk for skin cancer. If you are going to tan in the sun, avoid tanning between the hours of 12 and 3 as this is when the sun is at its most ferocious. Use a low factor sunblock. Be cautious if you go in the water, as some sunblocks are not waterproof and wear a sunhat, and t-shirt. Using sunbeds. These attempt to eliminate the UV rays coming into contact with the skin, at the same time as giving you that healthy tan that you so desire. On top of this they also control your exposure to UV rays, thus reducing the risk of you getting skin cancer. There is however still a risk - The British Association of Dermatologists recommend spending no more than 10 hours a year in sunbeds. Can you imagine having just 10 hours of sunshine in a year. Does this mean none of us are safe ? Fake Tans ! These are the safest! There are bronzing powders, usually applied to the face like blusher, the tan you apply for a day and then wash off when you shower, and the self tanner. The latter is the most complex, but basically contains a chemical called dihydroxyacetone which is absorbed by the surface skin cells and turns brown in the presence of oxygen. The tan lasts until these cells naturally shed. Tips for this type of tan, involve exfoliation of dead cells and moisturisation of the skin prior to application in order to give the best possible tan absorption. Also the application of the lightest shade as you can always darken it later. It appears that the safest method is fake tan via lotions, followed by total avoidance of the sun's rays - if you cant do that, then still use a high SPF sun cream when you go out in the sun, because even if your tan is fake you can still burn and you dont want to end up looking like a slice of toast thats been under the grill for too long, now do you? (C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010
If you are going to tan in the sun, avoid tanning between the hours of 12 and 3 as this is when the sun is at its most ferocious. Use a low factor sunblock. Be cautious if you go in the water, as some sunblocks are not waterproof and wear a sunhat, and t-shirt.
Using sunbeds. These attempt to eliminate the UV rays coming into contact with the skin, at the same time as giving you that healthy tan that you so desire. On top of this they also control your exposure to UV rays, thus reducing the risk of you getting skin cancer. There is however still a risk - The British Association of Dermatologists recommend spending no more than 10 hours a year in sunbeds. Can you imagine having just 10 hours of sunshine in a year. Does this mean none of us are safe ?
Fake Tans ! These are the safest! There are bronzing powders, usually applied to the face like blusher, the tan you apply for a day and then wash off when you shower, and the self tanner. The latter is the most complex, but basically contains a chemical called dihydroxyacetone which is absorbed by the surface skin cells and turns brown in the presence of oxygen. The tan lasts until these cells naturally shed. Tips for this type of tan, involve exfoliation of dead cells and moisturisation of the skin prior to application in order to give the best possible tan absorption. Also the application of the lightest shade as you can always darken it later.
It appears that the safest method is fake tan via lotions, followed by total avoidance of the sun's rays - if you cant do that, then still use a high SPF sun cream when you go out in the sun, because even if your tan is fake you can still burn and you dont want to end up looking like a slice of toast thats been under the grill for too long, now do you?
(C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010
Do you remember the feeling of winning that race at your sports day? I don't! I was never good at sports. After watching my two step daughters at their recent school sports days (eldest is pictured right), I have been thinking about winning and winners.
My youngest, refused to do any races, until such point as we got to the last race, a sprint. I ran alongside her, and she ran her socks off - she won that race, and she was so happy to have won. The next day was time for my eldest step-daughter's sports day, and it went with a blast. She competed in all events, and won 3 of them - she won the sack race, the obstacle race and the relay! We were so proud, and I managed to get a photo of her as she crossed the line, arms in the air and a massive smile on her face.
It was this picture that got me thinking. We are all winners, aren't we ? We have all done something, achieved something that we can all be proud of. It may not be athletic or competitive, but we all have that one thing that we have done. We may have successfully raised our children, we may have had a successful career, we may have won a competition, but we have all done something that has given us that feeling.
I know that I have no athletic prowess, and given a physical competition I know I would not win. I have, however, had a successful career, achieved feats that I may never have done (I have achieved my car racing licence, ridden horses - an animal I was scared of, abseiled, owned my dream motorbike), I have acted in theatre (in front of hundreds of people) and on TV I have married my beautiful wife, I have helped to raise three children (so far successfully), I have started a business successfully, I have achieved moderate success from my writing. So in my eyes and in the eyes of others I am a winner.
We all see successful people, and admire their success. We admire their monetary success, and their personal success and, talking from my own perspective, we wish we could be like them and have that kind of success. The thing is though, as I have realised this last couple of days, we are ALL winners in some way or another.
