Living with dementia is like always being in the middle of a storm, or a potential storm, with someone or something. Either we are struggling to know how to make a cup of coffee or get dressed, and wondering if we have taken our tablets or even what to do in the shower is what many of us face daily, and is what goes on behind closed doors, so when someone meets us in the street, or at an event, they rarely see the invisible disabilities, nor the struggle we have gone through to get there.They do not see the many laminated help sheets and reminders stuck all over my home, constant reminders of the things I can no longer do without some sort of prompt or support.
The greater challenge I have found is how to maintain positive and open relationships with others, especially others with dementia as we are almost all over emotional, struggle to fully understand or misinterpret, and almost all get upset and over react. Hell, we do it with our care partners and the rest of the world, so it is not unreasonable we would do it with each other.
A dear friend who supports her partner full time recently wrote about how hard it is getting for her physically and emotionally to manage the daily effort of loving and caring for someone who is changing so much, and who is not always rational, and is sometimes paranoid. And who does not always remember what she has done or said, so if it was something unintentionally hurtful, when one is still hurting, the other is in blissful ignorance of what has happened or why she would be hurt. This adds to the challenges we face, and I suspect all any of us can do, is to do our best.
We do our best to forgive, to forget (yes, forget!), and to love each other more. That is my goal and dream, and as the days move forward I will keep offering olive branches to others who may feel I have wronged them. It is never intentional if I have, and that is all I can do, for now. Finding calm in the midst of a storm is bloody hard to do at the best of times, but add in cognitive disabilities, changed emotions, reactions, over reactions, misinterpretations, misunderstanding and all the other things caused by dementia, and its a nightmare!