This, our second meeting, had some surprises. The chief one was that, although the number of women attending was about the same, this meeting was the first for half of the attendees. Our numbers are growing but not everyone can make every meeting. The second surprise was our spacious new meeting place. It was comfortable and private and should serve our purpose quite nicely.
After each woman introduced herself, the group focused on the main topic for the November meeting which was set to be depression. Several women shared their personal stories about fighting depression and how they had learned in retrospect that it is can be an early symptom, along with anxiety, of Parkinson’s Disease (so that’s why I was so anxious way back then). Those who had experienced depression talked about crying, not being productive and being tired before seeking out professional help. There’s obviously a difference between being sad and being clinically depressed. If you aren’t sure which you have, seek help. One woman told about a prescription she was given that was ineffective for her. Cognitive therapy worked better for her.
As far as dealing with issues of sadness, members discussed things they do to help themselves feel better. One woman loves to dance and thrives on music. Putting on favorite music and dancing around her home helps lift her mood. Someone else spoke about spending time with her grandchildren. But another asked, “What if your personal interests involve being outside the home, like travel, and you are homebound?”. This launched a lively conversation about traveling, good and bad trips and how to travel with PD. A member who had traveled to Turkey found the people welcoming and helpful of her and her wheelchair.
One of our first-time attendees is facing the double whammy of PD and another medical condition. She was curious about whether symptoms were due to PD, her other condition or both. A member of the group asked about how big a role genetics played in PD because she was concerned about her children getting it. The group provided what information they had learned about genes that dispose people to PD. Time passed quickly. The facilitator read the list of potential topics generated at the first meeting and asked what the group wanted to discuss in December. The consensus was that all of the topics were of interest so any one would be fine.