None of us are losers, and we are all an inspiration to ourselves. We can all gather inspiration and hope from watching what others do and how they achieve success - the only way that they have succeeded where we have not, is by picking themselves up after falling over. They do not dwell on their failures, but focus on their successes and how they can improve on them.
Always look on the positive side, don't dwell on what has gone wrong - focus on the future and not the past. When you do feel down - you didn't get that job, or something else goes wrong - think about something that has given you that winning feeling, and focus on that feeling. Now work out how you can keep that feeling going, and build its momentum in the future - what do you want to do? Once you have worked it out, then go for it!
Feel like a winner every day, by doing that when you wake up every morning - believe me it works. Thanks to my step-daughter's, I know that I am a winner - so are you! Everyone is a winner in one way or another treasure that feeling and nurture it!
(C) Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010
I've been off sick now for 4 months, signed off after a mild heart attack. Reason to stay in bed, avoid active exercise, avoid stress at all costs. But, I still have to pay the bills, keep a roof over my family's heads. So how do I do it ? What gives me reason to get up in the morning? And what keeps me going ?
Well the motivation is obvious - my wife and family! We need to get through life with as little stress and as little hard ship as possible. That means, that as my company (who still employ me) are only paying bear minimum in wages, we need to make money somehow, in order to pay the rent and the household bills. All of this has to be done, without our children really knowing what is going on. Tricky!
My wife has started as a rep for a ladies fun and lingerie range. She organises parties, and has had moderate success in terms of cash, but has had incredible success in terms of the field she is in. She has just come in having been top in : sales ; banking ; promotion of the season's top product ; recruiting new organisers. She has also won (yet to be confirmed) a spa day with her boss and a trip to the UK's number one theme park. That makes me envious and at times, when my mind is inb the worng place, it makes me lose my focus and my motivation. That's not my wife's fault, it's a result of my condition. I have no chance to achieve these things because I can't work, but I can still be successful!
So what makes me get out of bed in a morning ? My need to succeed. After my heart attack, I started a website with the story, in a desire to share my story and help others. I monetised it, and hoped it would bring in something towards the bills - it has so far amassed the small fortune of £1.45!!! And thats in 4 months! So it is not making any money. The site itself has been a bigger success and gets regular visits from all over the world. This is a filler - something to fill my time with, I enjoy it despite it not being profitable and it keeps me occupied.
About a month after this was started, my mother-in-law suggested that I begin designing websites for others. Budget websites, that cost little to do and people pay little for, but quality sites with quality workings that become page one contenders. I did, and I have now had seven orders for website work, amounting to a total of around £1500! So now during my day I have telephone calls to make in order to tout for new business, clients to meet, designing to do and other work to do that is actually paying some cash!
During my time doing this, I have started cold calling for my in laws who are business consultants. One recent success involved a guy who wanted help with his manufacturing. My in laws could not do this, but I could - from years of manufacturing management and experience, I could add my remit to their company and enhance their portfolio. I became a temporary partner and joined my father in law for the initial business meeting, which went very well. We have now put together a proposal and quote, and forwarded it to the director of the company. If he decides to take us up, the deal will secure my family's financial future for the next 2 years! On top of working on this with my father in law, I am still doing cold calling on their behalf in order to secure further business for them.
So there are three reasons to motivate me into getting up every day. There is,however, one more, which I have just become aware of. In a recent visit to our youngest's new school, we got into a conversation with his new teacher with regard to our pets. On finding out what we had, the teacher suggested that we use them to our benefit - by becoming a school "animal man", that is taking them into schools in a show and tell type manner and educating the children about the species. Schools apparently pay up to £350 for a day of normal and unusual animals. With our menagerie, it will be relatively easy to do and it will give us a good excuse to get more pets - more snakes, more lizards and maybe even an African pygmy albino hedgehog!!! I am setting up the website this week and with very few overheads, and enthusiasm for the job, I can use my animals to do a job I love - on top of schools, I can also sell my services for fetes, childrens parties, cubs and brownies, youth clubs etc etc. One booking a week will make me happy!
Occassionally, about once a month, I also get my TV Extras work, which generally earns me a decent chunk, and I get the pride of seeing myself on the TV!
