TV personality reveals dark side of Parkinson’s in harrowing footage

Last week, Veteran ABC journalist Liz Jackson revealed that she was going to give viewers a first-hand insight into her battle
I haven't had suicidal thoughts but I do now understand why people commit suicide which I didn't before," said Liz Jackson about her situation. Photo: YouTube (@ABC Promotional Videos).

Last week, Veteran ABC journalist Liz Jackson revealed that she was going to give viewers a first-hand insight into her battle with Parkinson’s disease. But no one could have anticipated the harrowing details including the nightly panic attacks that leave her in ‘fear’. The Sydney local spent much of her career reporting on the front-line in war zones and politically unstable countries, but was forced to retire from ABC’s Four Corners in 2013 as the disease took hold. After an award winning career that saw her interview world leaders and break many important stories, her final ever Four Corners production had her in the opposite seat for the first time, focused on her own battle.

In her last production, The Gold Walkley Award winner showed harrowing footage of the panic attacks she endures caused by the disease as she fears for her life each and every night.

“I’ve got tingles down my legs to my knees and my knees start jerking,”Jackson says as she sits on the couch, shaking so viciously she can barely talk.
“I fear I’m going to lose control and I hate that.”
Lasting for long periods, the constant shaking leaves Jackson scared and shouting for her partner Martin to help take her to bed.
“You can see my eyelids are starting to water. I’m not crying it’s just that when I start breathing my knee starts jerking,” she says.
“I figure if I keep on moving it will keep my body warmer… but I don’t know.
“It really hurts.”
Admitting that she is overwhelmed by ‘fear’, Jackson tries to convince herself that the attack will just be like all other nights – but it’s not so easily done.

In addition to Parkinson’s, Jackson is also battling depression and Lewy Body disease.
She is also so shaken and scared of her poor health that she admits to having thought about taking her own life.
“I don’t like things that talk about losing my brain function. I don’t like things that talk about connection with dementia,” she said.
“You start thinking about how long have I got before I have the kind of dementia I wouldn’t want to be living with?
“I haven’t had suicidal thoughts but I do now understand why people commit suicide which I didn’t before.”
Having interviewed world leaders around the world, Jackson said that putting herself on the other side of the camera and talking about her challenges with Parkinson’s was ‘the hardest film’ she’s ever made’.

Watch the video here.

Have you witnessed anyone in your life going through the same challenge?

  1. Patricia Dallimore  

    A brave brave lady, and a wonderful partner and family. LIz you have never shirked you dedication to news reporting and now you have made one of the most harrowing and enlightening documentaries I have ever seen. I wanted to turn away but could not, I was glued to the screen. I feel this must have been ahelp to all who suffer this horrible condition, thank you for letting us see the real fight you and your family are going through. Love theending, Grandchildren make everything better!

  2. Unice Smith  

    Thank you Liz, from all of us who are battling this monster called Parkinsons, at some time along the way we feel, scred alone, isolated and have no idea what is going to happen next. There are times you want to crawl into a ball and just cry, but we keep fighting on hoping and beleving that some day in the very near future a cure for this will be found. My prayers go to you and your family. It is easy for us to sit back and say things will get better but this is not always the case. Your a very strong woman and have wonderful family around you don’t give up easy for me to say this I am in the early stages and lucky my GP picked up on what was going on. My love to you and all your family Pam

  3. Linda White  

    What a harrowing documentary. How brave you are and what a wonderful husband who clearly loves you and feels your pain. Thank you

  4. Rosemary  

    Very brave, because what else can you do? It is of course, something that you never anticipate happening to you. I am sure that your documentary will go far in helping others. It is always encouraging to know that you are not alone in a situation. Wishing you and your family strength.

  5. Guy Flavell  

    My GP has just referred me to a neurologist to investigate my recent hand tremors.
    I honestly shouldn’t have watched that program as it’s put the ‘fear of God’ through me.
    It was heart-rending, completely honest, without the usual ABC biases, and was a warning
    to all Australians that this dreadful illness is life destroying plus being a terrible burden
    for families too.
    I envy the brave Liz Jackson her wonderful husband Martin. Sadly, I’ve got to face the
    future without any such support.

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