Stress at work


I wondered if anyone could offer me some perspective.

I’m 47 and was diagnosed with PD a few months ago. I was doing ok until last week when I got completely overwhelmed with stress at work. I often have to manage some very difficult customer behaviour (i.e. verbal abuse) as part of my job and it feels like I just can’t do it anymore. I had a bit of a meltdown.

I honestly can’t tell if my recent stress levels are caused by PD or caused by my job. Or a bit of both. Even mild stress makes me shaky. I feel like I’m going to have to change job.

It’s early days for me and I haven’t received any treatment yet, so maybe things will improve when I see my neurologist next week.

Does PD make some people extra sensitive to stress?

Thanks for reading


Hi Ali,
I was diagnosed 61/2 years ago which was a total shock. I started meds 3 years later. One thing you will note from the forum is that everyone is so different. I too work in a stressful environment where I deal with the general public and staff (the latter can be worse). I work full time, drive and pretty much continue as before (apart from some annoying dystonia symptoms - brought on by meds and back pain as a result). I would suggest you don’t make any hasty decisions about work (unless you wish to change jobs) as it is relatively early days for you and you will find a way of managing these symptoms. Stress in any form I find does exacerbate my symptoms and medication does help this. I haven’t told many of my diagnosis and again we’re all different and some will not agree with this. I have always kept fit throughout my life and I believe this has gone in my favour (I currently work out and then walk before work) which I believe has slowed my symptoms. If your consultant suggests meds (this can be commenced as a mild dosage), you may find this helps.
Good luck with everything, keep in touch!

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Hello Alli,
I have the same problem or rather to say worse than you. I don’t need mild stress, for me everything is stress. Even when I talk with someone who looking to me (as normal people do) or looking in my hands when I typing or doing something, tremor started really bad. I don’t know what to do :expressionless:

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Thanks Bracken, I really appreciate your message.

Hi Martina, I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks for sharing, I can totally relate.

Hello Ali_7
I see you have already had a couple of replies, so you will begin to understand that stress and anxiety are features that are common in Parkinson’s. For me reacting as I do these days to stress is the single symptom that I have most trouble with because even 13 years post diagnosis, it still doesn’t feel like me.
The first time it happened I was due at a training day at my place of work, with colleagues I worked with every day. It was an annual refresher by trainers who had run the course for the previous three years and I was there because it was mandatory basic training, but my job involved complex cases so it was usually quite a boring day for me. I was at my desk catching up on some administrative in that strange half an hour between arriving at work and the course starting when I became aware of a growing feeling I couldn’t go into the training room. It made no sense but the feeling just grew and eventually I went into my manager who clearly saw something wasn’t right and gave me a work at-home day. A week or so later I happened to see my consultant who said it was a stress related response. To say I was stunned was an understatement.
I too had a pressured job and what I called heavy duty conversations were an everyday part of that job. I continued for another two years but then had an unexpected opportunity to take voluntary redundancy which coincided when for me personally the strain was beginning to cause me problems. That’s when I left work. A decision I have never regretted. I didn’t actually realise the level of stress I was carrying until it wasn’t there any more.
It’s not an easy thing to manage. Over time I came to recognise the types of situations likely to cause stress and take action to minimise that risk. There is a need to be careful though, because l can easily not do something or go somewhere under the guise of it being stressful when in actual fact it is an easy to use excuse. Over time to I developed a range of coping strategies which mostly contain the worst of my stress but the don’t come with 100% guarantee and sometimes let me down. I’ve grown to accept that’s just how it is.
I would agree with Bracken about not making hasty decisions about work. Bracken also mentioned about telling people and this can be a big thing in relation to work. My own view is that people can only tell others when the time is
right for them and they must choose who they tell and what they say etc. My own way was to be open from the beginning once I had a formal diagnosis. It stopped people second guessing or wondering what’s up because chances are even if you think you’re keeping everything normal, all sorts of non verbal cues connected with communication leak out and it is virtually impossible to stop this happening. With regard to work however if your employer is aware you can get support to help you stay in your post. I don’t know your view on this but it is important you know where you stand and if you haven’t already done so this is a good place to start.

I think I’m right in saying you don’t actually have to tell them it’s Parkinson’s but please check that.

It’s not an easy symptom to live with, but then none of them are, and stress can as you have found, rock you to your boots. Hopefully you will begin to recognise as I did, triggers that allow a bit of forward planning and give some coping strategies that work most of the time. If you can try to keep a sense of proportion- I can’t always stop it but if I can recognise I’m being irrational because I’m stressed I know it’s a temporary state that will pass. For some reason I find that reassuring.
I hope you can find some ways to manage this difficult symptom both at work and in your personal life.
Best wishes

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I am going through the same yes, and think it adjustment to 02/05/2023 diagnosis. Give yourself some time and get support as I have would be my advice. It may also be pd but either ways very understandable Mark

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Thanks so much Tot

Thanks everyone for the support.

Hi again
Just wanted to send an update, all your replies were so useful and helped me start to cope again. I spoke to my GP, my manager, and occupational health, I got some adjustments at work and I’m on a waiting list for some counselling. I’m feeling a lot better.
I’m grateful for your supportive words here on the forum,
Take care


living with parkinson’s since 2012 , diagnosed at 32yo. been through streass at work ands i ended up insane for two years until i got duodopa to get my mental health under control.

Lesson that i learent, your anti depression medicine are as important if not more, than parkinsons medicine.
because depression is part of parkinson. The levodopa (dopamine) med that we aoll take, where it improves your physical symtoms, it also gives you hyper brain activity which means when something bothers you, its hard to get your minde off it, thats what leads to compulsive behaviour.

Giving up my job was the only way for me to move forward,.

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Hello, only just saw your message. Glad to hear you were able to get your mental health under control. The side effects of the meds sound kind of difficult to deal with too. Thanks for sharing your experience of anti depressants and PD meds. It’s given me something to think about.
Take care dude