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No Anger. No Grovelling.

Published on 12 June 2024 06:59 PM

Recently, having Alzheimer's has tended to leave me feeling more on edge and panicky than I used to be. ‘On edge and panicky’ doesn’t work well with our jeering full-speed-ahead-modern-day technology, so I can quickly become shaken and overwhelmed by it, as if under the greatest imaginable threat.

As my brain slows down, I tend to find certain processes more difficult to access. That ingrained ability, which enables one to do things without really thinking about it, may enable me to start out on a project, allowing me to work quite happily, until I find myself drifting away.

Say, for example, I want to do something on my laptop, but part-way into the process the ‘something’ slips behind a cloud leaving me staring blank-faced at an equally blank and uncompromising screen. When incidents like this occur I feel a compulsive need to continue trying at all costs. I’m afraid to stop, thinking that, if I do, I’ll never remember what I was trying to do and what exactly went wrong in the first place.

This thinking effectively leaves me trying to solve a problem when I no longer know what that problem was. I hate myself even more now, for my incompetence and see myself as a total waste of space. I am now, literally, watching myself becoming less and less powerful, and it is this, and so far as I can see, only this, that I feel I might be able to address and maybe even to stop.

My sense of being useless and no more than a burden is unfair. I’m used to being in control and now I feel I’m rolling downhill without a handbrake. But is this my fault? No. No it is not, and at the same time, yes, yes it is. Because I have no right to be so cruel or so demeaning to myself.

Would I treat the others in my group the way I treat myseIf? No. Yet I, like those others, have an illness which by its very nature involves large doses of forgetting and anxiety. It’s a really hard illness to have at times and I feel shame around it. But how can I be ashamed of myself whilst totally accepting of those around me? That smacks of arrogance and is unacceptable.

If anyone spoke to one of my friends in the way I speak to and about myself I’d be really angry. And I’m pretty sure now, thinking about it, that my thoughts are partly fuelling my behaviour. I am making myself so much worse by being either pathetic or aggressive in relation to any adverse situation I find myself falling into.

What, if things went wrong, if I were to respond to myself with gentle encouragement and kind understanding. Surely that would calm instead of agitate me, and put me in a better place?

So here it is. I’m incredibly grateful to the people who help me, my family and friends and the fantastic service offered by Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire. But I am resolved, determined, from now on - having realised how puny and pitiful, and angry and futile I’ve been feeling - not to further demean myself.

Grovelling has never been my game and it does me no good. I want to ask politely for help. I can admit I’m scared or afraid, and if, on occasion, my fear brings tears, so be it. But I don’t want to wear this feeble chain-mail of pity, self-condemnation and grovelling that I’m beginning to put on every time I feel helpless or in need.

Will I be able to change this situation? I don’t know.

I hope so and I feel so, but I really don’t know. I only know that if I make no effort to improve something that I COULD possibly do, I don’t deserve the kindness and love and work that my family, the helpers and the few others who know my situation, offer me, over and over and over again.