Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

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Temporary Tremor Control

I have the possibility of a job interview coming up (that’s all it is: a possibility). Thing is, last time I had a job interview – it was before my diagnosis was confirmed, and also before medication – I couldn’t stop my leg shaking and it looked as if I was completely and utterly terrified. (I was a bit nervous, but no more than you might expect for a job interview.) It was one of those ‘relaxed’ interviews, on comfy chairs set around a coffee table, so the wobbly knee was definitely on display. I’d been able to control my left arm by holding it with the right, but the leg had eluded me.

After I was rejected, I ‘phoned up for feedback and one of the reasons they gave me was that I seemed to be too nervous and that they didn’t think I’d be up to the (limited) customer interaction involved in the role.

So, anyway, that was the last one. What can I possibly do about the next one, if it happens? I don’t want a repeat – even though it’s a different type of role, and is, in fact, likely to have nothing whatsoever to do with customers, I still don’t want to shake uncontrollably during the interview.

I could tell the interviewers, of course – and that is an option I’m considering, but only if necessary. This is for a temporary role – a 3 month contract – and I went so far as to ask the employment agent (with whom I have a good working relationship) for advice. This meant confiding in her, of course. She seemed fairly unphased, and asked the important question: would it affect my work? It’s a desk job, using computers. No, I said. Well, she told me, I don’t think you should mention it, not for a short-term contract.

So, when I saw my physiotherapist on Monday, I asked her if she had any advice. She had two suggestions:

  • Pressure: applying pressure to the affected limb may hide or prevent the tremor.
  • Relaxation: using yoga techniques (breathing, stretches) may also help.

I shall have to try out methods that might work in an interview situation. It may even be that something as simple as crossing my right leg over the left might do the trick…

When I thought about it, I realised that I already use the pressure idea at night. I often find that my left arm – particularly the hand – shakes when I’m in bed trying to go to sleep. So I lay on my left hand side with my left arm behind me, as straight as I can make it. It’s not very comfortable, but it does seem to work. It squashes my shoulder and I suppose it may also be a sort of passive stretch. After a while, the tremor subsides and I roll over to sleep on my other side.