How Writing Can Help People With Parkinson’s
This week on the podcast, we’re talking about writing as a life skill. Learning to access your own inherent creativity can be a powerful tool for any of us dealing with challenge and change. For folks with Parkinson’s in their lives, it can offer both physical and emotional benefits.
Science agrees! Studies and reputable sources tell us that writing and other forms of creative expression can reduce stress, help with sleep, improve cognition, improve your mood, help manage symptoms of depression, lower blood pressure, improve lung and liver functioning and decrease time spent in the hospital.
Beyond the more measurable benefits, I believe — because I’ve experienced it and seen it over and over — that learning to access that beautiful creative space we all have can bring balance and even peace when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It can help us change our relationship with Parkinson’s Disease, or any of life’s challenges, by giving us a safe and healthy place to express our feelings and thoughts, explore our inner life, find perspective and guide us toward a way to move through those dark times. Often, acknowledging what you’re experiencing by simply writing it down is a critical first step towards healing.
If we take it to the next level, there are even more benefits to be found. When we are courageous enough to share our expressions, we all benefit. Stories bind us. They reveal our shared humanity through humour, drama and vulnerability. Writing about our worst and best moments and everything in between can light the way and inspire others dealing with pain or adversity…which is all of us, really. Offering glimpses into our inner lives gives us in the Parkinson’s community an opportunity to support and strengthen each other.
However you choose, express yourself! If you feel compelled, share it with others. No matter what, it’s good for you and time well spent. Who knows? Writing those first few words can be a step on a new path towards greater wellness.
This week’s show notes were contributed by Rebecca Gifford, writer, workshop facilitator, partner in Parkinson’s to this podcast’s creator and host Larry Gifford, and this episode’s co-host. Her memoir, Cancer Happens: Coming of Age with Cancer, was published by Capital Books in 2003. She currently offers her writing workshop for non-writers to people with Parkinson’s and their families through the Parkinson Society of British Columbia.
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Follow me, Larry Gifford
Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmayer
Thank you to our special co-host this week, Rebecca Gifford.
Also, thank you to the following contributors and guests.
David Sangster, follow his “micro-blogging” on twitter @1in37Parkinsonsand his videos on YouTube
Sharon Krischer, follower her blog “Twitchy Woman”
Jonny Acheson, follow him on twitter @pdinfocus
Allan Cole, follow his blog “PD WISE”
Matt Eagles is the creator of ParkyLife
Ellen Bookman, follow her blog “Loving Living”
Heather Kennedy, follow her blog “Kathleen Kiddo”
Ava Butler, author of “Parkinson’s; A Love Story With Dementia For Dessert”
Additional Resources for Parkinson’s Writing:
The Michael J. Fox Foundation Blog “Fox Feed”and a list of additional books and resources
Parkinson’s Life “Eight must-read books about Parkinson’s.”
“Perserverance: The Seven Skills You Need to Survive, Thrive, and Accomplish More Than You Ever Imagined”by Tim Hague
Our presenting partner is Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/
The toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000
Follow them on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada
Find the new Parkinson Clinical Guideline www.parkinsonclinicalguideline.ca
Thanks also to our content and promotional partners
Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation
Spotlight YOPD– The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
Dila Velazquez – Story Producer
Rob Johnston – Sound Design