Parkinson’s Causes Depression

I was at the hospital yesterday for a routine check up. You know the kind of thing. It was one of my supposed six-monthly checks, so naturally had taken eleven months to happen. The doctor was very nice and asked me all the usual questions. I walked up and down the corridor, watched carefully by the doctor and the 4th year medical student. I heard them discussing ‘signs of bradykinesia, good overall gait’ as they picked apart the signs I displayed of the disease I carry.

I’m being unfair really. They need to do this in order to understand and to help diagnose things that may help. Yet sometimes I wonder how much they really understand, care, empathise, or are we just medical abnormalities that they must try to fix somehow?

I was asked about my mood. I laughed. She asked me why I was laughing. I explained that I thought I may be mildly depressed. We talked about the issue that – surprise! – Parkinson’s causes depression. Not only because it is not a great diagnosis to begin with, but also because the brain lacks not only dopamine, but also serotonin.

reads "obvious?" and the mathematics sum 1+1=2.

I immediately said “I don’t want to take anti-depressants”. She leaned forward conspiratorially and asked “why?”
I replied that I understood that perhaps one day I may need to do that regardless of how I felt, but right now I think I can deal with it my increasing positive things like getting outside for a bike ride or similar each day, or exercise. I told them how stressful it had been waiting for my partner Mr D to have his heart ablation. It was much better now he had had the operation, but it still requires effort each day.

She went on to ask why I felt it wouldn’t be useful. I replied that it indeed probably would be helpful, but didn’t she realise that I already took a ton of medication? I am a woman of science, I understand that this is important and useful, but once I start taking them, when will I stop? The very real answer is potentially never. I am already on medication for life. It will increase and increase. Perhaps one day it might not help as well as it does today. Let’s not get started on side-effects.

grey box with drawing of tablets cascading down. in large font across this reads "Pills, pills, pills."

I don’t know what these cost but I want to be offered discounts on exercise classes, be encouraged to to take long walks and counselling. I don’t want to take another pill. Why? Because I know those pills are coming for me anyway. I don’t want them to, but I also understand that along with a lack of the right kind of stuff that makes dopamine, I lack the right sort of stuff that creates other chemicals. I could go research and name them, but let’s keep this simple.

She aquiesed and agreed that my way may be better. For now at least. There it was again, the distant knolling of the bell of doom. Faint, but still there, echoing through my head.

And so I left with more tablets. Let’s see how they work out, as I too continue to work hard at attempting to push this thing back. I fear that one day I may lose the war ,but for now at least, I fight, push and kick this thing back.

Unitl next time…


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