The YOPD Council discusses changing careers and finding more meaning after diagnosis
Receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis when you’re young is overwhelming enough as it is. Add the need to exercise daily, attend a variety of medical appointments, and focus on your mental health to an already busy work schedule and it can feel like too much. Plus, if you don’t love your current career path, or you do but the demands exceed your energy and ON time, the possibility of changing careers or shifting roles at your age might feel like a pipe dream. But it’s not.
One of the things that nobody ever tells you when you get a Parkinson’s diagnosis is how much of your time will be spent managing medications, adhering to schedules, and tracking side effects and symptoms. Hint: It’s a lot.
Approximately 50-60% of people living with Parkinson’s experience varying levels of depression and anxiety, and nearly all deal with loss. During this YOPD Council session, the eight members of our Council discussed how they have dealt with depression and anxiety; strategies that have worked and those that haven’t to get into a better headspace; tools for managing feelings of loss, how to communicate issues of mental health to friends, family, and care teams; how to manage anticipatory grief in yourself and others; and more.
As Parkinson’s care partners know well, everyone living with Parkinson’s experiences OFF times differently. (OFF times occur when their medication wears off, hasn’t kicked in, or just isn’t providing symptom relief.) For some, especially those who have been diagnosed for only a few years, OFF periods may be rare and a minor concern. For others, OFF can be a frequent and debilitating experience. No matter what stage of Parkinson’s your loved one is in, you can help them navigate OFF times so they can get back to feeling their best.
Feature by Steve Hovey, Davis Phinney Foundation YOPD Council Leader