HELP! Apathy is impacting my life :(

Since suffering an ABI IN 2008 I find myself increasingly affected by disinterest and apathy.

My wife finds it hurtful as I present as not interested in doing anything and appear lazy and selfish.

I've tried looking online and I've only seen suggestions related to depression which I don't feel that I am particularly depressed.

Has anybody had any experience with my symptoms and if so have you made any progress addressing it?

Many thanks

19 Replies

  • Hi Mads

    Just wondering if it is depression, which can strike at any time, or are you at that really awkward point where you've made as much progress as is expected (or more) and realise that this is life now.

    Assuming that it is not depression that needs medication you could perhaps look into the possibility of CBT or something similar.

    When you realise what you are/could be missing out on it may help with getting the motivation started.

    Keeping a diary can help too.

    Hoping that this soon passes and you get your mojo back soon



  • Hi Mads,

    Have to agree with Random. Could be fatigue related as well as bi.

    Try cbt to help generally come to terms with the new you. This may also include counselling which helps as well .

    You may need medication either way even if it is not depression.

    Maybe your parnter needs to be kept up to date with how you are and any adjustments you may need to make.

    All the best Pax

  • Hi Mads, was yours a frontal lobe injury ? This may have some bearing on initiative and motivation. I have just spent 3 hours this afternoon sleeping, neither depressed nor unmotivated but just plain exhausted after a busy week ! Sometimes fatigue can make us appear as if we are lazy or depressed, when we simply do not have the energy to respond with any interest ? Angela x

  • Look up Anhedonia. I think it may explain what you are experiencing. I experience this as well. As with any web search the info can vary and some only relate it to a lack of sexual interest but it is actually a disinterest and lack of enjoyment in anything.

  • It's not just me, with a severe case of the I-don't-want-to, then?

    Thought it might just be my resentment at 20 years of being dragged everywhere he wanted to go, and the near-miss making me put my foot down? Perhaps not.

    Taking myself out of the picture for a moment, an ABI is a life-changing event, and sometimes, not depression, and not fatigue, but just 'space is needed'. Time will be needed to reflect on the situation, and any limitations that have come with it. I would urge caution if you are finding that there's nothing you 'want' to do, that could be the slow slide into depression. The fatigue is a separate issue, with the complete lack of energy to DO anything.

    The husband brought a zombie of his wife back from the hospital, I have absolutely no interest in any of 'his' things, I never did, it's just that now, I don't have the energy to pretend. This zombie can do other things, though, and isn't reserved solely for fishing his socks and crisp packets from down the side of the sofa. He can't be comfortable sitting on all of that.

  • I've only just looked in Mads but just wanted to say I agree with the other comments. People who constantly say they're depressed often aren't .............

    and others who say they're not often are.

    See your GP and discuss whether CBT or medication might be appropriate to energise/inspire you. I've had both & remain mostly antisocial, but you won't know 'til you try if there's potential for success.

    It must be so hard for those faced with a new partner, the double of the old one, but now a stranger. It's equally hard for the injured one who faces an uphill struggle every day. I hope you can find a compromise, in time, which works for you both.

    Cat x

  • i am like this aswell my family don't understand my situation i have been to the Gp they don't want to know also headway support group they are more for the carers i cannot get any help with anyone i work 20 hours a week get me out but come home and shattered tired as you say family think i am lazy i cannot sleep had my trouble 2009

    shame we cant get help but no one want to know

  • what did you like to do before your ABI, give them a go, get out of the house more meet people esp your local headway go on holiday , worked for me.

  • With my disability confirmed test done at kings collage hospital London I live in Sussex my social life is bad only one to one I can cope with now it took work 5 years to understand my brain injury my support group say it's us with brain injury can't help it but family needs a medel to help us they make it worse they need to see our side not people who care for use sides only makes me worse

  • I live on my own now and find that my apathy is getting worse. I work around 120 hours per month, I'm a support worker for adults with learning difficulties and although there is a fair bit of "housework" to be done, I don't have a problem doing that. When I'm at home though it is a different matter. Before I had the tumour removed I used to vacuum about 3 times a week but now it's about once every 6 weeks to two months! I haven't been able to do my garden either but I suppose as I don't really care what the neighbours think, it shouldn't really bother me.

    I'm not sure what you can do but there were some good suggestions from the other comments above. Perhaps you should let your partner read them too.

    Take care.

  • My understanding is that if you're withdrawn socially, don't enjoy activities like you normally do e.g. hobbies, etc. and feel sad most of the time, it's probably depression. Otherwise, if you don't feel sad or withdrawn from others then it could be apathy related to an injury or fatigue/stress. Apathy can also be a part of depression.

  • yes i think ( not sure) that i have seen official 'checklists' somewhere re. depression type conditions.

