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.