Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Siege Mentality

Some hilltop towns and villages of Provence, such as Baux, which we visited today, Goult, where we are staying, and Gordes, a town we visited Tuesday that figured prominently in the Russell Crowe movie, "A Good Year", have remained marvels of painstaking engineering effort and protective retreat since the 12th century. They provided an early warning system with their extraordinary views of approaching enemies, giving time to prepare for battle. They were built as unbreachable fortresses to which those who feared attack retreated. Within their walls was found safety and security, the ability to remain self-sustaining to a large extent in order to withstand lengthy sieges. Inevitably, sieges fell out of favour as domination of the countryside left the surrounded military compounds somewhat powerless and cut off from necessary supplies. Why climb a mountain to fight the foe when you could remain out of range of arrows and other medieval tools of war, safe in the valley eating their food and making off with the livestock. Warfare became more mobile and static targets subject to devastating and sustained “long distance” attack by cannon. Many of the precariously perched walled castles fell into disuse and disrepair, as there were limited reasons to live on the top of a windy crag.

The fortress villages provide a metaphor for the way I am tempted at times to respond to my Parkinson's disease. While a view is now more related to property value than personal preparation against attack, I sometimes feel the necessity to look into the distance for ways to respond to the enemy's assault. I have learned about the weapons of the PD war, such as the endless tremours and stiffness that plague days and nights and pour like sheets of arrows over the walls of my best defences. Then there are the unexpected events, like sporadic insomnia, anxiety or depression, like catapulted missiles raining into life from time to time. The siege of PD has begun and I sense what it must have felt like to hold up in a castle under attack. We cower out of fear of what the future may hold unless help arrives from those who would find a way to defeat our opponent. Life is becoming slowly more difficult each day as the situation worsens with no end in sight. Those with Parkinson’s can easily feel trapped within the walls of this disease, increasingly helpless to fight back. We can easily feel caught in a siege mentality, "an attitude or state of mind in which one feels surrounded or under attack by enemies, opposition, etc".

While there is a time to retreat to places of distance perception, safety and security, this is no place for people with PD to remain. Our rival will ultimately defeat us there. We must take the fight to the enemy. Be proactive. To me this means doing what I can and want to do while I can; the “bucket list”, pursuing dreams, taking risks, undertaking adventure. To others it is raising awareness of PD and engaging support for its cure and the alleviation of its effects. Still others fight back by focusing on less fortunate and their needs, encouraging others, and maintaining as positive an attitude as possible.

We can survive a battle by effective defence, but to win a war we must attack the enemy.

No comments:

Post a Comment