Apathetic elderly Latina woman swipes screens featuring virtual screens of yoga, wedding, and baseball game cardboard cutouts away from her

COVID-19 Induced Apathy: Is That a Thing?

How many weeks has it been now? Months? I have totally lost track. It must be at least 6 months or more.

At first, it was strangely energizing. We had all this time to get caught up on the things we needed to do and the things we wanted to do. And now what? We are making up things to do. There is no motivation to get dressed unless you are leaving the house, which happens only a few times a week, if at all. And even then, yoga pants will work just about anywhere except the golf course.

What should we do today? Nothing?

This morning, Mr. Twitchy and I looked at each other and asked what we had to do today. With a collective sigh, we both said “nothing” in unison. We decided to ride our bikes to see our grandchildren and surprise their parents. It is a short ride, just 2 1/2 miles each way. We were home by 9:00am and have been staring at each other ever since.

Dealing with apathy during these difficult times

The apathy brought on by “sheltering at home” for so long is much worse than the Parkinson’s-induced apathy. It’s not just me. It is both of us. It is everyone with Parkinson's disease and it is everyone else we know as well. Just ask your therapist if you go to one. Mine said that he is hearing it from every one of his patients.

Even without that validation, it is easy to see so many affected by apathy. We walk around, Zombies with masks, half the time not recognizing others because their face is completely covered. In my case, it is a mask, sunglasses, and hat. I am truly incognito. And that is pretty much how it feels most of the time. As social beings, the isolation is getting more and more stressful on all of us. My tremor is back. And what about you? Are your symptoms acting up, too?

Now I think I understand why those living in nursing homes often go downhill so quickly. Having watched my mother go through this for a year, I see how easy it is to lose the desire to do anything when there is nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one to play with.

I saw a meme the other day about wanting to erase all of 2020. (Unfortunately, I can't find it.) It started out so hopeful. And now, we have baseball games with cardboard cutouts in the stands instead of the fans, at Dodger Stadium. Hockey in empty arenas. What good is a hockey fight if there is no one to watch it? Do the athletes feel like it isn’t real with no one there to cheer them on? Concerts, movies, parties, weddings, funerals, fuggedaboutit. We cannot gather to do anything. So we binge-watch bad tv shows and keep on hoping that this will all end soon. None of this gives any meaning or joy to our lives.

And then tomorrow, it is Groundhog’s Day all over again. More of the same again and again. I am still hoping that tomorrow or the next day we will wake up and realize it was all just a bad dream, and everything is back to normal.

No wonder we are apathetic.

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