Slender Threads

Slender Threads: a young person’s guide to Parkinson’s disease – my experience of receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 40. Read reviews here.

Eight years ago, on January 30th, my life changed. It changed because a consultant uttered the words ‘you have Parkinson’s’.
In the months that followed, my marriage, my career, and my sense of self took an almighty battering.
Just over a year ago, I started to write my story, because I had struggled – and continue to struggle – to make sense of my condition. I reckoned others might have the same problem, and I hoped that by sharing I might be able to help both them and myself.
I had no trouble finding out technical stuff about Parkinson’s, this being the age of instant information, and at some points it felt as if I was finding out too much, too fast, especially during the process of diagnosis. But there was far less information on the way it makes you feel … especially when diagnosed at or before 40, what they term ‘early-onset’ Parkinson’s.
Bloggers such as Zalamanda, Jon Stamford, Colleen Henderson-Heyward, Viktor Tron and others have gone a long way towards redressing this balance, but I wanted to take it a step further.
The book pulls no punches. I try to talk to the reader the way I wanted people to talk to me, both during diagnosis and now. I didn’t want to hear people telling me how they knew I’d fight it, how I had to remain positive, how you couldn’t really tell, all that stuff. I wanted to confront the reality of the situation, so that I could find a way of dealing with it.
It’s been difficult to write. Some people have, and will, find it equally difficult to read. When I hear that someone’s reading it, part of me leaps for joy that they think something I’ve written is worth reading, while another part of me cowers in the corner.

Ultimately, I wrote it because I had to.


On Slender Threads

‘This is, by a significant margin, the best book on Parkinson’s I have ever read. Absolutely stark, brutally and uncomfortably honest. It is far from consoling, but is a tersely argued description of the human spirit under fire.’
Dr Jon Stamford, neuroscientist and PWP

‘Far more than the record of one young man’s journey into illness, Slender Threads raises, and attempts to answer, questions about who we are, how we know ourselves, and how far we can control our destiny. Langman chronicles his deterioration with savage honesty, refusing to sanitise the exquisite torture of knowing the horrors that lie ahead, but not when, or in what order, they will come. ‘Slender Threads’ is a painful read, but a valuable one – not just for anyone facing a diagnosis of early-onset PD, or who knows somebody in that predicament, but for everyone.’
Eleanor Updale, author

‘Unsettling, disturbing, brilliant and bloody-minded – Pete rages against the dying of the light in these pages and delivers dispatches from the dark side with a brilliant lucidity. Truly inspirational – like nothing I have ever read before.’
Gary Lucas, Grammy-nominated rock legend


Anonymous, Tim Andrews, GoodReads, Amazon, Parkinson’s Movement (PDF),

Where to find it: On Amazon as e-book or c-book (that’s carboniferous).

Read an extract.

Slender Threads

slender threads cover final


9 thoughts on “Slender Threads

  1. This book, I have had the privilege to read already, is a sad, wonderful, beautifully crafted piece of sheer enlightenment. You have been brave, honest, bold and that I respect admire and support. What saddens me is this, I have found having been in the skewed world of illness for nearly a decade that people fall into a number of camps, its complex, but there are principally those who are not ok, those who say they are and those who truly are. Most I guess settle in one of them. I consider myself to be in the latter. You, sit in all three, and I am sad because i think that can’t be nice, but I also know you know I am here. Bravo, by the way. C

  2. To echo Colleen’s comments, I hope you can find some more acceptance of your situation. Yeah i know that’s rich coming from me but I’m just having a temporary blip. From what I can see you have a life many people would envy: a nice home, plenty of leisure time (and it’s not as if you’ve become a couch potato) … What’s not to like? Haven’t read the edit yet, still struggling with Angela Carter, but I found the first draft moving and honest and you know I love your writing style. [edited version]

    • I must admit that I am overwhelmed by your honesty and generosity in sharing the minute details of your painful journey with PD. I hope I am not exaggerating to say that your cry in the face of the unexplained nature of PD has deeply touched my soul. At times, I felt really angry at the injustice of life.
      Thank you Pete for offering us a deep insight into what, no website, would be able to offer in terms of what a PWP feels, fears, expects and needs from others. Thank you for being a source of inspiration in many different ways.
      As I am reading about your genuine revelations in 2018, that is six years since you first has written your book, I hope that the pessimism of 2012 has given way to a more optimistic attitude especially with regard to a stronger faith in love.

  3. Interesting assumption that a diagnosis will be correct.
    This is not always the case…. certainly, PD or YOPD is still only a vague idea of what lies in store… it can be levodopa responsive, or non-responsive; it can be tremor dominant, or have other leading symptoms; you are not immune to other disorders, some of which will kill you before the PD takes over e.g. cancer.

  4. Thank you for writing Slender Threads. It is a beautifully written account of an ugly disease (I was diagnosed last year at age 33). One of the major themes I think is your attempt to understand the prognosis; as you say, those three words, chronic, incurable, progressive. I’ve been trying to resist thinking of the future because Parki’s is too unpredictable and the future simply doesn’t exist yet. We only have the chance to react in the present to what is happening now (as you know, cricket is played one ball at a time). Just after diagnosis I nearly drove myself nuts thinking of all the might-be’s. I was missing the chance to manage my symptoms now.

    Anyway, your book has helped me understand and I thank you for that!


    • All I can say in response to that message is that if you were the only person who had read Slender Threads, it would have been worth it. Thank you.

Leave a Reply to Jonathan Stevens Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *