The biggest fear we as families of Alz/Dementia patients is that we will eventually get it. For those who are reading out of curiosity, I’d be glad to shed some light on what it’s like. For those who experience the same fears, just know you aren’t alone and this is normal, valid, but it doesn’t mean that you should keep the fear inside.
With every time I forget where my phone is, I panic.
Forget what I was doing when walking into another room, panic.
Get side-tracked and lose my place in a conversation, panic.
Forgot an assignment (usually a small one), panic.
Leave a refrigerated product out by accident, panic.
I have an unexplainable emotional out burst, panic.
Can’t recall the date of someone important’s birthday, I panic.
Misplace my keys somewhere in my apartment, panic.
Let a whole day go by without doing a damn thing, panic.
Find myself lost on a somewhat familiar road, panic.
Find myself lost on an unfamiliar road, I even panic then.
No matter how many times I self-soothe, or assure myself that most of these lapses in memory are perfectly normal, and often a side effect of my untreated depression (I’m on medication now, have been for 2 months, so much better now), I still can’t help but mentally kick myself. I try not to think about it too much. Because to be honest, that’s my biggest fear. Losing my memory bit by bit before I even live a full life to remember. I am just starting out, and the mere concept of losing the memories, good or bad, is just haunting.
Like most people, I pride myself in my personality, and my apparent ability to remember a lot of “non-memorable” things (as some friends have told me, which I shrug off, since I see these details about their life as important and crucial to understanding them as people). The sheer thought of not being quite myself anymore is just mind-melting to me. But I know that that fear has been and is experienced by many people as of right now, and will be experienced by more people as time goes along. Until we find a cure for this devastating disease.
To those that have those fears like me, I see you. And it’s normal to feel that paranoia, it’s what makes us human. Not being paranoid would be pretty questionable, in my opinion.
We’re all scared. But that fear is valid. And it needs to be expressed. I spent nearly a decade hiding my fear. It would only come out a few times in massive outbursts of panic, crying, and screaming. And it would take a moment for my family to understand what was happening until it clicked in their head that I was simply acting like a scared animal, feeling trapped in a corner.
The anxiety can swell and swell and swell. But you can relax it by giving it some exercise and expressing your feelings. Even if it’s by writing into Google Docs for years like I have haha
Take care of yourself, maybe get a cup of tea or a nice treat, you’ll be okay.