Today I'm feeling positive, enthusiastic and upbeat.
I'm not sure really. But nevertheless, like the old hippie that I am, I want to surf a little on the wave of positivity that is currently washing over me and see if I can transmit some of it to YOU.
It is universally accepted that, the day you are diagnosed with dementia you instantly become useless and pathetic. The years of skill and experience that you have accumulated dissipate into the ether and you are henceforth an object of pity and concern, unable to make rational decisions and somehow, a little different to everyone else... A bit strange. And people who know you are sometimes awkward in your company and, when you describe some of the effects of your condition will immediately reply "That's not unusual. It happens to me all the time". They don't want to believe your diagnosis because you have no visible signs of illness or disability ( and because they love you and don't know how to deal with it). Well, you know what? It doesn't matter a jot about other people. They have to figure out how to interact with you in their own way. you don't have to worry about them. If they can't handle your diagnosis, and they're in denial of it, that's THEIR problem. They'll either come to terms with it, or they'll withdraw from your orbit. It's their decision, and there's nothing you can do about it except to accept it graciously.
You don't have time to waste.
You need to get busy enjoying your life and making yourself happy.
Here are a few tips for both people living with dementia and carers too:
Find some more people like you. Go on line and look for support group websites. Call Dementia Connect (0333 150 3456). Search social media and the local Press or contact your Council. There's nothing like the buzz of chatting to other people on the same journey as you.
Find something you're good at or enjoy and dig deeper into it. Resurrect a hobby you had years ago. Research your family tree or the history of your local area. Learn some new skills or brush up some old ones.
Celebrate every success, and learn from your failures. Life is a rollercoaster. But hey, rather that than a roundabout eh? Hang on tight during the lows and enjoy the exhilaration of the highs. You're on a journey. Enjoy the ride as much as you can.
Know that you have a lot to contribute. You have a wealth of skill and experience. You are a precious resource. Make yourself available to help others. Sign up for some studies and help others to understand dementia. Look around for opportunities to increase the awareness of dementia locally and nationally.
You too can enjoy the buzz of feeling useful and engaged. And you don't need to have dementia to do it. If you're reading this blog and haven't fallen asleep yet, Why don't YOU get off of your backside and DO something?
Just reach out. There are so many people out there who need your help and would enjoy your company.
Please contact me if you feel inspired, or have any questions and I'll point you towards the people who are waiting to hear from you.
I'd also like to hear your positive stories - they inspire me and make me strive to do better. DON'T LET DEMENTIA PREVENT YA!