What, actually, does it feel like, this dementia?
A little bit of fog that you have trouble seeing through at times.
Sometimes I hope that I will die before the disease develops too far.
Little daily reminders, like not recognising the familiar lane I am driving along for a few seconds.
Occasional long spaces in conversations, searching for the words, for the decision, for the answer.
Finding it harder to decode what I hear. Unable to identify the words I want to hear from the background noise, or even just to recognise words from sounds.
Forgetting that I needed to buy something, having known when I went into the shop.
Being late for appointments because I underestimate the time it will take to get there.
Or because I don’t take into account the things I have to do before I leave home.
Sometimes this feels annoying, sometimes depressing. But the more I remember the five steps to wellbeing, and what matters to me, the less I care.
I get annoyed about this disease is still largely ignored by health professionals, beyond diagnosis. And that they really do not understand its effects.
But I am now trying to ignore what I cannot control. Not so much blissful ignorance as wilful closing of the curtains.
It hurts to be ignored, to be patronised, to be infantilised.
But when I sit on my mower, or walk through the fields, pick my tomatoes or look around my flowers, I think looking the other way is good. And the only way to feel happy in this crazy world.
I write because it uses my brain. I photograph because it absorbs me in the moment. I walk because I see and hear and smell things that are just natural, just…there.
Think about the oak tree that has been standing for three hundred years. Get that perspective.
Listen to and watch the house Martins that return each year, nest, breed, chatter as they swoop and glide, and then fly off again. Year after year.
I am, as someone else may have said, merely a blink of an eye. Life goes on. And so will I.