So, back from France, no more a nomad, no more a wanderer.
Back to routines, familiar places and people.
Back to…well, dementia.
For six weeks I forgot about it.
I saw new views,
Said Bonjour to hundreds of unknown friendly faces
Slept beside cows or beaches or huge, beautiful vistas,
Had no anchor, no dead weight.
And it felt good.
And then, quite suddenly, I had to re-learn everything at home.
Where was everything in the kitchen?
How did the cooker work?
How did the other car work?
I couldn’t find my knowledge either, got stuck in conversations about “work”.
Had no idea about things I have been closely involved in for months or years.
And guess what, I got very very fed up.
I mean, really depressed. Crying at times.
What was life looking like then? Miserable, decaying, crumbling away…
Nothing to look forward to but dementia.
I met the dementia community sister. And the practice nurse for my diabetes annual check. Talked to them about it all.
What’s the point in trying to lose weight, drink less, walk more, I said.
They understood and empathised. Perhaps for the first time I felt really listened to by a clinician.
They both proposed upping the antidepressants.
Maybe it’s the pills, or maybe it was talking about it, or just time passing, but now I’m back in a fairly serene state.
My head is in a better place. I’ve got most of the stuff back about work. And I’m eating and drinking more healthily and feeling better for it.
Success breeds success. Feel good and you live better.
Now, let’s look at the lessons from all this.
One, if you don’t use it you lose it, and you may not get it back. I struggled for a month.
Two, you need to have the right people to talk to when you need it. If you’re really down you may not do be able to make that happen so it needs to be easy and quickly available. I was lucky as my annual checks came along together at the right time.
Three, depression needs treatment. Either medication or activity or social contact or a mixture thereof. In my case all three. And it’s got me going again.
Four, why wouldn’t someone with dementia get depressed? It’s shit, as I have said before.
Five, “we” need help and support to live well with dementia. (As do our carers, and family, writ large)
And it ain’t often there.
Six, we need peer and other social contact. That needs a little bit of organising, but it makes a huge improvement in outlook and self esteem.
So, where is this support?
There is an almost complete lack of anything between diagnosis and crisis where I live.
It’s time to change that.