  • Hi Mads,

    Tis kind of strange and a bit IRONIC to see this post after I just posted one about laughter being the best medicine :).

    I can and do laugh at many things but I think they have to be particular things such as my family, some things I see on TV, Stand-up comedy and maybe some other things.

    However I hardly ever laugh when it comes to Facebook.

    I see all these comments and posts on a near daily basis saying how certain videos are hilarious or something similar and it is nowhere near hilarious.

    Also, I see how certain things are described wrongly using words LOOSELY such as 'amazing' or 'epic'. To me, there is nothing amazing about a chocolate cupcake :).

    I stressed the word 'loosely' because I see the mistake so many times on Facebook, people do not know the difference between 'loose' and 'lose'. It really is 'amazing' to see how stupid some people can really be.

    What does make me smile or titter when it comes to Facebook is seeing videos of animals or even babies, they are so much more funnier to me.

    I mention stand-up comedians earlier. If I see them on TV, I rarely laugh at them. But once I saw Harry Hill live and Russell Kane and they are both very funny live.

    Also I shall add that I have seen movies with a friend or my brother and have laughed quite uncontrollably but if I were to watch the same movie on me tod, it is a completely different matter.

    Another though, before I joined Headway, I spent a lot of my time online chatting. I met a lot of folk from accross the globe and would talk to them in a chat room. Although some things that were said could be reasonably funny, I found most of the humour came from my crazy, slightly-warped, little mind :). I used to laugh a lot at what I said, not so much with others.

    Sorry to say it but people just aren't funny... At least they weren't anyway :).

    But yes, apathy did play a big part in those days and also sarcasm too. I still think I can be sarcastic at times but in a lighter sense I think :).

    Take care,


  • My daughter suffers the most I don,t think it's depression for me but you should check it out with you doctor x

  • Yes, apathy, I can most definitely relate. For me what I found works to help bring me up is to recall fun, enjoyable, happy, or pleasant experiences I've had at anytime in my life. Not just once, but I find it really helps me when I recall one, then I go through that same experience in my mind again and again. Each time I remember more and more of the event until I start feeling better. Then I go on to the next one if I still need a boost. The more I do this the better I feel and find my overall functioning in life improves too. Hope this can work for you too. Best of luck.

  • "Anchoring a positive state"- to re-play a memory over and over in your mind, making the colours brighter, the volume louder, immersing yourself in every sensation you felt then- I use that strategy a lot with young people I work with.

    I'm not scripted, but tend to start off with "You haven't always felt this low... when was the last time you laughed... tell me about it..." and build from there. 'Pride' situations for young people feeling a lack of self-worth, 'Happy' situations for young people feeling low, I had one young man who struggled to control his anger, and, over the course of about a month, had him able to visualise the most angry he had EVER been, and use a hand-gesture to dispel the anger- I often wonder how he's doing now.

    I use a lot of bastardised NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) in my work with young people, the words, and the situations come from them, I just help them to see things a little deeper.

    It's not 'Clap your hands if you believe in fairies', but thinking happy thoughts DOES work, the danger point is when I'm working with someone who can't remember the last time they felt happy, I can't fix that, I can only hold it until we get a qualified mental health practitioner on board.

  • Sounds daft GAIA I know. but your 'positive state' you talked about made me realise that. because I kept going over and over in my head, the fact I'd left my husband a few weeks before my BI, and why didn't he care, cos I got no support from him at all after I left hospital.....that I had to look forwards not backwards and concentrate on me, not him and whats gone before. we can't re-live the past but we can forge the future.

  • You sound like my ex before I had my BI "-) not after, then he was worse! But know what you mean, I call it frustration, coz I knew and know I'm not depressed! Went through my worst period about Nov '13 for a few months, battle on as I have, take each day as it comes and deal with it as best you can, or join a new club, cycling, oops perhaps not, in case you tumble :-( ....... library and stick with us on here- it's a great outlet for all those feelings and thoughts that others don't understand but we do! I joined my local French village committee this year and new friends didn't know me before my BI 2013, So they take me as I come, nothing to compare with, that's good for my morale also. I'm just the crazy English woman now. :-)) I was already separated but living too near my OH, so I moved away but I'm not suggesting you do that!

    Don't forget it's all different and new for your wife as well and she'll have her own thoughts and emotions to deal with, she might feel she's being pushed away by you. It takes a long time to get over (if one gets over it!), talk to her, show her this website, ( it's for partners and families as well).

    I remember there was a song with the words.....the long and winding road!

    .....all roads lead somewhere eventually in my book!

  • i have a different view.

    as an abi survivor, i like routine........ive been told im getting lazy.....but i think im bored of part of my routine

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