If you've met me, then you might already know that I have an essential tremor. Something you might not know is that I inherited this from my father's side of the family. My grandmother has a pronounced shake. I had a 50% chance of receiving this very unique DNA flaw. I was the lucky one. My brother appears to have come through unscathed, although time will tell.
I will not lie to you and say that I am ok with this turn of events. Some days I shrug and think "whatever!" and some days I throw myself a pity party. No matter how I feel on any given day I am living with a shake.
The shake shows up in my hands (mostly the left hand) and my head. My head is most often what people notice. It shakes back and forth like I am saying NO. There is a "Yes" shake option but I received the negative one. Sorry for those who think I am disagreeing with everything, I am really quite agreeable.
I was diagnosed with essential tremors just before turning forty (along with declining close up vision and some gravity induced flaws, I don't care to mention).
The shake is not Parkinsons, the neurologist said to me.
Thank goodness, I said, Will it get worse?
I don't know, it might stabilize at any point or it might get worse, he said.
I was aghast. I am an artist and photographer. I work with my hands. I quickly went through the shocked "WTF. Seriously!" stage and moved into the Pity Party stage "Of course this happened to me". Then moved into the next phase mild acceptance, the intermittent shaking wasn't too bad and maybe, just maybe it wouldn't get worse.
It became my dirty little secret. Why I thought I could keep it a secret is beyond me. Remember... I had grown up with someone who has a tremor. My paternal grandmother has had her tremor for as long as I can remember. She has always shaken quite vigorously with a negative shake in her head and a pronounced voice tremor. My friends would ask me "Why does she do that?" I would always answer "I dunno, she just always has". I never thought to ask because it was just normal. Part of who Grandma is. I never questioned the tremor.
But now I was. Dang it! I read everything I could get my hands on. Not much there. Drugs, surgery. One bright point is that I could have botox shots to look forward to. (Maybe I can get some botox for the gravity induced changes). Anyway, at this stage, I was quite upset and quite frankly things felt a bit hopeless. At this point, this could have gone many different ways. I could become a hermit. I could quit art and photography. I could re-train for some 'normal' job. But, creating art isn't just my passion, it's my life. I have been an artist my whole life. How can I just turn into something, someone else?
Creativity is why I get up in the morning. It makes me happy. I will not give it up. I will figure out how to work with my shake.
Two things about me: I have a shake and I am really quite stubborn. I am going to keep creating art as long as I can. My shake is getting worse but I am going to embrace the shake.