Dementia meltdowns

These bloody things, they spring themselves upon us, completely out of the blue, and there seems to be no way of predicting when. Try as we might, my husband and I feel helpless to know what to do, not only to try to predict them, but to try to stop them or prevent them. The burden on us both, but especially on him is growing. It can be a crowd, or a day that is a little too busy, or a quick trip to the shops or park. Perhaps a bad night’s sleep, which is happening more often and the literature tells us is a normal part of dementia, is causing them? Maybe it is the occasional hallucinations, or the jumbo jets inside my head, or the feeling of being trapped in the Gravitron? Try as we might, the ability to be rational about them is challenging. The more people we meet living with or caring for someone with dementia, the more we hear the same story. It happens to others, and they seem to be as trapped by them as we are, and helpless to stop or even control them in any way. I’d like to be able to take 10 deep breaths, and say to myself, don’t sweat the small stuff, or ask myself will it be a problem in a year, or will anyone die, and for this to work? These techniques or strategies used to work almost immediately, and made life simple and relaxed, and easy for everyone around me. They rubbed off on my children and our youngest uses these terms all the time to keep his life in perspective, sometimes maddeningly so!! It is a funny thing when they learn these things, essentially through you, but then end up reminding us about them! It used to be others who got stressed over seemingly simple things, not me, and so this new phase of my life is taking some getting used to. And, I don’t want to get used to it, as I dislike it intensely, as does my dear husband, as he stands by and tries everything in his power to fix things, to make them better. That is of course, the male way to view problems, and so when he can’t, he then starts to feel he has failed me. It can be a vicious circle, of him wanting to help and fix, and of me becoming more distressed. Space away from dementia is something carers and loved ones need, and I fear at the moment my dear husband is not getting enough at the moment, and I wonder if he yearns to be home and back at work rather than here on holiday where it is almost exclusively just the two of us. I wonder, when will the burden of the dementia meltdown be too much for him? At least the next couple of days, there is a wonderful group of friends for him to lean on and who will share the load if we need them to. Thank goodness we have some friends who are there to provide the ‘technology strategies’ for dementia and love.

5 thoughts on “Dementia meltdowns

  1. Although my Grandad doesn’t know he has Alzhiermers, he has his meltdowns at times. His meltdowns generally occur when he has been away in the past-probably because of being in an unfamiliar enviroment-sometimes when my Grandma asks him to do things and when he is surrounded by a big group of people-he gets very overwhelmed. When he has had his meltdowns-i don’t take them personally.

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  2. Hang in there Kate. May you find the things and qualities you need to keep going, surrounded by your loved ones.
    warm wishes
    Jane

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  3. Oh Kate, you are both so brave and I am sure DH is honest enough with you to tell you when it’s too much. Travel is stressful most of the time, never alone battling this awful progressive illness. Hats off to both of you, your friends and carers for it is a hard road you are all travelling and memories DH & you create to keep this awful disease at bay.

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  4. Responses to Dementia meltdowns

    Carol Cronk says:
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    March 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Kate. reading this sharing warms my heart As we journey along down this path with so many enduring the same daily struggles. i gues thats why at the convention I was confused perrhaps angry at time “yet” living each day protecting yourself from envioroments that will causes as you share “meltdowns” for us we live arround the edges in our world cafe’s when no one is arround outside where no one is We dodge about the bussy chatting laughter sounds that once we were well involved in. We only mix comfortbaly now with our early onset freinds. who endure their days’ and in this world mush harder. some cant speak now. as that area of the brain is gone others cant talk a sentence others so confused and frustrated.. and all these lovely people are younger than me. thats why when I sat listeneing to those others speaking about their ‘gift” of Dementia that has provided them with a happier and a life of pleasure in their new advocacy world I only thought of my friends back home that didnt have this opportunity and were rappidly losing their ability to have any quaility of life.. I hate this Dementia journey.. and miss my past life my past friends (that I cannot” enjoy their world and lifestyle with anymore without them having to make adjustments to fit arround my needs and requirements.. I have found a quaility of ife in my Dementia journey only through understanding about where it is taking me (due to my now walking in my fathers ALZ”s footsteps and IN dread of the that last train stop as you share of it. and my heart aches for those arround me in our ALZ’s support gorup that are closing in to that horrid place. and some that have reached their last stop and in care in their fifties and early sixities who have lost themselves “completely”. And one dear friend only four years of her Dementia fight in a facility that my father was in which my sister and I called the facility from hell “a high security one> so to hear your enduring the reality of this Dementia travel is the reality.. to share. For so many.. that I didnt meet at that conference… ME included…. although my world has turned into someones world that If I met me in this personality in the norm I would find this new me a strange person to socialise with. My joy now is to be with people lioke myself that endure these changes not with joy but with finding ways arround it to improve our quaility in this world although for oscar and I were really not part of it anymore where in it to enjoy how we can a little like “allians” I sometimes feel but in the working arround the edges it can and it does help to ellimiante those Dementia meltdowns “accepting” we cannot live in these surroundings anymore… so thanks girl for this sharing do respect and love you and do look forward to anbother catch up with you. xxxxxx sorry for spellign issues tired today x

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