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Loss of Motivation

Discussion in 'Cognition' started by Wishful, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Wishful

    Wishful Senior Member

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    I've been noticing a definite loss of motivation in the last couple of years (disorder started in 2001). This isn't just lack of physical energy. In previous years, I used to want to go for walks and bike rides. Every couple of weeks I'd have the urge to go for a long bike ride (~40 km) or long hike in the woods. The previous year I had fewer such urges, and this year I haven't felt like going for a bike ride or long hike yet. I also haven't worked on any little projects that take mental effort. I can still manage to get myself to go for short walks, or do tasks that don't require significant planning or preparation, but the motivation for anything else just isn't there. My other CFS symptoms don't seem to be much worse, and I don't think there have been significant changes in diet. It's just the motivation slipping away.

    I thought it was worth posting this to see what the response is.
     
  2. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Vexacious, thy name is PACE

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    It sounds to me like the lack of motivation might stem from the fact that these activities are becoming too difficult to manage. In other words, if you could manage to do these things without exhaustion at the end would you be willing to do them still?

    Also, it's unclear to me from what you say if you mean by I had the urge to . . .did you then follow through by doing or you simply still felt you wanted to? If it's just that the urge (one you have not been acting on in the past) is now leaving I think I would still find that to be natural over time given our energy becomes increasingly focussed on what we need to do to survive.

    Though I would say it would be natural also to feel a sense of loss and accompanying sadness at the loss even of just wanting to do something we enjoyed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  3. drob31

    drob31 Senior Member

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    This is probably related to HPA-axis dysfunction and other hormones and neurotransmitters. Sex hormones, dopamine, and progesterone come to mind.
     
  4. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    This seems to be part and parcel of ME/CFS.
    My theory is its caused by pyruvate dehydrogenase inactivity leading to low co enzyme A leading to low acetylcholine (low acetylcholine is known to produce lack of motivation)
    Maybe its a blessing, we don't feel as bad since we have less motivation for what we could do before we got ME/CFS :D
     
    echobravo likes this.
  5. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    Not sure I'd classify any of those as loss of motivation, that's sensible adaptation as far as I am concerned e.g I no longer climb tree's, this isn't because I have M.E. but because, although standing on top of a tree used to be fun, it stopped being fun for me around the age of 8, so I don't do it any more. This isn't really a lack of motivation, it's just I decided that climbing tree's wasn't worth the effort.

    Similarly 10 mile hikes aren't worth the effort since I got M.E., the fact I can only walk 20-30 without stopping is a factor in this decision, motivation isn't.
     
  6. AdamS

    AdamS Senior Member

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    This is unfortunatley just part of ME from my experience. If your car has no fuel it won't move no matter how hard you hit the accelerator, in fact it probably won't even start. It seems obvious but energy is a key ingredient of motivation.

    I notice that on 'good' or 'better days' my motivation is restored to different degrees.
     
  7. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @Wishful - I haven't been able to do anything strenuous for 19 years; however, I still want to do them (bike riding, swimming, hiking, even cleaning my house!). Like @AdamS, it's often related to how feel at that time - e.g., there are times I feel almost "normal" but I know if I exceeded my 3-1/2 hour of light activity window per day, I will crash, and badly, depending on how much I exceed that window.

    Having said this, however, I recently did experience a really flat feeling, where I didn't want to do anything. And it was not because of lack of energy. I didn't like it at all - I'd rather want to do things, even if I can't do them - it makes me feel alive.

    I may have discovered the cause, though don't know for sure. I'd been taking a rather high dose of vitamin C for several months, trying to mop up excess glutamate, and then I cut my C in half, thinking I didn't need it any more. And that flat, empty feeling appeared a few days after I did this. I don't know if there was a connection. However, I subsequently boosted my vitamin C back up to where it had been and my feelings of being alive returned. Again, it may have been circumstantial and no cause and effect, but you never know.

