I don’t care

Nathalie Ramirez, flickr
Nathalie Ramirez, flickr

When I was a first year University student, I took in a “Clubs Fair” where many different clubs were represented – a Chess Club, Ham radio group,  student newspaper, student political groups of every political stripe, amongst many others. One group that caught my attention had a large sign emblazoned with the words “Do you Care?”. In smaller print, just below this beckoning question was printed “We don’t”. That, dear reader, was the pitch of the Apathy Club.

Now, my memory may have suffered the ravages of time, perhaps twisted some of the particulars. This may not be a totally accurate picture of what transpired at the Clubs Fair, but I know for certain that the Apathy Club was not one I would be joining!

Until now that is.

There are days when I find it extremely hard to get motivated to get myself moving. I don’t have the same drive or passion. I have my “to do” list that seems perpetually pregnant with tasks to do. I want to get them done, knock-off a few and diminish the list but more often than not, I’m eunuched. I can’t get it going.

I have a few bad habits – like for example, indulging in sweets – that I know, for the good of my own health, I should address. Yet, I don’t. I have perennial issues that arise but never seem to be resolved. For example, wanting to downsize but being unable to do more than a mere skimming instead of a real purge. I want to be successful in addressing these matters, but I just don’t seem to care enough to move the change forward.

This apathetic state is difficult to understand. I have always been one to be goal-oriented and to relish the sense of accomplishment.  Perhaps those “to dos” or matters of import are not important enough or perhaps I feel somewhat defeated given recent failed attempts to follow through. Perhaps my PD has  escalated to a point where such efforts are deemed pointless in the overall scheme of things. Or perhaps there’s another explanation.

In her blog last year, Bev Ribaud, says that  “apathy can be a major non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Combine it with fatigue, another major non-motor symptom, and it’s no wonder we Parkies can be seen as lazy, disinterested or uncaring by friends, family and even strangers. What causes apathy in people with Parkinson’s? It is believed to be due to chemical changes in the basal ganglia part of the brain. Dopamine is not only the primary neurotransmitter for motor control and movement, but it is also necessary for goal-oriented behavior, enjoyment and motivation. In other words, dopamine is our “feel good” chemical and as the dopamine levels in our brain get less and less, we no longer enjoy the things we used to and we become more apathetic. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we can’t care. Our dopamine deprived brains just don’t work like they used to”.

Interesting. So perhaps I do care but, because I can’t care, I think I don’t care. Or you think I don’t care.

But I do.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “I don’t care”

  1. What a powerful piece, Rob. You got past the dopamine-deprivation at least to write that excellent blog. It makes sense that motivation is a chemical function as well as a function of other things. Even with more or less normal brain chemistry, it is still hard to get motivated. Thanks Rob!!

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  2. Rob, the doldrums are the ‘Darkness’ best weapon. you know that you need some validation to get the engine going. Your blogs interest and help people in the PD community.. Two years ago for me it (validation) was found in publishing my book. Last year it was training for and competing in a powerlifting meet and speaking to all the support groups I’ve met. This year, nothing quite so stunning but validatable nonetheless, I’ve resumed mountain bike trail riding. So far so good!! I know you need a major project to dive into. Talking to you today I could feel the apathy over the phone. Don’t let IT win It wants you like that.. Keep blogging and compile them and when you think you’ve said enough start, Start the Book!!! I’ll be the first subscriber/reader

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  3. You say it so well…thanks for expressing so well what we all see or feel to some extent—or don’t feel—a must read for caregivers and friends and family.

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  4. I cofounded a non-profit that produces insulation window inserts saves 20% off heating bills, involves 400+ volunteers has done over 800 homes does annual builds in a dozen communities. I got PD a year ago and I’m in the doldrums. You pegged it right !

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  5. The “I don’t care” mantra sounds very Zen! How about this as a way of looking at it: We probably “care” about of lot of unimportant things, so if PD takes away from that, it might help (or force) you to “downsize” your caring and focus more on the things that really are important.

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  6. Yes I think ‘ down sizing ‘your caring and focus is at least part of the answer. Learning to live as half the person you once were ( well sometimes that’s how it feels) is a hard reality. You have to find your own personal way through and it’s natural that inability to finish everyday tasks is intensely frustrating. And yes , a list is sometimes a burden. Try putting just 2 things at a time on it. And keep remembering that you ARE still the same person, just slower that’s all.

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