How do I get the energy to do all of this ? I exercise every weekday morning - mildly, due to my health - but I do some gentle cv work and some easy weights. It gets the endorphines flowing and makes me smile and feel energised - sets me up for the day. You can see though, that from the moment the children have left for school, to the moment they come home (and sometimes into the evening) I have something to occupy my mind, and a reason to do it - I have started to make money for myself and there is no better reason to feel good. I am busy all day every day more or less 7 days a week, but I take it all at my own pace - I start and finish when I want to, I please myself when I take a break and how long for etc. My motivation for all of this comes from wanting to succeed not just in one of these fields, but in ALL of them and thus provide my family with the lifestyle they deserve - something I cannot do in the capacity I was employed prior to my heart problems. This lifestyle is less stressful (although it seems more so) because I please myself, get to spend more time enjoying my wife and children and it makes our lives easier with flexibility being high in our lives.
I have had to take a step back and reassess my life. It all started with something to keep me occupied whilst I recovered, but it has turned into a full time job, running 3 businesses, a web site and acting in TV (more of a paid hobby than a job). By reasessing my life, I got the motivation to get up and do something for myself. One of the big problems with being incapacitated and unable to work, is the feeling of uselessness and the inability to provide for ones family. I spent about two or three weeks in this state, before I began to reassess things, and once I did . . .KABOOM . . .its all gone mad, but I'm so happy it has - I have never felt more in control of my life nor happier with it.
Anybody can do this, and it is simple. Look at what you enjoy, and what you are good at. Start doing it first for friends and family, let them pay you if they want to and if they are happy with what you have done. Now that you have proved it to yourself, begin to advertise your services, and start to get those phone calls - I still smile every time I get a business call, it's such a thrill! Now you have to go and sell yourself to your client, but because you know what you are doing and talking about, and because its something you love and are naturally enthusiastic about selling is not a problem. Then repeat - and if you can do this in more than one field, you will have success after success AND its never too late to start, so do it now and give yourself a reason to move!
(C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010
We all have feelings, that we keep holed up, imprisoned in our minds. They may be feelings from childhood, feelings from past relationships, or negative feelings you find hard to surpress. Its hard sometimes to explain these feelings - why they are there, what they mean, what they do to our personalities. How do we get these feelings out and explained and resolved in our minds ? Because really once we have resolved them ourselves, then they are truly resolved, after all it's not up to our partners to resolve our issues and deal with them, it's up to us.
I have found writing articles to be truly therapeutic. Jealousy, age gap relationships, being a step parent, bullying have all been helpful articles to write. My wife even wrote one based on my inability to understand why she did things - it helped in my understanding of a woman's mind!! Think about it - when we speak, or text, we may lose our temper and therefore our ability to rationalise our problems. I know that when my wife and I have a disagreement, I find it useful to write her a note explaining my actions or argument.
When we write, we think and rationalise, we put pen to paper and the words flow out. We can go back and correct phrases that may be inaccurate or cause further upset by being misconstrued. We can read, then re read - edit - our writing, until it says exactly what we want it to say, and gives a good representation of our feelings. When we speak, especially in emotive situations, we speak sometimes without thinking and our words come out incorrectly. In the words of the old saying "we all say things in the heat of the moment that we don't mean". How very true.
In terms of rationalising feelings from present or past. Write it down on paper - it doesn't need to be perfect English, or grammatically correct. It doesn't need to be an article, and it doesn't need to be public. It can stay in a notebook, or on a piece of paper which is destroyed when finished with - it can remain completely private. I choose to publish mine, in the hope that it will find somebody and help them sort out their own problems.
What I am trying to say is just get it out, get it down. I find that by writing things down, they are removed from my mental burden and I can think more clearly. Whether I write a poem or an article ; whether I write a note for my wife, or write a list of bullet points, that I later destroy - it all goes down on paper and is out of my head. I can then read and digest, and find pointers for what I need to do in the future in order to change my behaviour, attitude or thinking and deal with the negative feelings. Keep a journal, jotting down your feelings each day - this is something that seems more popular and helpful with younger people. Feelings can be reviewed regularly and plans made to find solutions to problems.
Creative Writing is an equally important part of resolving issues as far as therapeutic measures go. A poem or a short story, where you do not personalise the issues, but invent characters that have your issues and then work out how those characters would solve their issues. This can be very helpful, because suddenly the solution that was evading you becomes ominously clear in your mind and suddenly you are smiling and knowing exactly what you need to do.
I am not a psychotherapist, or a doctor, or a therapist - I am just pointing out what helps me, and if it helps me then it can help you. Writing is fun, it gives a sense of achievement, a quiet confidence in yourself and can even be published to help others. Give it a go, and I bet you find things feel better.
(C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010
I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinsons about 8 years ago. It started with a tremor in my hand - my thumb actually. I went to the doctor and had all of the tests. Nightmare - why me ? - was the question I asked, over and over again. I've now come to terms with it and am okay with it.
