Every case is different but .........

They say everyone lives with a different version of dementia and I'm sure that's true.  We're individuals after all and have different life experiences to draw from which means those living with that diagnosis will each respond in a very different way.  What's struck me throughout this though is how similar many stories are and how many emotions those of us living alongside the condition share.  I'm currently reading a book titled 'Green Vanilla Tea' by Marie Williams who writes about her family's experience of the years before, during and after her husband's diagnosis of Young Onset Dementia at the age of 40.  I read it in short bursts and, after the first attempt at bedtime reading, only ever in the day time but what I'm struck by again and again is how often I find her describing my/our life.  It almost feels as though she's stolen my life and is using it as the basis for a book but of course she hasn't it's just that our experiences are so similar and I'm sure I can't be the only reader to think that.  I've read about how Marie was uncomfortable taking charge of their lives even though that would make things easier for her husband and I thought,  I know that feeling;  I read 'our old ways of relating had changed.  I had stepped up in ways that felt counter-intuitive' and I thought, I know that feeling and I read 'We had always consulted with one another.  We had listened, we had laughed and we had argued passionately as we made big decisions but here I was, his full and legal guardian' and I thought, I know that feeling.  I'm not even a quarter of the way through the book and almost ever page brings that response from me.  It's not the specific details that I recognise, although there are many, many of those, but the feelings of bewilderment when she doesn't know what's wrong, of guilt as she takes over the reins, of the 'what-ifs' and the 'if onlys' that follow the diagnosis, all of those are familiar.  If you are living alongside dementia and would like to know that there are others our there who feel just as you do then I recommend this book; if you are close to someone going through this experience and want to know how they feel then I recommend this book and if you want to understand what it's like to live with someone who turns, oh so very gradually, into a completely different being to the one you loved then I recommend this book.  It's not an easy book to read which is why I only read it during the day but it's beautifully written and almost tells my story and, I'm guessing, the story of a great many other people out there some of whom will be thinking no-one knows how they feel.  Personally I find great comfort in the thought that I'm not alone.

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