Who knew things could improve so much

A year ago today we got home from a major holiday and I still had no inkling that the irritating habits Ash had developed over the past few years were anything to do with dementia.  At best they were connected to the anxiety and depression diagnosed by one GP after another, at worst he'd got old and boring before his time.  We've come a long way in the past 12 months and I've found myself thinking about which of those habits still exists and whether, if they do, they still irritate me.  The result of those thoughts has been very interesting.
  1. Introducing a tv into the dining room means we no longer sit through meals in silence.  Timing meals to coincide with the news or a quiz show gives us things to talk about.
  2. Getting noise cancelling headphones means I can listen to audio books or music when I get fed up with the The Chase in an evening so I'm not bored and don't feel hard done-by
  3. Ash used to do almost all of the cooking but now can't cope with any of it.  Buying Jamie Oliver's book '5 Ingredients' means I don't find taking on that role a drag.  It also means my cooking skills have improved.  Using the local fish and chip shop once a week also helps to relieve the irritation of not being able to share the cooking.
  4. Filling the dishwasher immediately after a meal means that Ash no longer washes half the pots before I get there and ensures the dishwasher is full enough to go on every day (don't ask me why this irritates me so much - I have no idea).
  5. Going shopping armed with a list, using the same shops on the same day, in the same order and finishing off at M & S for a coffee and a scone means that the weekly grocery shop is a point of calm rather than the origin of arguments it used to be.
  6. Setting the alarm for 7am every morning means each day gets off to a relaxing start instead of Ash waking before me and getting cross because he doesn't feel able to move in case he wakes me.  It really is very irritating to be accused of something you might do but never actually will.  Setting the alarm means we wake at the same time.  He almost always wakes up happy now which is a great way to start the day.
  7. Buying 5 sets of identical outfits means that I can collect dirty clothes up and drop clean ones in their place.  This in turn means we don't have endless arguments caused by Ash panicking about the need to find clean clothes or choose what he's going to wear.
  8. Taking an interest in gardening means I didn't spend the summer irritated by the fact he sat and watched the weeds grow.
  9. Letting him do as much or as little as he wants each day means that I have lower expectations when I come home which in turn means I am no longer irritated by the things left undone.  I have come to understand that he finds it difficult to know where to start and how to decide what needs doing.  This isn't his fault it's just another aspect of dementia.
I could add to this list all day and on into the evening but the upshot of the last 12 months is that I have discovered the more I take note of what's happening in our lives the less irritated I am by what Ash does/doesn't do and the more control I have over those irritations.  He can't help any of it so I'm the one who has had to change.  Once I realised that life once again became a happy place.  Life really is what you make it.

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