The following Case is mainly from my book “I have Parkinson’s, but Parkinson’s does not have me” page 17-19. The case is about when I was diagnosed having PD. It shows clearly the importance of being aware of and in contact with your inner self! (Your values, your beliefs, your attitude etc.)
Everyone who has been told he or she is suffering from a serious illness probably remembers that moment vividly.
I can experience all over again the terrible chill I felt then. Everything in my head seemed to run down in my stomach. Down below my stomach did everything it could to defend itself against the intrusion, and all of it swirled around, bubbling and creating a sensation of impending nausea.
The words bounced back and forth in my head: “Parkinson’s disease, increase of tremors with age, Parkinson’s, incurable, good life just now but within five years confined to a wheelchair, Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s...”
The words echoed and reechoed inside my empty, cold head and finally everything became so unreal that I no longer felt they referred to me. I felt like a mere spectator or as though I was dreaming.
On the other hand, I remember nothing whatsoever about my trip home from the hospital. Probably I got in the car and drove home entirely directed by my subconscious.
I remember a little more about telling it to my family. My teenage daughters were already upset when I arrived home. This was because a schoolmate of theirs had, on that very afternoon, happened to have a very serious accident with life-threatening injuries, Their ability to absorb what I said was depending on these circumstances vanishingly small.
During the time just after the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease I was not especially willing to talk this news over with them again. This led me to keep secrets from them that, later on I would come to regret deeply. One of the main reasons for not telling my two daughters was to protect them.
In the end some years later I understood what they thought about my way of handling the communication. And I can tell you it was way apart. My ambition is to write a separate Memo about all I learnt from that mistake, probably one of my biggest!.
The only ray of hope that came to me during this dark time was the strength of my wife, Agneta. At once she began saying that this diagnosis did not necessarily mean I would get worse. Besides, so much is happening in research these days that it advances by giant steps. Let’s keep calm, she said, things will work out.
Yet, no matter how much I cared for her, the doctor’s negative picture of my future, symbolized by the wheelchair, was much more powerful than hers.
Thus I accepted authority, the doctor in the white coat with the stethoscope around his neck. Just as I had been trained to do. Without realizing it, I was bypassing another scenario, one just as possible and much more positive. Now, body and soul, I had set my sights on sitting in a wheelchair within five
I made a flying start toward this goal, and in just three months was already ahead of the prognosis! My imagination had by then convinced me that I could not move my left arm. Day by day it became more useless and hung beside my body.
My wife, Agneta, challenged me, insisting that the problem with my left arm was only imaginary. She had concluded this on the simple, logical basis that the whole deterioration had occurred since I was told I had Parkinson’s. I myself was convinced that the disease had now got its hooks into me in earnest and there was nothing to do about it.
Luckily for me, Agneta stood her ground.
One day her insistence provoked me so that I flew into a rage. I was just then going up the stairs. I remember halting halfway and turning back toward Agneta, who remained on the ground floor. There I stood; my right arm locked around a tray I was carrying up, braced to defend to the last my right to interpret the signals from my own body. To emphasize this manifesto, I quite unconsciously gesticulated with my left arm, precisely as if I never had the least difficulty moving it!
“But now you’re using it!” I heard Agneta exclaim. Both of us stared first at my suddenly freed arm, and then at each other before we burst into a liberating shout of laughter, mingled with tears, apologies, explanations and excuses.
This aha! experience taught me the first lessons about the huge significance of how we think and what we believe possible or impossible. It led, in turn, to my first tentative steps toward taking an active responsibility for my own situation.
There was another insight that plucked at my attention but in vain, I was then not mature enough to take it in. I only let it knock at the door of my conscious mind. The message I was locking up inside was: “It’s you yourself who are digging this hole deeper, Leif!”
How long it was before I was grown-up enough to take in and acknowledge to myself this self-destructive behavior! By then I had also learned that there is something positive in everything that happens. This enabled me to gain new strength from the event and to turn back from the course I had followed up to that time.
In fact I think that the episode in the staircase, I use to call it “The Wonder in the Staircase” was the point where my quality-of-life-curve changed from decreasing to increasing!
I probably hadn’t made it on my own. I realize I was lucky to have my wife by my side. She saved my life!
The example above shows clearly the immense importance of being aware of and in contact with your inner self! Imagine I nearly made myself lame by just accepting the goal picture of the MD who gave me the diagnose regarding Parkinson’s.
I learnt so much during this period of my life that it gave me the feeling I was at a very special point of my life – A turning point.
Most of my thinking regarding self awareness, reality, control of life etc. was questioned and in many cases turned upside down. I can still recall some of
those moments - moments when I got a new reality.
Below you find a model that hopefully will help you to a better understanding of the interesting matters we have presented in this Memo.
Notes and questions about the model:
The only thing other people can see, know of, react to is your Action.
How will that impact on your way of communication?
There is a gradual shift when we go from Attitudes to Beliefs as well as
when going on to Basic Values. How do you define the three terms?
Which condition (mental, mood) are you normally in?
Which condition (mental, mood) do your relatives observe?
Do you consciously try to change your condition?
Does the condition of a person in any way influence on her/his
cooperation with others, success of career, number of friends and quality of