Since my diagnosis I have made the transition from feelings of disbelief, claustrophobia, agitation, confusion and mourning to a calmness of thought, acceptance, understanding and recognition of space to be me. Three different types of “fuel” have powered this transition. First, realising that even within Parkinson’s my mind is free to react in a helpful way to what is happening to me. Second, Parkinson’s is part of my thrownness and as such nobody is to blame; I have Parkinson’s but I am not responsible for the possession. This has diffused the self-defeating rage at the diagnosis. Third, I am open to seeing all sides of the problems I face; my stammer and depression have had a positive influence on my life by teaching me how to cope with my Parkinson’s. In turn, I am grateful to my Parkinson’s for teaching me this insight. Problems are three-dimensional shapes that can be handled and not an impenetrable fog that surrounds us.
These “fuels” are all tapped from the same source, the Heideggerian principle of a potentiality-for-being. When we were thrown into the world the throw had momentum; after we were born we continued to develop into children, teenagers and adults. It is crucial to recognise, as part of your thrownness, this potential for further being and the continuation of the momentum generated by being born. In other words, during life there is always something left to do. Parkinson’s may modify the momentum but it doesn’t stop the potential for further being and further opportunities to choose, learn and develop.