‘I’ve learnt to hypnotise my hand’ Billy Connolly on how he controls Parkinson’s symptoms

Billy Connolly says his hand is shaky during interview

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Sir Billy Connolly, 79, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 and was forced to retire from stand-up comedy five years later when his symptoms became progressively worse. Now, the legendary comedian has revealed he has learnt to “hypnotise” his hand to keep involuntary shaking at bay.

He said: “I’ve learnt to hypnotise my hand. I glare at it and it kinda quivers.

“I just stare at it, and eventually it stops. It’s quite a good trick. We love it.”

Billy has been vocal about his disease but also admits he is “p***ed off with it”.

He continued to Radio Times’ Christmas issue: “It won’t go away. People are kinda chained to it. But I try to be cheery.”

Billy candidly said that what “cheeses [him] off most” is that the condition has impacted his ability to play musical instruments and write letters.

He said: “I loved writing letters, but now my writing is illegible

“My collection of fountain pens and ink is redundant. It’s a pain in the bum.

“You confront it by saying ‘B***er off, I’m going to get on with my life’.”

Billy also said, with determination, that he doesn’t want his Parkinson’s diagnosis to become the main topic of his life.

He snubs Parkinson’s help groups, describing them as “weird” and a “kind of social disease”.

He said: “They seem to like meeting up, having lunch. I can’t imagine talking about it all day. I don’t want it being the main topic of my life.”

Billy previously spoke about how he first learnt he had the condition.

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Speaking in an earlier edition of the publication, Billy explained he was approached by an older man at a hotel after he tripped on a pavement outside.

The man told him: “I have been watching you come in and out, and you have the gait of a person with Parkinson’s, I would see my doctor if I was you.”

The man turned out to be a Parkinson’s specialist. “The rest is history,” Connolly added.

Parkinson’s is an incurable condition caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain.

The disease becomes progressively worse over time as the brain becomes more damaged.

According to official NHS guidance, the three main symptoms are involuntary shaking, muscular stiffness and slow movement.

A person with Parkinson’s can also experience balance problems, insomnia, memory problems, and a loss of smell, as well as depression and anxiety.

There is treatment available to help reduce the symptoms of the disease and to maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

Treatment includes medication, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and, in some cases, brain surgery.

Anyone who suspects they may have symptoms of Parkinson’s should see a GP.

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