Be the reason someone smiles today

When first diagnosed with dementia, I was devastated, truly fearful and in total shock, as I had no idea young people could get dementia. I cried for many weeks, and jogged for as long, as fast, and as often as possible, until the pain of running took over from the pain of the diagnosis, and forced the tears to stop. It still seems important to be proactive to manage the pain and the shock of a dementia diagnosis. Mr. Arthritis no longer allows me to run, but I can still walk (fast!), and I can still type (phew!), therefore I still have some form of positive ‘therapy’ to manage the stolen dreams of dementia.

However, I’ve never been into whining too often about anything, and instead have tried to be proactive in working on living positively with everything life has thrown my way. It does not happen overnight, and depending on the level of stress or trauma caused by an illness or a crisis, it can take time. In fact, I feel I have only recovered from the deep trauma I was experiencing this time last year, and really think I have just now got my mojo back, and do not have to ‘keep running’ [working and travelling] to stop the pain.

As a dementia activist, I also try to empower others to do the same.

Not whining does not mean I don’t or won’t complain if I feel something is unjust or wrong! But when I do complain, I also won’t just complain; I will always be willing to roll up my sleeves and work on finding a solution.

Being focused on my strengths and how to manage the disAbilities I live with, some cognitive disAbilities caused by dementia and some physical disAbilities caused by the brain malformation and other spinal injuries is actually really hard work. But it is worth it, and much more productive than sitting home doing nothing, or worse, whining about what is wrong in my life. Personally, I prefer to be the reason someone smiles today.

Staying focused on what I can no longer do would ensure I’d be forever lost in the sadness of dementia, and I’d have missed the many really wonderful opportunities that have appeared since, and often because of dementia.  (Kate Swaffer 2018)

I found the image (used above without formal permission, although it says on the website – “When using my work in non commercial settings (meaning you are not making any money), please include pixpired.com”. Pixpired is a website about “learning, leadership, coaching and life in general through visuals” and I am delighted I have found my way to it through finding this image on Googleimages.com. I especially love this part of a quote from the blog where the image appears, “Whining is not a strategy“:

“If you are whining or looking at what is wrong, you cannot see opportunities…”

Keep searching for the positives: is not always easy, but it is always possible. 

(Kate Swaffer 2018)

16 thoughts on “Be the reason someone smiles today

  1. Kate-we’ll done for posting this and another wonderful post👍It appears that those who are diagnosed with dementia younger or earlier cry in the beginning stages of there journey although my grandad didn’t cry when he got officially diagnosed but his was advanced though. If I got dementia I would cry and how you have coped is amazing-I am not sure how i would have coped myself-you have changed it from a negative experience into a positive experience by joining dementia alliance,making lots of new friends,and going on lots of overseas trips as a dementia activist-take care you inspiration❤️

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  2. Christiane Northrup, when talking about letting go of negative emotions, suggested the only negative emotion she could justify was ‘righteous anger’ – which is the same as your description of calling out injustice. It’s certainly not whining! Jan (not Alan)

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  3. OMG Kate I didn’t realise you could read minds!?🤔 You have just stepped into mine and said the words I needed to hear, thank you my friend. I have just survived a week of unrelenting challenges due to a cocktail of work and personal issues and I have focussed my energy on whining about it. Thanks Kate for helping me see my misdirected focus is making me miss the opportunities that right here in front of me. You have given me wings to fly again Jon. With hugs and gratitude ness

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