Intimacy has always been very important for me, and currently I am in an intimate relationship. I was single at the time of my diagnosis, which was a very depressing time for me and I definitely did not feel very attractive. After some counselling, I started to feel better about myself, but I felt a bit like a fraud, going on dating sites, chatting with and meeting some lovely women, but not knowing how, or when to broach the subject of my condition. Most of the people that I disclosed my condition to didn’t seem too worried. I did not feel differently about intimacy than before I were diagnosed for the first few years, but know I find fatigue is a mood killer. Luckily, I have the most understanding, beautiful partner. Sometimes fatigue really hits me, which can stop things before they get started. Otherwise, I’m very happy and I think my partner is too. I haven’t experienced any emotional barriers to a satisfying intimate relationship recently, however I had a few months where anxiety was a big problem. It affected my mood and exacerbated my symptoms.
My psychologist, and strangely my physio and OT, were excellent, my neurologist, unfortunately, was extremely poor. I have undertaken treatments that have impacted positively or negatively on my relationship, for example medications or procedures such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Zoloft (sertraline), whilst great for my mood/depression took me sometime to get used to (delayed ejaculation), but it’s no longer a problem. The strategy I have found useful or may find useful is expanding my sexual repertoire. I feel it would be possible be useful for the App to provide free access to a Relationship Therapist for online advice specifically in relation to young onset Parkinson’s. I would like a Relationship Therapist to know about young onset Parkinson’s and that depression, guilt and anger and a negative perception of myself were my biggest hurdles to entering a relationship. Also, not knowing how, or when, to discuss PD with a prospective partner. My children were young adults/late teens at the time of my diagnosis, so I was an empty nester. I know they struggled watching me come to terms with my condition, but I don’t know how they coped initially, or now, even though I have accepted where I am. I have tried to be as open and honest as I can, about my feelings and the affects PD has on me, especially with those closest to me. This has fostered so much support, empathy and compassion that it has overwhelmed me at times and I feel very loved. However, it has backfired in terms of my career and employment opportunities.