One of the first things I told my new girlfriend two years ago, was of my diagnosis. One day when I got home from work, she informed me that she had researched the disease on the internet. She had looked up the symptoms and the development of the disease. I was very surprised, but delighted - it meant a lot to know that she cared enough to investigate.
After my diagnosis, I joined the local Parkinson's group. It was made up mostly of old people - those you would associate with the disease. I went to a few meetings, but felt out of place. One thing they did do for me though, was send me for a therapy called Conductve Education. I had six sessions, they educate you how to control your muscle tics by controlled movements - for example touching your thumb to each finger tip in quick succession, controlled writing, sitting down and standing up in a slow controlled way etc. The thing with Parkinsons is your control goes and you lose clarity of writing and movement, and by repeating these exercises you retain control. Conductive Education is an excellent therapy and I think it would be useful for everyone with my mild form of Parkinson's Disease to experience - I am not sure how successful it is for those with the more severe form, but I guess it would be worth a try.
Full blown Parkinson's is much worse than my complaint - most famously Michael J Fox has it. He is young, and had it at an early age. He very much raised awareness of the disease, and this was excellent for all sufferers. There is an operation you can have, where an electrode is implanted in your skull, but it is very expensive, and this has shown absolute success. When the electrode is turned on then the sufferer seems entirely normal, turn it off and all symptoms return fully.
My symptoms are quite recognisable - my writing is deteriorating (I have never been neat, but my writing is terrible, unless I take a lot of time and REALLY concentrate), I have problems with balance in so far as I lean a lot (my wife puts this down to wine consumption!), I can be difficult to understand when speaking and I notice people who meet me for the first time constantly ask me to repeat myself, I am anxious and at times depressed, I have difficulty understanding or accepting reason in certain circumstances, I stutter when speaking - forgetting my thread and zooming off at tangents (lots of thingumy's and watchyamacallits!), I have problems sleeping, because I am restless at night (this also keeps my wife awake), when I do sleep I have bad dreams (sometimes night terrors) and often wake screaming. All of these are symptoms of the disease.
My wife suffers these silently! She makes light of my difficulty getting words out and expressing myself. She laughs at my inability to maintain my balance. She puts up with my anxiety, occasional panic attacks and occasional depression - she understands its due to my illness. I married a diamond. She is only 28, and yet she endures all of my short comings, knowing what the cause is. My wife can tell the difference between my disease and my insecurities, she is very astute. I am a very lucky man - to have met such a lovely person that understands and endures, despite the upset it can cause her.
I am very young at heart, and try to ignore my disease. I tend to "forget" my problem, but my wife will point out at times when a short coming is down to my disease. I will apologise, not understanding why I have acted in a certain way, or I will comment on how well she is coping with my personality when I know that it is unacceptable - she will simply smile and tell me not to worry. I remember once pointing out that she had been particularly understanding about something, and she turned to me and without saying directly made me realise that she understood because she understood my disease. Incredible.
I hate to think about how this will effect me in later life, and so make the best of being not too badly affected by it. I live my life to the full as much as possible, and embrace each day with a can do attitude. My wife knows that if I am tired or worried or ill then my disease will be more visible (i am more prone to tremors, nightmares, and restlessness at night) and she adjusts herself to cope with it, and I find that very humbling. I am getting emotional now just thinking about it - I am so so lucky. I know it is going to get worse as I get older (not sure by how much or when it will happen), and I worry about the effect it will have on my wife and step children (as they are so much younger than I), I would hate to be a burden on any of them. I know, however, that they love me and that I can rely on them to understand and support me as I do get worse - I know I will have their love no matter what and that keeps me going and keeps me happy.
In closing, I would just like to say that in coping with Parkinson's you need : a good support system (understanding within family members with whom you have regular contact) ; to try and ignore your illness (difficult I know if you have anything worse than my mild form) ; to understand the disease and where you are in the development of the disease ; to know your symptoms (I sit on my hands when I can feel the tremors coming - when I'm very upset though, I cannot stop them taking me completely) ; to be able to be unembarassed by it! If you can manage all of this, then you will deal just fine with everything.
Parkinson's is part of you and you have to embrace it and manage it as best you can, your loved ones (I've found) will adapt to your nuances and treat you no differently. I hate my tremors, they are annoying, they stop me being who I want to be and I want to switch them off, but I cant, I am what I am - my family accepts this and that's why I do so well. Thankyou!
(C) Copyright Dale Preece-Kelly June 2010