I told a friend last night that I feel disconnected. Disconnected from the PD ‘loop’, ‘circle’, whatever. If you’re involved with a Facebook PD ‘group’, you know that there is a growing force of people trying to make a difference in finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. They are trying to get people to step out of their comfort zones (for some) and get involved in fund-raising and bringing awareness to this debilitating disease.
However, I feel disconnected. Or perhaps a better word for it is… apathetic. Not intentionally. Not purposefully. Not willingly. I just do. And then I read this in the newest issue of the Northwest Parkinson’s Disease Foundation newsletter:
Barchester, UK – Apathy among people with Parkinson’s disease is a sign that the condition is getting worse, claims a new scientific study.
A new scientific study suggests that apathy shown by a person with Parkinson’s disease is a sign that the condition is worsening.
Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggest that apathy can be caused by changes in the brain resulting from the condition, Parkinson’s UK reports.
The Norwegian study followed a group of 79 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over a four-year period.
Commenting on the findings, Parkinson’s UK’s director of research Dr Kieron Breen said: “This is an important study that helps increase our knowledge and understanding of one of the common non-movement related symptoms of Parkinson’s.”
He went on to say that the charity’s own research had found apathy to be a common symptom, while understanding why people with the condition may be apathetic may help carers.
One in every 500 people in the UK has Parkinson’s disease, equating to around 120,000 people living with the condition, according to Parkinson’s UK.
So, perhaps my apathy is grounded. I surely hope not. Not now, not ever. I want to run this race in life well. I want to get to the end and know I did what I could with the opportunities I had and not look back with regrets. I want to be an encouragement to others and not a source of discouragement. But – sometimes we get too busy comparing our walk with others along the way. We feel inadequate if we aren’t doing what others are doing or prodding us to do. And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s not our turn to run. Sometimes it’s okay to walk and take your time. If we were all running at once, people would be getting shoved off the trail, knocked down and trampled on.
Maybe you’re discouraged today because you feel like you’re not doing enough to find a cure for PD or Alzheimer’s or Breast Cancer Research or MS or whatever it is you're fighting. Maybe it’s your turn to walk. Maybe it’s time to take a rest on the bench and give/donate to someone who is more able to run this time around. Whatever it is – do something, no matter how small – even writing a note of encouragement to someone on the front lines right now, fighting for a cure. Just don’t let apathy take over and keep you on the bench.