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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
Finally able to laff.
After my dementia diagnosis, i fell into a deep depression. I finally was able to humble myself and ask my primary care physician for an anti-depressant. But, it took about 10 days to kick in! Still, I found myself sad, and decided i wanted to get counselling to deal with ALL the various feelings i was having.
I asked for a counsellor that had MORE experience in helping those of us with dementia. Fortunately i got a wonderful guy who first helped me to deal with my RAW emotions. He said i was grieving. I didnt understand what he meant until he explained it. Then i remembered when my Grandma died and how i went thru SO MANY emotions!
Needless to say, it has taken me quite awhile to even smile again, but i have! That was a real breakthrough for me to smile again. I use to be a happy, FUNNY person until my diagnosis.
But, im EXCITED to report now that im not only able to laff again, but i have even progressed to being able to joke about my dementia. The first step in that direction though, was when i could say to my friends "Dementia Moment" when i forgot my train of thought, couldnt remember the next word to say, etc.
Then, my next step was to force myself to find something funny (or good) in my life. That started one day when i was at the store looking for a birthday card. I came across a funny one that brought a smile to my face. So then i just started reading humous cards (they actually have a section just for funny cards!) Needless to say, i kept reading funny cards and was actually laffing out loud! It felt SO GOOD! Finally a short time of ENJOYMENT! Even though i left the store FORGETING to buy a birthday card, that 10 min.of laffing and having fun, was a major break through for me!
It was as if a big, black cloud that was hanging above me, finally lifted! NOW, dont get me wrong, i still hav sad days, but just knowing i was able to laff and smile at all, brings me out of the "hopelessness" of my dementia diagnosis.
I am VERY FORTUNATE to hav a friend who is a certified laughter leader. She took extensive training to learn about ALL the affects of humor in everyones life. Then they learn Laughter Yoga which deals with laughter and stretching. Believe it or not, this is a REAL thing, and it works!
One thing ive FINALLY realized, is that life (including my cognitive life) is TOO SHORT! I already wasted ALOT of time being depressed, sad, and angry that i hav dementia. Im NOW trying to live each day to its FULLEST! Its not easy finding at least one thing everyday that i can b grateful for or laff about. BUT Ive found if i do that, it gets my mind out of the pit of despair.
I started small at first, going to the store JUST to read funny cards, but now ive added reading the cartoons in the newspaper, putting up notes in my bathroom and refrigerator of something funny or encouragimg, and watching comedy shows on tv (Carol Burnett, Johnny Carson, etc.) These little "REMINDERS" to smile and laff, lead to my next breakthrough!
After getting very frustrated with myself when i couldnt remember the next word to say, completely lose my train of thought, etc., I one day told a friend "Dementia Moment" after a talking boo-boo. I found that actually helped me to deal with ALL my mistakes in cognitive tasks and talking.
So, after this progress, i am now even able to Google "Dementia Humor" to find specific cartoons about our dreadful disease. I dont often do it on a daily basis, but on my "good" days, i can laff at my dementia mistakes, and give myself a break about the boo-boos.
I dont know the specific statistics about HOW MUCH MORE kids laff than adults! But, ive found that being around my one-year and two-year old nieces, REALLY LIFTS my mood and makes my day.
I would like to know about things YOU hav found to help in dealing with ALL OUR NEGATIVE FEELINGS. Im desparately seeking MORE ways to bring some joy and happiness in my life! Wont you share what kinds of things help YOU to get through day-to-day life with dementia?
Good for you, Vik! Grab on to those positive emotions!
Alz+ posted extensively in the past about smiles. I found her words to be insightful and encouraging.
I posted a thread "To Lift Our Spirits" that is supposed to be encouraging.
There used to be a thread on the Caregivers board called "Weird Sense of Humor." I turned there when I needed a laugh.
What a wonderful gift, smiles and laughter are. I'm so thrilled for you. So many of us know far to well about first diagnosis depression and grieving. Coming out the other side is also an amazing gift. Im thrilled for you. Cheers!
Smiles, i havnt come out to the other side. My dementia must hav affected my train of thought while typimg. Im still depressed but hav some joy in my life here and there.
I can hardly wait to see video conference this week! Ive downloaded the ZOOM app and got signed up for the video conferencing i think. It was all pretty complicated for me. The lady sent me a very nice letter about their offerimgs. I sent her bak an email and told her that a person had referred me.
I keep getting connections from day-to-day! Im learnimg lots, but its prerty hard. Still crying here and there---does it ever stop? Im now reading about end-of-life. I hav so much to do bfor im not able to cognitively! I also dont want my relatives to hav to deal with a mess and havimg to make hard decisions they dont want to make or know how to make. In some ways, early onset diagnosis is advantageous bcuz we hav some time to get our lives organized.
My neurologist told me tho that the downside of early diagnosis is dealing witb all the feelings and emotions plus experiencimg all the sentence lapses, wrong words, and frustration of losing my cell, tv remote and keys 20x a day! I feel some kind of connection with u bcuz of our shared diagnosis and approximate age, along with so many of the writings u've shared.
Oh Sweet Vik: My heart spills over, I know exactly what you are going through. Oh my gosh I read your posts and feel as if I wrote them. I'm so excited that you will be chatting live with folks like us. My group was amazing and welcoming. Don't feel bad if you get teary on your first meet, I sure did. For me my words and brain scramble settled down after my doc worked out the proper medications for anxiety and depression.
Once you get up and running we can do a zoom together as well. Do you know what group you were assigned? If I remember correctly you are in AUS,?
Stay in tough and be well. I pray you find peace, although, I do know it takes time. It took me a long while to get to the acceptance point. Lots of medical appointments, psycologist appts, medicine changes etc. I've only been in the acceptance part of this for approx. 4-5 months.
Do the tears ever stop you ask? Well, I cannot say they do, I still have my moments of suffering and sadness. Especially after a really bad day. Hang in sweetie.....stay social and get out as much as possible.
Go to DAI website and click menu. Select services and then peer to peer support groups. Open that and click join here........you will be in either the Thurs group or the Friday group.
Keep me posted. You'll love it once you get it figured out.
SMILES: Thanks for info. I will try again--lost my ability to solve problems---LOL. Im signed up for the DAI Rock Event tomorow sinc i like music so much. They had a waiver you could get to avoid the $10 fee, so if that fee is holding u bak, u can email them to waive the fee. They send me a confirmation on my attendance.
I did read somewhere on their site that they send REMINDER emails for the Peer-to-Peer groups, so hopefully that will also list a link for me to go to for the ZOOM videoconferencing. I know i will enjoy the group discussions.
My home healthcare aid came today and i got so excited--more for the socialization than the house cleamimg! Made me realuze how lonely ive been and that i havnt talked to anyone for so long. Ive read (and my counselor said) that its important to socialize and get out of the house. Tje past two days i went and sat in my card and read as it was warm but there was a very COOL breeze. Plus my car was sitting in the sun so was very warm.
It felt nice to hav the sun shining on my face and arms. Spri g is here and soon i will b able to tinker in my LARGE FLOWER GARDEN. I downsized it last year as it was getting hard to keep up with everything. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE flowers and watching them grow and then bloom. So all thst will help my outlook too! We just switched to daylit savings time to so it stays liter later!
OOh I'm thrilled for you . Did u get assigned Thurs or Fri peer to peer? This will be a wonderful outlet for u. It is for me.
Hey Vik: I do the 1:30 Friday group. MST. You may be central time I'm guessing. I tried to chat with you while on the DAI music thingy today. Are you on FB so we can be friends on line? That way I can message you and vice versa.