I was thinking recently about the many times over the past five years when I have told a friend or acquaintance that I have Parkinson’s and the varied responses I have received. For the most part, I’ve had a huge amount of support, and compassionate responses when I tell anyone. I understand that it can be difficult to know what to say. As with everything else sometimes we get it just right and sometimes we don’t. The responses below offer some insights into the reactions of others. Enjoy them, they are all absolutely true.
Laughing out loud may not be a typical response, but when I shared the news with some of my best friends, we all laughed and laughed until we were crying with laughter. It was absolutely the most appropriate response with this lovely group of girls. All of us knew what the diagnosis meant, none of us knew what to say, so we did what we always do when we’re together and laughed until our sides hurt.
Disbelief / Denial
I told a friend who replied that it couldn’t be true because I was too young. Promising to get in touch in the next couple of weeks, I haven’t heard from her in five years.
‘Don’t tell anyone because people will think about you and treat you differently’
‘I have tinnitus. You can’t begin to imagine how awful it is. There is absolutely nothing worse……’
Words of Wisdom
‘Be kind to yourself, look after yourself and do something every day, no matter how small, that makes you smile.’
By far the most common response I’ve had. No words needed. This action says it all.
Often accompanied by a hug.
‘What do you need from me?’
‘Tell me what I can do to help.’
‘I’m here if you need me.’
‘Oh, F***, Oh F***, Oh F***ety F***!!!’
Missed the Point
‘How long will it take you to recover?
‘You’re lucky! Of all the progressive degenerative neurological conditions, this is the one to have.’
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