It would take the combined efforts of Archimedes, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking to calculate the dimensions of my hatred for dementia. My loathing for the concept of dementia started years ago when it began to take my mother away, then blossomed fully when she was lost to me mentally but still here physically. Now, dementia is confiscating the mind of my partner, inexorably wrenching away his memories, thoughts, emotions. Not to be selfish, I don’t hate dementia only on my own behalf; I hate it also for the effect it has on my family, friends, on others. I hate dementia universally.
While not a hateful person nor a hate monger, I have learned to hate the reality of dementia, regardless of its cause. This one-sided sentiment is not a good thing, mostly because the object of my hatred doesn’t exist as a tangible thing I can act upon. Therefore, my hatred engenders other dark emotions – anger, fear, frustration, sadness, emptiness, depression. I could go on, but you get the idea.
The bland suggestions of “help” sources to get me through these gloomy feelings don’t go very far in reducing them. Among the lists of helpful things are the commonly stated 10 Signs of Dementia of which the most prescient is “memory loss that disrupts daily life”. The other frequently encountered list relative to dementia is the 7 Stages of Dementia. What the experts tend to gloss over is that these stages are by no means concrete, permanent, or sequential thereby reducing the daily effectiveness of applying the information. So, while I am not at the level of hatred for the “help” available to me, I am rapidly becoming disabused of any idea that they are truly helpful.
The love and support and communication of my family and friends are the only help I get in dealing with my emotions. They listen, sympathize, and comfort me as I travel the dreary trail of dementia caregiving. If I could only compute the distance and distresses that we will encounter on this journey then maybe I could find some comfort in absolutes. So far, there are no answers, just incalculable hatred.
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