Coping with depression and anxiety with Parkinson’s

Depression and anxiety are very common problems with Parkinson’s. As many as half of all Parkinson’s patients suffer from clinical depression at some time. Researchers believe that these conditions may be due to underlying changes in brain chemistry and circuitry. I am lucky that I have always been a fairly cheerful person and the diagnosis has not made me feel otherwise. However, I have met a number of people for whom the diagnosis has really changed their lives often making them feel reluctant to venture out of the home and socialise as they have in the past or unwilling to travel. I have to accept that I have become more anxious in some situations and have to work at finding the best ways to cope. For some reason motorway travelling is not my favourite thing but it is hard to disguise your anxiety when your left hand has a mind of its own! Certainly exercise is beneficial in every way both physical and mentally and I always feel uplifted afterwards and more likely to tackle something I have been putting off.

Our local Parkinson’s UK group is going to trial some dance classes based on the format of my London Group which I hope will prove a big success. The mixture of beautiful music and dance is a winning combination. I plan to continue in London while I can and feel so well; shopping in the morning and ballet in the afternoon! I am enjoying the Autumn term with English National ballet and look forward to seeing the new, modern Giselle with the class next month at Sadlers Wells. It is a sell out for all the London dates. Last Saturday we were using sticks in a routine showing the strength of women in the production AND they were the very ones used by the cast – maybe even Tamara Rojo had held mine!

We were in Devon this month, the warm sunny days made it a real treat. We took the boat from Dartmouth to Totnes and walked up the steep high street which reminds me so much of Lewes. We came across a man playing a square guitar and then another with a Siberian owl on his arm, all very quirky.

The owl in Totnes.

The owl in Totnes.

We went back to the D’Oyly Carte house, Coleton Fishacre, near Kingswear, owned by the National Trust, admiring the stunning colours of a late summer border.
At Coleton Fishacre house, near Kingswear in Devon.

At Coleton Fishacre house, near Kingswear in Devon.

At the bottom of the garden is a gate onto the coastal path from where there are stunning views. One day we drove to Slapton Sands where in 1943 a rehearsal for the D-day landings was held. Sadly it went badly wrong and 749 Americans were killed. We lunched at a very old pub called The Tower nearby, the food was great and the staff very friendly. The last afternoon was spent exploring Dartington Hall and the 880 acres of grounds around it. It was so warm that we sat out and admired the views; it felt more like July than October.

November arrives next week; what a lovely Indian Summer we have enjoyed!

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