I've finally got round to joining the forum five years after being told I had Parkinson's.
My way of dealing with the diagnosis was to just carry on as normal so time has gone by and it's all been a bit of a blur really - only after stopping work six months ago did I feel the fog was clearing a little, and I've had more time to ponder my situation.
I have often looked at the forum and found it reassuring that there is always someone with a problem/issue similar to my own, so I hope I will now be able to share some of my experiences.
I worked as a local newspaper journalist for more than 30 years both as a freelance and on staff, and was able to carry on after diagnosis but, despite support from my employer, I could feel my output steadily declining.
I am now going through the process of claiming ESA which I find quite stressful. I have just been sent a face-to-face interview date for mid-August. Does anyone have any tips on what to say and what not to say?
I can't help feeling that people still look down on you when you say you're on benefits. But hey, I've paid NI for nearly 40 years and carried on working for as long as I possibly could. Why would I choose to be on benefits when at work I could earn more in a week than I get in a month on ESA?
My 'therapy' is playing lots of tennis, dog walking and yoga, which is working well, but I couldn't see myself going back to a 9-5 job again.
I'm 58 and married with three grown up children, all still living at home at the moment which I love.