Multi-Tasking and Parkinson’s Disease

I was fascinated by your thoughts on multi-tasking. I am a multi-tasker par excellence and I have always thought this is a factor in my neurological symptoms. The physical and mental sensations I get when I have problems moving put me in mind of the children’s game where you put hand over hand over hand speeding up until everybody loses the sequence and order become chaos. I lose my place in the same way when I have the intention to walk for example. Competing intentions and the consideration of too many factors cause garbled inputs and the system jams. It is as if I “forget” what I am doing and parts of my body get momentarily lost. In other words my proprioceptive system is blanking out.

My solution is to have a focus and slow down but this multi-tasking habit is deeply embedded in my physical, mental and physical worlds, so it is not easy. For example when my writing is running out of control I slow down, print, lift my pencil after every letter and sometime says each letter old loud as I write. This can be uncomfortable to almost unbearable but is always revealing.( In other words I have to become mindful)

I recently read that dopamine is involved in salience which I found very interesting. Maybe I am not able to prioritise inputs of intention, a situation that is hardly helped by multi-tasking.

I think intention is key. When I am unable to march on the spot I am very often able to “lift my right knee as high as I can, lift my left knee as high as I can”. Same movement;a slight shift in intention makes the impossible easy!

All the Best

Fiona

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