'living with' not 'suffering from'
I was listening to the radio on the way to work the other morning when I heard something which made me consider how far we've come over the past couple of years. I can't remember the exact wording but the gist of it was that suffering is caused by resisting change in our lives and resist I did on a grand scale. When I think about it I realise that Ash began acting out of character as far back as 2012. He began forgetting conversations he'd had with people, he would repeat himself , he would ask the same question more than once, only occasionally to start with and then with increasing frequency. He lost all his enthusiasm for life and all of his confidence until he doubted everything he wanted to do. I resisted all of this. First I assured him it was normal, then I got cross, then we went to the GP where, eventually, he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression so then I promised him that medication would cure him. He went for a CT scan which came back normal and he was nearly discharged from the memory clinic (except we said we would like to have one final assessment in 6 months time) so how serious could it be? Of course it was anxiety and depression. Then we returned to the memory clinic for that 'final' assessment. We had just got home from a 3 week trip to Florida where we had explored the Keys, had a week in West Palm Beach and had an amazing, if at times slightly stressful, holiday. The first question the doctor asked was 'Where have you been on holiday'? Ash hesitated and then replied 'Spain'. 'How long for'? Again that hesitation and then 'a week'. At that point I realised something was horribly wrong but still I resisted. We got the medication and it helped but I still wanted life to return to pre-2012, to a time when we did things together, where we made joint decisions and where he was the confident being I grew up with. It took me several months, a course with the Contented Dementia Trust and several conversations with a friend who has already been through this to see our lives in a different light. Once I had stopped resisting and started accepting that things had changed the 'suffering' disappeared and we began to live life all over again. For me, and therefore for us, 'suffering' with dementia isn't an option. Instead we are 'living' with it and taking one day at a time.