    After this experience, I did a little research and found there is a connection between vitamin C deficiency and depression and anxiety, and maybe feeling flat as well, which I guess might be a form of depression. I'm currently taking 2000 mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 4 x a day (with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and before bed). It's a lot I know but I seem to do well with it.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26353411
    http://orthomolecular.org/library/articles/ocdepression.shtml
    https://selfhacked.com/blog/need-know-vitamin-c-32-science-based-health-benefits/
     
  8. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue

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    There's also this: Unrewarding Reward: The Basal Ganglia, Inflammation and Fatigue In Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    Very basically put, turning down the positive feedback in the brain that results from activities etc is a way of a body trying to protect itself and force resting when it senses there's a lot of inflammation.

    I also concur with others above, that it's kinda a natural adjustment to being ill the way that we are. The stuff we used to find fun just isn't so much fun anymore because of what it does to us.

    Loss of motivation can also be a sign of depression; do you have someone you can/do talk with? (Whether it's a psych or a trusted GP or counsellor?) And/or discuss options for meds maybe? (I don't know your situation and don't want to make assumptions! Just broaching various options.)

    Let me know if the link doesn't work; I'm on my phone, brainfoggy and uncoordinated at the moment.

    *Edit: spelling
     
  9. Wishful

    Wishful Senior Member

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    When I had the urge to go for a long bike ride, I generally did it...and suffered the PEM afterwards. Sometimes my legs would feel up to it, but my brain just wanted to flop down on a pillow, so I didn't push myself in those circumstances. The point was that I used to have those urges. In previous years, I should have felt like hopping on my bike by now and seeing what was new along the roads. I should also have felt like going for hikes through the woods. Those feelings are simply missing. I did find the motivation to walk around for hours spraying roundup on thistles, so it's not a matter of physical limitations. I'm sure that I could go for a bike ride of at least a few km (prime limitation being saddle acclimatization), but I just don't feel the expected desire to do so. Likewise for hikes: I should want to see how the wild blueberries are doing or how the beaver ponds are doing, as I did in previous years, but thinking about it now just doesn't make me want to pull on my boots.

    As for minor projects, I'm talking about low physical activity ones, such as soldering some replacement transistors into a power inverter. It's not really much time or effort, but I lack the desire to start. A more rewarding project would be to build a decent metal detector. I have the parts and materials and plans from when I did feel motivation, so it's not a major undertaking, and the results could be rewarding (fun!), but thinking about starting it triggers no desire, which I would have felt in previous years.

    Last year I managed to build an outdoor clay oven. This year I did manage to build a couple of birdhouses (which I did the previous year too). I think I managed the latter project because of the time factor: build it now before the swallows arrive, or regret not having done so. The rides or hikes have no such motivators.

    The link about unrewarding rewards is interesting, and I could see it applying to the long bike rides, but not to short walks in the woods or sitting at a desk soldering parts.

    My guess is that it's just part of the complex changes in neurochemistry involved with CFS. I posted it on the chance that others would respond: 'Hey, now that you mention it, I realize that mine has been slipping away too.'
     
    Webdog likes this.
  10. eric_gladiator

    eric_gladiator

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    The energy not only affects physically but also affects the psychological so we see ourselves so unmotivated. We have to look for the motivation in other things, to change the life style that fits with our energy
     
    Manganus likes this.
  11. Manganus

    Manganus Senior Member

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    My recollection is exactly that.
    It might, in my opinion, very well be an aspect of Sickness behavior (or Illness behavior), caused by cytokines.

    I mean: Yes I'think I've seen this discussion quite a few times between ME-affected people. Some people are motivated but unable to do what they wish, others miss both motivation and ability.

    I'm not sure what's worse.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017 at 10:59 AM
  12. Wishful

    Wishful Senior Member

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    I should clarify that I'm not talking about loss of motivation at the beginning of CFS; I'm talking about a loss in year 15 and 16. I called it a gradual decline over the past couple of years, but in terms of the length of the disorder, I suppose it's fairly abrupt. It doesn't correlate with any obvious other changes in my lifestyle. My disorder has certainly changed over time, so this might just be a change due to all the other little changes adding up. It is a bit disturbing though, since I don't know how far it will progress.
     
  13. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    After a while it won't matter to you anymore. I am the same, a couple decades later it seemed to drop off, about the same time my non 24 skyrocketed and my functioning crashed. I still think its related to acetylcholine
     

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