Muzzle the Grouch… Zip the lip

Fortunately, this hasn’t been an issue for John & I (I don’t think…) But I found the article, with its good advice, I thought I should share it. 🙂

The Grouch ….. Dealing With irritability FROM: PARKINSON’SNEWSTODAY.COM

Years ago when I was first diagnosed, my partner asked the neurologist, “Is there something we can do about his irritability?” The doctor responded, “I wish I had a dollar for every time a partner made this request.”

It seems this is a prevalent issue. In past columns I have addressed scenario looping breakdowns, exaggerated emotions, deep fatigue, bad days, and ugly days. All of these contribute to the occurrence of irritability. Add to this “off-periods,” which also increase irritability.

The grouch rears its growling snout, and to keep the relationship protected, T.O.O.T.S. is the necessary muzzle. T.O.O.T.S. stands for Time Out On The Spot. It means that you “time yourself out” — zip the lip and take a trip. Walk away and return when calmer moods prevail.

As a therapist and professor, I have lots of practice monitoring my internal emotive state and taking actions to prevent it from affecting my ability to help others. But with Parkinson’s, it became more difficult. The first time the grouch barked back to a student in class and “put her in her place,” it happened on one of those bad days that overlapped with high irritability. But it was a shock to me that it happened, and I went to the department chair to explain it. He shrugged it off.

I told my neurologist that it was as if the normal filters I use to screen my emotions were not working properly. The emotions just spilled out and this grouch took over. Now further along with the disease, not a day goes by when I don’t have to muzzle the grouch.

PD irritability can bring other exaggerated emotions. Every little thing becomes blown out of proportion. Example: I’ve asked my partner not to smoke in the house and even hung a no-smoking sign. (Yes, inside the house!) Yet, a cigarette still gets lit indoors prior to my partner walking outside. The smoke makes me nauseous and triggers the grouch.

How many little things occur in a relationship that are annoying? With the grouch, it is not like a-fly-in-the-room annoying, but more like someone stole-your-lunch-money annoying. Smelling smoke in the house after numerous reminders is sickening and close to infuriating. I put T.O.O.T.S. into action, calmed down, and later planted a gentle reminder — again. Doing it this way prevents an argument or fight and saves the quality of the relationship. Zip the lip — save the relationship.

– The 1-to-10 rating system of how bad the day is, which can be a grouch warning.
– Exercise, which can decrease grouch problems.
– Realizing that deep fatigue, if not attended to, will increase grouch problems.
– Understanding that ruminating on something annoying makes it worse; the key is to find a way to move past it.
– Telling people what you want from them. If you wait for them to read your mind, you will be disappointed — and annoyed.

Dealing with the irritable grouch not only requires T.O.O.T.S., but also the following

Stress, lack of sleep, not eating or hydrating properly, and disruptions in the daily routine all can act as triggers for the grouch. Self-monitoring all of this as a way of keeping the grouch muzzled is not something that happens with perfection. The grouch still barks at family and partner, but the rehab plan decreases the frequency.

Even more than that, the plan gives reassurance to those who love you that you are doing all you can. Zip the lip — save the relationship.

Quanked

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You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “Fake it till you make it.” I need to work harder to adopt the attitude. 😦 I REALLY appreciate it when people at church tell me; “Your face has more expression today…it isn’t so deadpan.” and “Your voice seems stronger today.” or “Your looking good.”

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The truth is… I can’t tell if there is some improvement or if I am just figuring out how to regulate my supplementation that aids me to keep myself awake and energized.

When one of my wolf pack sisters told me today … “You look way better than you did,when I saw you during the week.” I should have simply said “Thank You.’ But, I crinkled my nose, in disbelief… because the time had lapsed for my supplementation…and my get up and go had got up and left.

The word of the day is QUANKED. Listed in “A Glossary of Words Used in the County of Wiltshire,” by Dartnell and Goddard (1893), it means “overpowered by fatigue.”

The Spoon Theory

A recent dialog at “The Invigorated Community” an online group for Parkies or their care givers… the question was posed. “How do you get people to understand the fatigue we experience and why we can’t do everything we used to?”

Mind you, I’m the eternal optomist and believe the therapies I have adopted will give me many years of productive living… but I wanted to share what others have said, to answer the question.

Quote from MJFF “One of Parkinson’s more insidious symptoms is fatigue. This is not your garden variety bone-tired. This is fatigue on a cellular level. Your body is working overtime to accomplish the simplest of tasks: Taking a shower, answering the phone, pouring orange juice. In addition, you may be coping with the combination of possible cognitive problems knows as “Parkinson’s apathy”. These problems include difficulty initiating projects, inability to follow complex instructions, short-term memory loss and difficulty in switching gears midstream.

You can fight Parkinson’s disease apathy by exercising, trying to get regular sleep, taking short naps, and making sure you do not isolate yourself.”

I’d like to share a link from… ButYouDon’tLookSick.com It explains the Spoon Theory… a concept developed by Miserandino and frequently referenced among those with chronic or invisible illness. Many people living with conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to anxiety to depression to parkinsonisms self-identify as “Spoonies” and use the theory to explain their lives to people who may not understand the scope of their illness. (Miserandino’s diagnosis is Lupus)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5IBsm49Rk