By Sue from Australia,
I have had essential tremor (ET) as far back as I can remember. I don’t suppose I could miss it really as I have inherited it from both parents. My other five siblings have fine slight tremors, but my ET has been a very different journey.
At 16 years old I was let go (sacked). I was a receptionist at a doctor’s surgery. The doctor told me that I was too nervous for the position. Very little was known about ET then (1976). It was another 16 years later I would first hear the words essential tremor.
So here I am! another 30 years have passed and here are the everyday activities are affected.
- Brushing your teeth and one out of the blue jerk of the hand will take a hunk of healthy gum off.
- Application of makeup takes two hands and the same time and efforts as a minor surgery.
- Cooking and presentation requires a concerned member of your family (who never knows if they should jump in to help or not) to watch.. you may not want to look at their facial expressions as they look as if they are watching an edge-of-the-seat horror movie.
- Eating.. . well, eating is now an experience you know you have to do and want to but it is hard work and not uncommon to look and see the murder scene you have just created.
- Writing has become a new shorthand that no one will ever be able to understand not even yourself.
- It doesn’t matter how carefully you have aimed your front door key to the door lock.. you are not getting in in a hurry.
- Shaving your legs: you are always going to miss a bit or get a bit extra. Ouch!
- Sticky tape and band aids are not your friends!
- And you cannot just grab a thing when in a hurry. . .or rush anything as it will just turn into a shake.
With essential tremor, everyday activities are affected and a sense of humour and people who you love and love you are essential. But self-love is the biggest battle. But the absolute worst part is to fix this condition requires drugs or brain surgery and your fingers crossed.
But I believe that people with ET have a never-say-die attitude. It seems the two go hand in hand.