One of the biggest challenges for me is letting go of the abilities I once had. Yes, I know it is easy to say, “but you can still do so many things”, but let me just say how devastating it is having to let go of functioning.
I am not talking about physical functioning, as I was and am very used to that happening. Needing reading glasses was the first major step towards that, and possibly giving up playing squash the second!
I’m okay about my hair going grey, I’m okay with my wrinkles that mean I have lived and loved, I’m even reasonably okay living with the ongoing chronic pain of severe arthritis and other chronic conditions.
Accepting that I can no longer manage medication, nor sometimes work out how to get dressed or make a cup of coffee is emotionally debilitating. My maths ability has been impaired for some time, but now, it is so impaired others have talked about it, and suggested to my husband perhaps it is time I let go of doing more things. Of course, we have had to go through the pain together this weekend, as it had to be brought up…
I find this to be part of the process of letting go of the many things you lose with dementia, but in contrast to when you are letting go of someone you have loved, you still have your functioning and abilities in tact. When you let go of someone who has died, you still have your functioning and abilities in tact. When you lose a job, you still have your functioning and abilities in tact. When you lose friends (except when this happens after a diagnosis of dementia), you still have your functioning and abilities in tact.
If you have ever wondered why people with dementia act in ways that are hard for others to live with, manage, accept, then please think about what it is like for us, the people diagnosed with dementia, who are losing our functioning and abilities. We are changing in ways that you are not, yes, but we are also losing so much of our identity, who we once were, perhaps even who we wanted to become.The future looks grim, and our past, sometimes even this morning or yesterday, is fading, perhaps not even to become a distant memory for some of us.
Letting go is hard to do, especially when you have nothing else to hold onto… or look forward to, which is why it is so very important to completely ignore Prescribed Disengagement™® , and Live beyond dementia™, for as long as humanly possible.