We have a choice to fly anywhere in our emotional landscape. All we need is a means of getting there. At the time of my diagnosis I came across an emotionally broken down plane that had been grounded at the first sign of my Parkinson’s symptoms in 2005. Since then the plane had been left in an increasing state of disrepair. It looked like it would never fly again.

I had learnt over many years to repair, as best I could, other emotional planes in my fleet damaged by stammering and depression so I had some of the parts ready to repair the plane I found. With the guidance of my therapist Angela, I set to work. First, I noticed how the diagnosis had closed me down, as if my future had become uncontrollable. I was also bracing myself for the sudden impact of Parkinson’s but I realised it gradually seeps into you. I needed a long term strategy; stammering and depression had closed me down in my past so I tentatively knew what to do this time. I carefully began to unfold myself. The idea of thrownness removed the impediment of blame (my susceptibility to Parkinson’s is part of the state in which I was thrown into the world and this configuration was beyond conscious control), making the resulting openness wider. I then filled this openness with the space to choose. I chose to accept Parkinson’s for what it is: a part of my thrownness and not the whole of me. I chose to see the space within my disease that remained for me.

This further allowed me the freedom to see the positive influence my stammer and depression have had on my life; they taught me how to cope with the challenge of Parkinson’s. This told me I am able to ground myself anywhere I like (even in the positive ground of stammering and depression) and it is not necessary to plant myself in negative ground.

This is the positive progression of my Parkinson’s. I am making good progress repairing that plane; it will soon be ready for flying…

dr jonny