In Living with Parkinson's Disease

Artist Pat YoungArtist and writer Pat Young lives in Santa Monica with her husband and her son. She has had Parkinson’s disease for nine years. After she was diagnosed, she continued with her art and went to UCLA and got a degree in Art History.

When you were diagnosed with PD, did it go through your mind that you would have to stop painting?

Well, I did stop. It just happened naturally. At first, you can’t think of anything but the PD. But  I got back to my art. I went to Santa Monica College and I took a sculpture class. When I ordered my first stone, the guy drove up with a truck full of stones and I picked the biggest. Soon the sculpture took over, which was a refreshing change to another creative form. Now, I’m becoming a writer, also a creative art. You never know were these things are going take you.

Pat Young's Living ArtHow has PD influenced your art?

Initially, it was difficult to keep up with the painting because I was working with large-scale canvases. I couldn’t get on a ladder and I couldn’t figure out why I was falling off the ladder. So, it did have an impact and even now, I don’t know if I have the strength to do stones. I want to get back to the art..

As a result of Parkinson’s, you do lose your strength. It’s a different sensation. The fatigue never goes away. But morning is a good time for me. By the time I have lunch, the wall comes down. I have to rest. That’s just how it hits me. All of a sudden I’m exhausted and that’s just part of it. Yes, it’s just like a wall coming down.  I could be out with a friend shopping and suddenly I have to say that I have to go home.

Living Art by Pat YoungWhat would you say to a creative person recently diagnosed?

Absolutely keep going, push yourself to keep on going. If it takes another art form, that’s fine. I wouldn’t stop for anything now. I don’t let Parkinson’s define me. I’m just an artist who happens to have Parkinson’s… I’m a writer who happens to have Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s Community LA