A visit to the Freud Museum at 19 Birgasse Strasse in Vienna the other day and my brain was frantically doing somersaults, my pen flying across the pages of my little notebook! I absolutely love going to places and seeing, reading or hearing things that make me think and this was definitely one of those spaces. One of the exhibits said of Freud, “He had little faith in Archives: in his psychoanalytical theory they are frequently described as sites of censorship, since acts of remembering are closely linked to acts of forgetting.” This is giving me much food for thought in relation to dementia. Our recollections or memories are overshadowed by things such as our beliefs, biases, the stories we have been told as children, and the photos that support these ‘stories’; they are also often coloured by what we wanted our lives to have been, rather than what they were. Does this mean with dementia, that what we might not have remembered may not ever have really happened? And, should we stop being upset that we have not remembered something because it may not even be the truth? So, what do we really remember? I wonder. I know that I can recount my life through some recalled memories, via my blog and through talking to my husband and friends, and by looking at pictures, but now I often don’t actually remember what has happened. Maybe I never did?
The Freud museum also quoted that Freud’s manuscripts “are a medium for work, an aid in reflecting, surfaces on which his thoughts took form with great difficulty, subject to incessant correction or unceremonious disposal in the waste basket.” It is such a shame that so much of own our lives have been thrown in the bin, so to speak, as many of us have not been hoarders of our own history. Perhaps by blogging, I now have a journal or history file of my life, useful for me, and interesting to a few others, especially my husband, and occasionally my children. This writing of a blog (my public diary) traces the lines of my personal expression of relationships, of thoughts and beliefs, an archive of the blogger’s (my) inner signature. It is open to a reader’s interpretation of course, but so is a book, a painting or photograph. But the intent of my writing is authentic, and also often autobiographical; a journal of thoughts and memories of a particular place in time. Private, sometimes even intimate thoughts permeate the pages of my blog, appearing as short stories, occasionally even like a letter, merely evidence of thinking and living. I studied Freud in my Psychology degree, even wrote a major essay about him, but I never thought about him in the context of dementia or my own personal history file. I have now been inspired to contemplate if forgetting (or remembering), and therefore dementia, is really such a problem at all. So much more thinking and writing to do on this (and other topics), and I resolved at this museum to write more, and for longer periods in an effort to express more of my world, both the now and the past.