Mental Health Awareness Week

Here in the UK the past week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and I would like to reflect on a couple of things that caught my attention.

The first thing is to be prepard to show your vulnerability. Many of us hold things back not allowing others to see how difficult our lives are. Sharing our problems often allows others to see our human side. It rarely diminishes us in their eyes but takes away the burden to be strong all the time. It can open up a network of compassion.Showing your own vulnerability can allow others to share their own.

Linked to this we should remember that we are a social animal(or perhaps a social animal in waiting if a teenager). Our wellbeing is often linked to how well our relationships are working. This is not just relationships with partners but friends and colleagues. These are so important to us. Not only do they help improve our well being  but also may assist our physical as well as mental health.

There is a cause and effect between relationships and mental health that goes both ways . When one is depleted the other suffers and  struggling in a relationship this can make our mental health worse, and when our mental health declines we can find ourselves struggling in relationships. We need to break this cycle

An individual who is depressed is likely to become very introspective and self-focused. Contact with normal social networks at home and work starts to decline. At first it is the peripheral relationships that suffer but before long this starts to have an impact on central core relationships, with close friends and family. A depressed person finds it hard to make space in their life for friends and it can be hard for friends to find a way in. Low mental health doesn’t just impact the individual but also on the entire social group within which they operate.

Problems in a relationship can severely deplete mental wellbeing. Most of us assume things will just get better and often it does. It is important to stay mindful of how your personal psychological wellbeing is being affected and to seek help if things are not resolving fairly quickly.

One of the key ways we can look to lessen the effects of pressure and low mood is to seek out relationships to nourish the networks that we already have. It is important at times of strain to make time and space for yourslf and social network.  Reaching out to people just to keep your social network alive is an important part of maintaining your own wellbeing and making tough times easier to handle. Making a point of emailing someone you have a light-touch relationship with can help that relationship flourish, for example, by deciding to share more about yourself. We seem to have come full circle. There is rarely one answer to mental health issues everything is interlinked.

Another area to look at is the relationship with ptets and I will be posting about that within the next ten days. There will also be a follow upomn the sleep blog as well.

So bye for now but any comments please post them here.

 

 

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Sleeping for Health and Serenity

One thing I have noticed is that for many of us sleeping is our biggest issue. It is a complex issue and problems can be caused by Parkinson’s. the medication or by factors that could affect any. Tiredness is curently the biggest threat to my wellbeing. It makes work harder and in fact everything harder

So I want us to band together and share our experiences so we can learn from them. The good, the bad and the ugly. I must ask one thing please post a comments on here. I need to keep them together. Anything you wish to share please share it here.  Contributions requested from partners as well as those of us with Parkinson’s.

Something we all know cheese is a bad thing to eat late in the evening.- it cotains amino acids that can keep you awake and is very hard on your digestion.

Something you may not know- Lettuce contains the natural sedative lactucarium which encourages deeper sleep.You can also heat crisp lettuce in stir fries.

So please help me help all of us share your stories and successes.

Thank you.

Jon

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Walking to Wellbeing

Walking is good for you. It is official because I said so. Being a bit more serious now, walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to incorporate in your daily routine. There are several health benefits improved mood, weight loss, improved stamina. As well as the physical there are also mental health benefits. Helping to improve self esteem, ward off anxiety and even combat mild depression. World Health Organisation advises walking 10,000 steps a day can significantly improve your health.

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While I was spending the afternoon with family at a small Cornish town of Lostwithiel. I wandered off for a while with my camera and found a nice quiet path alongside the local river.I often take my camera just snapping away but today was a special day as later on in my blog I will show photographic evidence to prove Lostwithiel does have “hotbottomed women”

I set off walking down the road and tried to take some photo of small buds, leaves and flowers in closeup mode. My theory that perhaps my tremor and the oscilations of the plants in the wind might cancel eat other out proving forlorn.

 

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I walked along the path and passed a woman with a dog walking the opposite way. The dog was wet from swimming in the river but was obviously enjoying the walk. Then I noticed my evidence so I took a photo.

 

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Conclusive proof there are  either hot bottomed women there or vandels. I know which one I believe but it does supply a clear warning of the damage that can occur if you ignite your farts whilst sitting on something wooden. I continued down the path and found a style and unfortunately whilst getting my leg over I noticed a no entry sign.

 

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So I turned around and wondered back down the path to the obligatory unexplained copper sculpture looking strangely out of place.

 

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After acouple more photos i wandered back satisfied. Walking had improved my mental and physical wellbeing and as a bonus also exercised my childish sense of humour.

 

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Community

I recently spotted a competition on a rhyming website I sometimes use called Rhymezone. Enthralled by the challenge and not all all swayed by the ten $500 dollar prizes.The theme was community and in my poem I consideredthe changes wrought by technology and different lifestyles to traditional communities and the opportunities technology creates.

