Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Come Rain or Shine…

5 Comments

rainorshine1

Last weekend, I was at the Bloomsbury festival (as a random member of the roving public). As it happened, the sun shone on the Saturday – when we went to the festival – and the rain poured down on the Sunday, when we went to the Natural History Museum and ultimately were dissuaded from revisiting the festival site by the general dampness.

But this post is not about the weather. Although it may get mentioned again (us Brits like to talk about the weather; it’s safer than politics).

It’s about depression.

My sister and I  had a pleasant, random chat over coffee with a representative of the charity Time to Change, which campaigns against mental health discrimination. He gave me some postcards, but I wasn’t sure who to send them to – so I’m posting them here.

Rear of postcard

Tip 5 of 5: Be patient. Good days and bad days happen.

I have mentioned, in the past (as part of a review of Cecil Todes’ book), that depression is a common symptom of Parkinson’s Disease.

Perhaps now is a good time to talk about this most tricky of topics. I don’t think that I have been unfortunate enough to suffer from Parkinson’s related depression.

It can be very difficult for someone to recognise depression in themselves.

Parkinson’s UK – advice on mental health symptoms

Even so, I don’t think I have thus far. Maybe I’m lucky, and I won’t; I understand that some people are more inclined towards depression than others.

However, I do have an inkling of what depression feels like, because I was diagnosed with “borderline” postnatal depression when I had my second child. I didn’t take any drugs for it, but I was offered the option. I knew something was wrong at the time, and it was helpful to pin it to PND. There were – aren’t there always? – other issues at play. I’d lost my “permanent” job and had lucked into a short term contract that gave me the desired part time hours – but then the contract had ended, earlier than I’d hoped for, and I knew that finding another job that offered me appropriate work with those sort of hours was going to be very difficult indeed. I didn’t want to go back to work straight away, but still the prospect of fruitless job hunting loomed. Then there was the simple reason: I was quite badly deprived of sleep; this second child didn’t seem to “do” sleep for many, many months. And, of course, it was possible, in retrospect, that there was a flash of pre-diagnosis Parkinsonian depresssion there (many Parkinsonians have a history of depression). It’s impossible to know.

Of course, it’s easy to imagine that just knowing you have Parkinson’s might be enough to tip anyone into depression; but that sort of idea is, I think, not terribly helpful. Feeling down about something real, in proportion to the bad thing, is perfectly normal. Clinical depression, as I understand it, would feature a reaction that was entirely out of proportion to the bad thing. It includes disinterest in pretty much everything.

Parkinson’s UK have a leaflet, downloadable here, which discusses Depression and Parkinson’s. The following excerpt describes how depression is more common in Young Onset Parkinson’s:

… having severe Parkinson’s symptoms does not necessarily make someone more likely to get depressed. More important is how those symptoms interfere with the person’s life or threaten to interfere in the future. Perhaps because of this, younger people with Parkinson’s seem to be more at risk of depression than older people. Sadly, the more active a person is, whether in work, hobbies or raising a family, the more they have to lose and the more likely they are to become depressed. However, this does not mean that being active is a bad thing, quite the opposite! Maintaining an active and involved lifestyle is probably the most important protection from depression.

Right. Plan. (Get someone to help) fix that dodgy back wheel on the bike, and go hill walking! After tidying the house and surviving hallowe’en and half term… Maybe I can fit a spot of hill walking in the survival plan.

I like walking the hills … come rain or shine.

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5 thoughts on “Come Rain or Shine…

  1. Really interesting post. I didn’t realise that depression and Parkinson’s were linked. Having also suffered a very down time after the birth of my first son (who didn’t sleep either), I have a small insight and hope that you can continue to avoid it.

  2. Hi

    Thank you for highlighting the link between Parkinson’s and depression. The following is a link to my description of what happened to me when I suffered severe depression (http://dialoguewithdisability.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/breaking-down.html). It is important to recognise the symptom of depression because it can make movement within Parkinson’s even more challenging

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for pointing us to the Parkinson’s UK leaflet discussing depression. I found it quite useful !
    You may want to change the URL as the one you gave seems to have changed. A little research brought me to http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/depression-and-parkinsons-information-sheet . The leaflet can be directly downloaded at http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/download/english/fs56_depressionandparkinsons.pdf

    • Many thanks for pointing that out, Thomas. I have changed the links. This is what happens when I write half a post, ignore it for a bit, and then tag it onto the end of another…

  4. My consultant dished out antidepressants very willingly stating the link with PD but I too am inclined to think exhaustion, stress and a young family are big factors too.

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