The thoughts of others

I have come across two phrases in the past couple of weeks which sum up so much of what dealing with dementia is all about.  The first, which I read on one of the forums I belong to, said 'there is much I would miss if I thought about it too much'.  This is so true and a very good reason not to fall prey to reminiscing about the life you had before dementia entered it.  If you can't help it then the thing to also remember is that the mind plays tricks so the sun wasn't always shining, life wasn't always perfect and you still had to do lots of things you didn't want to do.  I find now that I think back much less often than I used to and when I do it feels as though it was a different life altogether.  It's much better to live in the moment, to enjoy what's happening now.  Living in the past so often stops us from making improvements to the present.  You're never going to be able to recreate the past so why not spend your energy on improving your today?

That was the first phrase then, the second came from a friend whose husband has just been diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia.  She said 'I know we need to find a new 'us'.  This makes so much sense and I wish I'd thought of it all those months ago.  When dementia enters a relationship things are obviously going to change and in fact will already have changed a great deal in the years leading up to that diagnosis.  Marriages don't change overnight.  We don't look back to the day before the news and think 'well everything was fine yesterday so what changes do we need to make today?'  However I do know that even if you are expecting the diagnosis (and stupidly I wasn't) it still comes as a huge shock and for a while you really think you can battle through.  I speak from experience when I say that this makes life incredibly  difficult so the sooner you realise that you need to 'find a new us' the better.  It doesn't mean your relationship is worse but that diagnosis will make a difference to your role within it and you have to work out what that role is.  It may be that you will become a carer even if that's a long way in the future but that doesn't mean that everything else you had falls by the wayside.  You just need to find a way to ensure you hang onto all the good feelings that went before.  No-one can tell you what to keep and what to let go, that's for you to decide, it's also for you to decide how to do it but I promise you that nothing helps more than a positive attitude.  You don't have to lose the person you love but you do have to be determined to find a way to keep what you once had.