Community is obsolete
.
Community is obsolete
Downfall is almost complete
We don’t interact with neighbours
Making effort too much labour
.
Community is in demise
Causes we can analyse
In a modern world we spread our wings
Less interested in local surroundings
                                                                                                                                                                                  Community is out of date
Technology seals its fate
Interact more with our devices
Interpersonal skills never suffices
Community is not dead yet
Without its benefits we would regret
It’s collectivity does support
Its still alive we can retort
Community is about identity
It is not just locality
Opportunities with technology exist
Build online and communities persist
Community can stay alive
Common purpose helps them thrive
Social network can prevent isolation
Mutual support our destination
Community still has a place
In changing world and  human race
Internet support groups for health condition
Strengthens resolve provides ammunition
Community is more diverse
It connections can traverse
Across borders, continents
Sharing thinking and kind intents
Community is our future
Even if joined by computer
We are all stronger when together
Live by sharing cast off the tether
.
I am lucky to be involved with several communities on line and I would like to take the opportunity to thank some of those responsible.The first community is catchily named The Young People with Parkinson’s in Cornwall( formerly known as YOPs). For years the local branches of Parkinson’s Uk had pondered the lack of involement of us Parkinson’s youngsters. To no avail until the arrival of Sue and John from the Midlands. Johnhad found the support of a local group in the Midlands to be just what he need to help him come to terms with his Parkinson’s. With his wife Sue a dynamo of perpetual motion able to take on more committee roles than most could contemplate theyset about creating a working age group here. They brought a lot of us here educated us and provided support networks that has evolved to a community organised around a Facebook page.
David Sangster another Parkinson’s community initiater took a different approach.He uused Google and Google hangouts to bring people with Parkinson’s.His group now not only Nationwide but also with participation outside the UK has emerged as a proactive and positive group. Both groups mentioned so far allow Parkinson’s People and partners to Network with people who understand, spreading knowledge and providing support.
Another lady of note is HeidiReynolds. Her Heidi Parkie Reynolds Facebook page promotes keeping Parkinson’s at bay by maintaining fitness with exercise, promotes health and blends it with positivity. Ray Wegrzyn who worked for 19 years after being dignosed(a reecord as far as I am awre) has started a charity Parkinson’s Equip a charity thatwill provide grants of funds to assist People with Parkinson’s take up sporting or creative pursuits which help so much in well being. Their website maybe found at http://parkinsonsequip.org.uk/parkinsonsequip/index.php
I will just again mention Rhymezone who prompted the inspiration for this blog.They lso have forums where you can post poetry and share it with others. It has a knowledgible, talented and welcoming community of poets. If you write poetry have a look.
If you like poetry please Email me on Jonbest13@gmail.com  and arrange to buy a copy of the Cornish Moods Poetry book. Full details are in my previous blog.
So just to finish online communities with modern communication allow us to network like never before. So why not see if you can benefit, there is nothing to lose.

Cornish Moods

Hi Everyone I would like to welcome you all to my blog and announce that from 18 to 24 April 2016 is Parkinson’s UKs National Awareness week. This blog is to promote the event and to keep you informed of my contribution.After talking to some fellow people with Parkinson’s last year I realised hat they wanted awareness but findit hard to cope with discriptive information about the disease. Although not sharing their concern I do understand it so this year I decided to produce a small volume of poetry from contributions made by people with Parkinson’s living in Cornwall. The idea being to demonsttrate how common the condition is by celebrating the talents of some of us affected.

                                  

This has developed into the book Cornish Moods which I am selling to raise awareness and funds. I have initally had 100 copies printed and am selling copies for £3.50(plus Postage and packing if necwssary). Each book will raise £1 for the Cornish branches of Parkinson UK.  The book contains 22 poems including three each from Rob Bristol of Liskeard and L Kay Cotton of Cambourne. The remaining 16 are from me. The front and cover photographs were photographs I took of connected Cornish subjects. The front showing the wavesbreaking on a Cornish beach and the rear the bright cheerfulness of the yellow gorse flower resplendant throughout Cornwall when in season..

 

This book is very much a pilot. A trial to show what is possible if we work together and I hope it will continue next year with contributions from a greater number of people.The poetry is quite common amongst those with Parkinson’s I believe not due to a Parkinson’s side affect but circumstance. Parkinson’s UK have a poetry section in their yearly Mervyn Peake Arts awards. Poetry has become inportant to some People with Parkinson’s for communication as it gives them a voice. Others use it as personal therapy.Some for the sheer enjoyment creativity provides. I have even seen one person usng the reciting of his poem with emphasis on the intonation to calm his dyxkinesias a side effect from the medication. Poetry can also help to keep the mind active an exercise that assists in keeping Parkinsons dementsia at bay.
If you would like a copy of Cornish Moods please email me me at jonbest13@gmail.com and we will arrange things fom there.Please look out for events happening in awareness week and give them your support. If you live in Cornwall please watch out for an article about Cornish Moods in the local paper the Cornish Guardian. Please follow my blog if you can as there are more blogs planned for awareness week.  Finally I will finish with a poem called Take Control written recently so not part of Cornish Moods.
Take Control

