How Parkinson’s victim Sue found a creative path back from the edge

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Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, former primary school teacher Sue Edge has turned her own darkness into a bright and colourful future.

Sue, from Meadow Springs in Mandurah, Western Australia said her diagnosis in 2010 dealt her a real blow and having to leave the job she had loved for 36 years made her feel she’d lost her identity.

“Suddenly, I wasn’t a teacher anymore and I felt really useless but art helped me rediscover some purpose.”

One of the side effects of her treatment can results in compulsive behaviour, and in Sue it focused her on painting, sculpture and poetry despite struggling with mobility problems on the right side of her body.

“My hands work well for about 40 minutes every four or five hours, so I have to do everything in those moments,” she said. “There are tough times and I’ve had meltdowns but you’ve just got to pick yourself up and get on with it.

“I used to get frustrated because I had all these visions in my head and I couldn’t put them on the paper but now it’s just pouring out.”

As well as her artwork, Sue keeps an online blog detailing her struggles with the disease and wants to release a book about Parkinson’s written with the help of her grandchildren.

Sue has donated a painting to Parkinson’s WA, which chief executive Brenda Matthews said had brightened the not-for-profit group’s hallways.

“Sue’s artwork and poetry are a lovely expression of her hidden creativity and she recently donated some paintings to our office, which are displayed in the foyer of the building for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

“Doing creative things are a big help for people with Parkinson’s.

“Parkinson’s WA offers support programs throughout the Perth metro area such as singing, dancing, yoga and tai chi. Engaging in these activities regulates mood, stimulates thought and improves movement and balance, in addition to being fun and encouraging social interaction with peers.”

To follow Sue’s blog or to see more of her artwork, visit bobbleheadnanna.wordpress.com

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