Acceptance is the key
It's not until I read back over my posts on this blog that I realise how up and down my emotions are but here's the thing, as long as I have had a decent night's sleep life itself is generally on an even keel. Yesterday on the Facebook page I posted a quote which said something like 'Life doesn't end with a dementia diagnosis it just gets more complicated' but I really don't think this is true. Before the diagnosis life was very complicated. Ash was acting so out of character that I never knew what each day would bring and didn't know how to deal with any of it. I still can't pinpoint the moment this all started but I think things began to go awry as far back as 2012. At the time I put it down to age and thought we were just sinking into midlife boredom, then I noticed him phoning people to have exactly the same conversation he'd had the day before and I would go cold (at this point his mum had just died of Alzheimers) but then dismiss the thoughts as 'impossible, that wouldn't/couldn't happen to us'. The reality is that it can happen to anyone and fighting it only meant that the process took longer to get through and understanding was longer coming. Even after that dreadful day last December I still fought it and thought that as long as I acted normally everything would be ok. It wasn't and there were tears from both of us almost every single day. Acceptance started when I discovered I could take control by using certain strategies (don't ask questions, don't overload with information) and that if I stuck to those things life was a little easier. When we went on holiday last May I fully expected it to be a disaster (well not 'fully' as I am the eternal optimist) and that we would be coming home on day three however once away from everyday pressures I realised that the third thing I'd been told really did work and that was to treat your loved one as the expert in this situation. That doesn't mean they will have all the answers but that, if you observe closely, you will soon be able to tell what's needed in any given situation. I don't think I will ever be able to listen to 'Without You' by Nilson without crying and I still get things wrong occasionally which throws us into turmoil but I do think that acceptance of what was happening was the beginning of getting everything back on track. If you are on this journey and finding life difficult I really recommend this as the place where your life will begin again.