Communication, like dancing, often requires a back and forth sharing with a partner. If one-sided, it can feel forced, and we may feel intimidated or pressured. If a partner chooses not to communicate, we may feel abandoned or lonely,like a dancer sitting along the wall, watching and longing for connection.
When people ,( men in particular), experience voice changes and voice difficulties from Parkinson's, I have observed that many of them stop communicating . I witnessed this last week while participating in a Parkinson's educational cruise. I was struck by the contrast of many vibrant women/wives, present with full emotion, and husbands who sat silent, by choice or by by changes imposed by the disease. The one-sided communication from the women was expressed in an assortment of frustrated, angry, fearful or sad statements. In contrast, the husbands sat with quiet, non-resistance.
Have the men given up? given in? or simply opted out of the dance, I wondered?
Voice and speech changes that sometimes accompany Parkinson's can be frustrating, challenging, and no less unpredictable as other motor symptoms. I have had patients tell me that rather than risk the uncertainty of whether they will have an audible voice, they opt out and let their spouse do the talking. Of course, that type of one-sided communication can soon become another burden for the spouse and further shift the balance that is necessary for a partnership.
In several of my Voice Aerobics classes held while on the cruise, a few previously quiet men found their voice, if only temporarily. Voices "danced" in an environment of trust, support and camaraderie , that sometimes only a brief interaction with a group of strangers can provide.
Remember To Dance