Thoughts that have helped me retain a little more sanity
I started my journey with my wife's Alzheimer's at least 15 years ago. That's with hindsight and noting the first behavior change that really stands out. In real time it crept up on me slowly enough that I didn't know it was happening until 7 years later. Under my own power I already had moderate (didn't feel that moderate) anxiety / depression. Alzheimer's helped take me to a very bad place. Every philosophy that has helped me survive has been created while looking through that lens. I'm unique and fortunately so is everybody else. YMMV
1) Often Strength is Just a Lack of Options
When I realized my wife's condition, my mind was shouting at me to run away. I'd whisper to myself that I didn't have the strength. This was the best that I could come up and is still a comfort today.
2) Sadness Lies in the Past Despair in the Future
I tend to live in the past and future. Places where I can easily make myself miserable. When I'm in the moment I generally find myself in the living room and nothing is happening that I can't handle
3) Don't be Tired
Anything that fills the blank in "I'm so tired of _____." has defeated me. I can't be tired of something without it happening in the past and / or expecting it to go on in the future. I refer to number 2 above.
3) Not Unhappy
Imagining what happiness would look like only helped me create a list of things that were making me unhappy. For me not being unhappy is at least halfway to happiness and a lot easier to achieve.
4) Reality Isn't
This has been covered by everything from the greatest philosophers the world has ever known to bumper stickers. I've read the bumper stickers. I'm pretty sure that the universe actually is out to get me but it's not going to do it by beaming universal frustrated or sad realities my way. That means that I can change my reality by changing my mind, eventually, most of the time. There is the possibility that my reality will collide with the reality of things like; a falling boulder, an angry badger or concepts like; the ability to breath under water, fly unassisted, etc. Many things and actions have immutable realities so I don't jump in front of moving garbage trucks no matter what my personal reality is telling me.
5) The Glass is Not Half Full
My wife at her low points has confused, feeble spells and sleeps an awful lot. I watch her sleep and try not to cry too much. On the other hand when she's sleeping she's not shadowing me and I get to go sit in a room all by myself for a bit. Good is good, bad is bad. One glass is full, the other is empty.
6) Forgive Every Thing
This one was huge for me. "Every thing" is two words for a reason. I forgive specific things one at a time and they fade away if not permanently at least for a while. For instance: alzheimer's, sleepless nights and awful mornings, my impatience, etc. For months every morning when I woke I would write FET on my calendar touching each letter and speaking the words.
7) Stand Up and Face the Cold
When I've gone out in a cold wind while not dressed warmly enough I've discovered I don't feel as cold when I stand up straight and face the wind. I've applied the same concept to my relationship with Alzheimer's. I feel like I have some control when I'm facing something unpleasant instead of trying to hide from it.
8) I forget these things
I use a free mindfulness app on my phone to randomly pop up reminders. Each reminder is also time to remember to breathe.
These are my reminders:
* stay out of the future
* stay out of the past
* tedium is part of my life, accept and forgive it
* slow down
* one thing at a time
* resentment cannot exist without a past
* regret cannot exist without a past
* tired cannot exist without a past
* sadness is part of me, accept and forgive it
* fear is part of me, accept and forgive it
* frustration is part of me, accept and forgive it
* pain is part of me, accept and forgive it
* be as happy as you want whenever you can
9) Offer a Toast
Every evening I offer my best wishes to all of us. It helps me to think that somewhere out there someone offers their best to me. Something special shared anonymously.
I'm going to go now and leave this behind. If you're reading this thanks for your time. If you're part of the vast majority of people that aren't reading this I like you anyway. Refer to item 9 above