The Elephant in the Room

I’ve been pondering………

Parkinson’s can sometimes feel like the elephant in the room.

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Sometimes after meeting a friend, I realise that we have discussed life, the kids, the universe, my friend’s health, the health of our respective ageing parents but not my health. I sometimes wonder if I don’t make it easy for people to ask about my health or if the significance Parkinson’s as a progressive, degenerative condition makes it too uncomfortable for some people to acknowledge.

During my pondering, I wondered if some of the other reasons people might not ask me are:

  1. In case I have forgotten that I have Parkinson’s and the question might be an unwelcome reminder.

2. In case I might actually tell it how it is and that could take some time!

3. In case I break down and cry and that would just be plain awkward.

4. That I look well, it is easy to assume that all is well.

5. Because they have forgotten I have Parkinson’s or underestimate the significance of it.

6. Because they have asked my husband instead.

7. Because they may feel too embarrassed or awkward to ask.

8. Because they would rather not know.

9. Because they feel it is not the right time or place.

10. Because there are many more fun things to talk about!

I rarely talk about Parkinson’s unless asked. There are indeed many other more fun things to talk about but Parkinson’s is life changing. It is with me every second of every day and so, whether I like it or not, it has a major impact on my life.

I have lots of friends who ask regularly and I’m touched by their concern. Whether people ask or not, many show their concern, friendship and compassion in other ways. I completely respect that people may choose not to ask but I would urge people not to refrain from asking out of concern for any of the reasons above.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I might be concerned about any or all of the reasons above and avoid the question too. Indeed, I have done at times in the past. But now the shoe is on my foot, I would urge you, if you are interested, to simply ask me. There is rarely a bad time, you won’t be reminding me of something I’ve forgotten, I won’t dissolve into tears, I will try to keep it succinct and we can then move onto more fun topics! I don’t need you to ask every time we see each other but it need not be the elephant in the room either!

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17 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room

  1. What a great read Alison. You are always in our hearts and thoughts. You are an amazing woman with living with Parkinson’s and your cycling. That is why we call you WONDER WOMAN. Sending love from Canada ❤❤ 🇨🇦

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  2. Well put Alison. Even those of us who have been through, or are coping with our own health issues can still feel awkward asking others about theirs – I’ve no idea why! I sometimes wonder if it’s a cultural thing? Anyway I love reading your blog, you definitely have a gift for writing x

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  3. Completely nailed it Alison. Very honest and so true. I don’t mind being asked about you, but I am not always sure I say what you would want me to.

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  4. How have you been today? Does the hot weather make things better or worse for you? (Assuming you’ve had the weather we’ve had today!) xx

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  5. Oh my sentiments exactly on this Allison…totally relate! I look ok so no one asks and it seems when I am open about how it affects me people either stare blankly or Acknowledge what I said with sad eyes. It’s once again the people with extra empathy awareness antennas that ask how have you been doing and or how it affects you. I would say that when people bring up their chronic illness even in a light hearted humorous way most people are not quite sure how to respond to it. Its just generally that Parkinson’s or whatever chronic illness it is is not familiar territory for them.
    Doesn’t stop me from bringing it up though! 😊

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