I don’t think my symptoms got worse the instant I was told; the act of telling someone they have Parkinson’s doesn’t create or deepen the disease in them. The thing that changed was the awareness of the prognosis of Parkinson’s; it wasn’t the labelling of my symptoms that was important, it was knowledge of how they would get worse in the future. This made my symptoms too important to me in such a way that I obsessively monitored and interpreted each fluctuation in their severity as a prelude to my decline. Soon, my symptoms and the worst possible interpretation of them was all I could see. I cared too much about the prognosis until it became hyper-real and certain.
Prognosis means predicting the likely outcome of a disease. Can we ever know the future? The prognosis of Parkinson’s allowed me to build an elaborate and detailed future that was made out of nothing, merely thin prediction and likelihood. I became lost in this empty “future” and as a result missed my present circumstances as a whole. To escape the prison of a non-existent “future” you have to break it at the source; you have to declare, I don’t care about my symptoms. Try to recapture the feeling pre-diagnosis of the symptoms lived in day by day, naked without the empty finery of a prognosis.
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s is very difficult emotionally because it stretches you into a non-existent future. Due to its non-existence, you are powerless to change this “future”. Seeing the symptoms in the context of now, which means caring a little less about them, ensures you remain in the present.