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Birds of a Feather

The saying, "Birds of a feather flock together,"  dates back to at least the mid-16th century.  In nature, birds are known to stick together in groups with their own feathered kind for protection.  There is safety in numbers.  Larger flocks are safer from predators.  The saying has come to mean that people with similar likes, tend to band together.  As a society, we form many different groups based on similar interests or qualities.  

I find the saying to be relevant also in the Parkinson's community and I am sure it is true for other conditions as well.  I am more comfortable hanging out with others who have Parkinson's.  They get it.  No one else truly understands what it is like to live with Parkinson's except those living with it.  Care partners probably come the closest to understanding what it is like, but they also have their own flock. One doesn't truly know what it is like to care daily for someone with Parkinson's unless you have done it.  

So does hanging out with others with Parkinson's keep us safe like it does with birds?  I'm not sure safety is the right term, but it can definitely serve to benefit us as individuals and as a community.   When I am in the midst of others who understand the adversity that Parkinson's brings, my anxiety decreases. When my anxiety decreases, my other symptoms tend to decrease.  I think being able to relax in a social group gets some natural dopamine and serotonin flowing.  I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but it makes me feel better, and that can't be a bad thing.   When we gather together, we also learn from each other, we advocate for each other, we motivate each other and we can empathize with each other.  

There is another benefit to gathering together in larger numbers and that is that there really is power in numbers.  We are millions strong. It is more comfortable to speak up when you have support behind you.   If everyone with Parkinson's and every person who cared for that person decided to speak up, be a squeaky wheel, demand better quality care, we might see some changes made.  It is a new year and we are closer than ever before to getting legislation passed in Washington making it mandatory that the government take action and make plans to find better treatments and work on ending Parkinson's.  The National Plan to End Parkinson's Act has passed in the House and we are working on getting it passed in the Senate.  We need to band together and contact our senators and ask them to support this bill.  If you aren't sure what to say, who to contact, or just want some more information, click on this link:  The Michael J. Fox Foundation has been hard at work on this issue and has made the process easy for us to make our voices be heard.

I wish all of you a blessed new year and I look forward to many hours of  hanging out with my "similarly feathered friends,"  also affectionately known as my peeps. 


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