Sometimes it can be easy to forget that we – the people with the diagnosis – are not the only ones going through this life changing experience.
I was talking to my cousin today and we were discussing how alike we are in many ways and what we need from our partners when we are unwell. She talked about how she wants someone to maybe make a bit of a fuss of her and check in she is OK when she is sick. Her partner, however, likes to be left alone and doesn’t like any fuss. It got me thinking about mine and my husband’s different ways of dealing with stress and/or illness.
I am by nature a person who likes to talk about how I feel and what I need from my husband in any situation. If I am sick, I like someone to show some concern, but not to smother me. My husband on the other hand pretty much gets on with it, but doesn’t seek any help from me, other than perhaps not being able to find where I hid the Paracetamol!
With this diagnosis, I know that I need to talk to people about it. I share my thoughts and feelings through this Blog and also by talking to people I trust in my life to support me. My husband, however, is not much of a talker and definitely an introvert. So, although he will usually know exactly how I feel – because I tell him straight out – I often have to try to guess with him. Not that I think he is deliberately trying to hide his feelings from me, but that perhaps he doesn’t quite know how to go about talking about his feelings as it is not naturally something he would necessarily do.
I think if you are a couple affected by Parkinson’s – and have different ways of dealing with emotions and stress – that each needs to learn how their partner usually thinks and expresses themselves. Perhaps I need to talk a little less to my partner about what I am going through, so that I don’t increase his stress? Perhaps he needs to talk to me a little more, so that I know how he is feeling and can support him in a way that he is comfortable with?
Both of us talked recently about how we are trying to manage Parkinson’s intrusion into our lives. Both of us have it in common that we try to live in the here and now and not to think too far in the future. The ‘what-if’s’. However, both of us admitted to each other that we have a certain amount of fear for what awaits us in the future. We try not to dwell on it, but for both of us it is something that pops up unbidden from time to time.
The future – if we focus on it – is unsure and scary if we focus on it too much. But, who knows what advances in science are ahead that could make this journey better for all of us?
I for one will do my best to support my husband in any way that I can do to acknowledge his part in this journey. Sometimes, perhaps my own worries about myself and the effect this condition will have on me, can at times get in the way of acknowledging and supporting my husband’s part in this.
I am not alone in this and I need to be aware of that constantly, so that I don’t forget that my main support needs me to be his too!