Depression and Balancing Life

A person might experience depression at any time during the journey with Parkinson's Disease, even before diagnosis. Depression in PD is due to chemical imbalances in the brain. I have had Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease since 2011. Maybe my symptoms of depression were not diagnosed earlier. The symptoms of depression might come and go and are commonly overlooked and underrated. We need to be aware of the symptoms so that when we experience them they can be treated effectively. I had irritability, emotional disturbances and mood swings. Nobody told me that after DBS there will be mood changes, behavioural changes, emotional disturbances. No one around me understood me. One fine day I lost interest in everything which I previously used to enjoy; art, going out with my friends even. I did not want to speak to anybody. I couldn't speak to anybody. I felt helpless and lonely. I didn't realise this is depression. Nobody around me noticed too, even though I’m surrounded by doctors. One fine day I did not want to live. I started talking irreverently. I went into delusions. Then, I sought medical help. My brother and parents brought me to Bangalore for treatment as I needed constant monitoring. I couldn't remember what happened for four days of my life. It's a blur. That was scary. I’m still under medical care. The non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's are indeed the worst to deal with. Stress increases the symptoms.  We have to be screened by a specialist every year. Mood changes to be discussed with a health care provider. Sometimes not giving up is easier said than done, especially when you feel alone and abandoned. Don’t give up. You may feel your friends and family have abandoned you, but in reality, they do not understand your journey. But we have to move on and make new friends with PD who understand us better. Parkinson's Disease causes grief but we can live life to the fullest despite what we feel we are robbed of. It is not a death sentence and we can live joyfully by adopting a few lifestyle changes. Life is about balance. So be aware of the symptoms, seek professional help immediately and you can live the life you want. 

Dr. Shanthipriya Siva is consultant ophthalmologist by profession. She was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease 10 years ago at the age of 36. After diagnosis she has expanded her talents as a writer, a model, an artist. She is an Ambassador for the World Parkinson Congress in 2023 and is the founder of the SAARfoundation in Chennai, India, which provides a holistic approach to living well with Parkinson’s Disease.
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