An interview with Tom Seaman on Coaching & Advocacy, September 27, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in health and wellness, and the author of 2 books: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia/Parkinson’s awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader and is a member and volunteer writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, Brain & Life Magazine, and Patient Worthy. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his books (also on Amazon), or schedule a free life coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram @CoachTom12
Please tell me a little about your background and what got you involved with awareness.
I became involved with awareness for movement disorders in general when I developed dystonia in 2001. It was rather severe and turned my world upside down in ways I never expected. I was living with severe muscle contractions and pain unlike anything I ever experienced before. It took me years to find my bearings after this major life change and then find the right kinds of treatments to manage my symptoms where I could start to rebuild my life and help others along the way.
Can you tell me more about your Advocacy?
I volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a co-administrator for an online support group for people with dystonia. I also volunteer a great deal of my time writing articles about the physical and emotional challenges of chronic health conditions. I am also certified as a life coach and authored two books about living with chronic illness.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
My passion is education and awareness which is why I chose to dedicate my life to writing books and articles and making videos and speaking as often as I can to various groups. There are so many people suffering with movement disorders who need support navigating the numerous challenges that come with them. The focus of my work is about helping people get through one day at a time, while also shooting for future goals as well.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?
This varies from person to person. Some are looking for a cure and some are just looking for someone to talk to that understands what it’s like to live with it. It can be very lonely and scary living with any movement disorder where your body is moving in ways that you don’t want it to. This lack of control creates a lot of anxiety that further fuels not just the physical symptoms, so I really try and help people break that cycle to reach a level of wellness that provides them with more joy in their lives.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
Great question! There are so many goals and it’s hard to really pick one. First, I want people to know that they are not alone and that there are people out here willing to lend a hand. There are many things we can do to help ourselves and others live as high-quality life as possible. Despite the challenges we all face often with doctors, there are many people out there who really do care that provide life-changing treatments and therapies. I want movement disorders to become household names and for doctors and friends and family and all people to understand issues due the physical symptoms, but the emotional life impact movement disorders have on us. My daily goal is to try and provide as much information and education and comfort to people as possible to help them get through every day, one day at a time. I want them to feel hopeful and inspired that just because life has changed due to their health, they are still valuable people with many valuable things to offer, and that the opportunity to live a joyful life still exists.
What events do you participate in?
I mostly participate in online events such as webinars and zoom group meetings. I love to meet in person when those options are available.
How does your coaching assist the caregivers?
I have worked with caregivers as well as patients to help them try and understand what their loved one is going through and help them with the various challenges they are dealing with that are unique to their particular situation as a caregiver.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
Twitter @DystoniaBook1: https://twitter.com/Dystoniabook1
Instagram @CoachTom12: https://www.instagram.com/coachtom12/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@TomSeamanCoaching
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/TomSeamanAuthor/
Facebook Coaching Page: https://www.facebook.com/TomSeamanCoaching/
Published Articles: https://www.tomseamancoaching.com/resources/articles-by-tom-seaman/
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
Do your best to live one day at a time. The only moment promised to us is this one right now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed until tomorrow arrives. Never give up because the day after we give up might be the day our life changes for the good. Just like we never knew that Parkinson’s disease would strike us, we never know when there might be a breakthrough, so keep battling!