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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sometimes too much is... TOO MUCH!

I was speaking to a couple friends recently about the comment I made: "I don't want to go anywhere, I don't want to do anything, and I don't want to talk to anybody..." They said that I sounded like I was depressed.

I have read where many people with bvFTD are diagnosed with depression because of these symptoms. It is typical of someone with depression to lose energy, lose interest in people, and lose interest in activities they enjoyed. It gets even more confusing because people with depression also may have memory, concentration, and decision-making issues.

That sounds just like me at first. I have these symptoms - or maybe it is more accurate to say that I have the symptoms of these symptoms because the underlying reason for them is different. They are all controlled by the frontal lobes of the brain. They are also symptoms of bvFTD.

I am not depressed. That is the big difference. I do not feel sadness. I do not have the blues. I do not feel worthless. I rarely feel down or empty.

I dont want to go anywhere, I don't want to do anything, and I don't want to talk to anybody, and I am happy with that most of the time. It is more comfortable. There is less stress. It is easier. It is the path of least resistance. It makes me feel good.

The discussion naturally got around to whether it was better to succumb to these symptoms and go with the flow, or to fight back and challenge them. Is it better for friends and family to accept my withdrawal from social situations, or to encourage (force!) me to participate?

First off, you are asking the person who can't decide what to have for lunch to decide what to do. Bad plan! Lets ask the person who doesn't want to do anything what we should do. Duh! So...

The answer is... I don't know! I certainly don't want to just disappear, even though that would be very comfortable. I also don't want people going out of their way to make me miserable by trying to make me do stuff I really don't feel like doing. Pushing too hard is just going to really piss me off. Not pushing at all will make me worse. Sometimes it is Okay, and sometimes it isn't. Guess which! Sometimes it is just fine to while away the day watching the grass grow. Sometimes I need to get out and do something, or visit with friends. Sometimes too much is - too much. Once in a while I know the difference!

There needs to be a balance in there somewhere between what is comfortable, and what is helpful. I do not think I can always (ever?) tell the difference. I know it really pisses me off to get pushed too much.

My son brought up an interesting point. I have always been very independent. I have always enjoyed my alone time. I enjoy my own company, and always have. As he pointed out, this is a symptom which is difficult to determine when it is normal for me, and when it is because of the bvFTD. How can you tell when it is going too far?

Your comments are welcome.


  1. Quite the conundrum. How to spend time with the people you love when you don't want to spend time with the people you love. And planning is not a skill you are good at anymore. So you agree to meet with someone because you want to see them, then you back out at the last minute because you really don't feel like being around anyone. I say do what is good for you, see your friends as loving you and doing their best to be there for you without invading your space, and sometimes you will have to force yourself a little or you really will disappear. Just an observation. Who am I to tell anyone how to interact.

  2. I love the Myers-Briggs. I am reading about the INTJ personality.

    These are the traits: most self-confident of all the types;
    single-minded; pragmatic; fierely independent; introspective; dislike small talk; always in a hurry; stubborn; determined; high achievers; love to brainstorm for new ideas; may appear reserved and even unemotional.

    So... I was wondering how to distinguish what you describe as "symptoms" of the FTD and just personality traits. Some of this seems to cross over into the other.
    When you describe your day and your response to events and people, maybe not all of it is the FTD...maybe it is just you being you. And remember you are really OK! No matter what you feel.

    Some of the best growth for the INTJ personality is to be willing to waste time, develop close relationships, be generous to a fault,listen to good music, and occasionaly act on impulse.

    Just food for thought.


  3. Thanks for the comment, Matilda.

    You understand exactly. It is a conundrum indeed. Sometimes when I back out of something at the last minute, I wish I hadn't. Sometimes I am glad I did. I can't ever tell which it will be. This is a tough issue all around, but I guess we will all figure it out together eventually.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Karan.

    I do have trouble recognizing my symptoms. Especially the emotional and behavioral ones. Often it is only when someone or something points out to me that there is a big change that I can see them at all. Subjectively I see myself as I have always been. That part of the brain which stores my self-image is one of the areas affected.