I have a message of some import
To help when you are out of sort
I doesn’t need a drum roll
Just two words Take control
With Parkinson’s we still have choice
Look inside and find your voice
From your heart it is still whole
Just two words take control.
Try something new and refresh
Add hope to life it can enmesh
Refuse Parkinson’s parole
Just two words take control
Opportunities still exist
Look out for them and persist
Godd for you good for the soul
Justtwo words take control
If you can stay positive
It can be a good way to live
Give yourself a personal goal
Just two words take control

Shuttlecocks, Mussels, and Photography Challenge

Sunday was a great day. A day of energy and sport. I must admit I don’t cover the court at Badminton as I used to but on the plus side don’t get in my partners way either. I did get in the way of the shuttlecock though and was hit on the for head holding my racquet up a second too late.Hand and eye co-ordination sounds simple but the phrase disguises the need to include the rest of your body. Hand and eye co-ordination also had to include my shoulder and elbow.

After lunch I dropped my daughter to her Mums and thought about the afternoon.I have things to do on the computer but if I start now I might not get the benefit of the weather. So I grab my camera and walk towards Par Beach taking a few photos on the way.

 

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Anyway carried on walking until I got to the beach. with a band of gorse surrounding it but the golden yellow of the gorse flower sporadic as the flower seems to be past its best. The air is hazy but it is warm in the sun with a pleasant gentle breeze. The tide is strikingly absent leaving a large expanse of sand on one side of me. The docks on the other.

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I wandered over the beach and took some pictures.There were a few people walking dogs but they were sparsely spread across the beach. Next photo is for the girls Muscles on the beachDSCN3490[1]

Sorry meant Mussells on the beach.

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As I was taking photos I tried to take less obvious pictures than the usual beach landscapes.I even just took pictures of the sand.

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So I thought I would issue a challenge.Who can take the most interesting Beach photograph.Open to anyone anywhere with Parkinson’s. Just email the picures to me with details of where and what they are and who took them on what date. Send them by 1 November 2016 and I will reward my favourite with a £10 Amazon voucher. Photos should be sent to jonbest323@gmail.com. .

Creative Writing Meeting with Parkinson’s UK

This week has been very rewarding.I was invited to a meeting in London by Parkinson’s UK with the agenda of looking at how creative writing by people with Parkinson’s can be supported.

I set off on Wednesday morning in what I thought was good time. Only after missing the train did I check to realise my watch was 3 minutes slow. The train pulled into the station as I approached now running the last part. I made it to the bridge but stumbled on the steps tripping and grazing my knuckles. I got up and got to the otherside of the bridge at the top and heard the doors lock. So that was it  Two days later a kind friend suggested I should have leapt off the bridge onto the roof of the train and held on until the next station.I pointed ot he seemed to have .me confused with James Bond. An easy mstake to make as any blind person in the dark will tell you.
I had to buy a new ticket but couldn’t help grinning as the lady behind me berated the ticket booth for making me pay again. The next train was cancelled and the following train delayed. Once on that train found there were other problems ahead but as the tannoy system was broken a conductor had to find the London passengers and tell them individually. As soon as I arrived in Plymouth it was off the train and onto a coach to Exeter. They did not seem to want to hold the train though so  with a sense of deja vue I ran across the top of the bridge and releasing my inner James Bond I leapt over—-.-, Only kidding. I yelled and they held the train. My inner James Bond .is a bit more health and safety than Daniel Craig.The train door was slammed shut behind me with a grunt of displeasure by a e member of staff. The rest of the journey went smoothly.
The following day after a relaxing evening I walked from my accommodation to the Parkinson’s UK headquarters.I met the man in charge a man whose name conjured up images of a professional magician and  his colleague who could assume the role of glamorous assistant. They cast their spells and gave us a day full of ideas and inspiration. The range of talent in the room was excellent.Poets, writers of short, stories, plays, childrens books etc. The day was packed with activity and everyone got involved.. Lots of ideas were discussed and information shared. I won’t discuss the content as our favourite ideas are being checked for cost and practicality before anything goes forward.
It was an inspiring day well run by the facilitators. I learnt, I contributed, I made contacts. I hope that my cheek earlier is forgiven because the magician and his glamourous assistant really did put on a magic show. I am delighted that Parkinson’s UK are thinking outside the box. Many people with Parkinsons use writing as therapy. To others it provides validation and self esteem. Enjoying writing or any activity can have a positive effect on a person’s wellbeing. If that isn’t working a bit of magic then what is?
Thank you Parkinson’s UK