Category Archives: alzheimers disease

And… breathe…


Unknown.jpegbreathing… the very essence of life… without it we can’t survive. Instinctual. Natural even? Something we take for granted? Something we are usually not aware of?

But sometimes, it’s the only thing we can manage, and it’s the only thing we need to manage.

I have been finding things quite difficult since the start of the year- and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I am about to list is the full reason for my melancholy- but I’m sure it hasn’t helped.

  • A friend’s daughter committed suicide in January- though not personally affected by her loss, the impact on my mental health and ability to keep myself safe has been, and still is huge.
  • Another person I know has started treatment for anorexia. Her pictures and stories on Facebook have been hugely triggering for me- I know I need to block them- but like a moth to a light bulb I’m drawn to them…
  • My elderly neighbour with Alzheimers has been put in to a care home against her will. I have visited her every day for nearly 10 years- she is now gone. I’ve been to the care home to see her and it is just awful. I came out of there on Saturday and just wept- wept for her, and wept for myself, as I see before me my fear of what might happen to me…
  • School/Work has been awful (and still is) At times really unpleasant. I’ve felt betrayed by people I thought were friends and been stabbed in the back by parents whom I have gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping… I’ve felt rejected and abandoned and have hurtled in to fear of bankruptcy and losing my house… I don’t feel positive enough to stem the negative tide… I can only see the ongoing trajectory as downward…
  • I am working so hard (some things that I wish I wasn’t having to work at), so I live with the constant tension of not actually doing a good enough job at any of what I am having to do…
  • My studies (my treat) is being totally neglected
  • I am still trying to adapt to the new arrangements I have/ need to have with close buddies who now have children
  • I am on count down to having to stop with my psychiatrist due to re-structuring in the Trust. I have seen him for 12 years- never a good time to stop, but it really doesn’t feel like the right time to stop either
  • Plus, a couple of other things that I choose not to blog about…

Actually as I write this I realise I feel depressed. I’ve had other times in life that have been tricky, but I’ve not felt like this. I am filled with doom about the future. I can’t see a way through. I haven’t the energy to fight at the moment. Things that were more natural to me aren’t anymore. The black cloud has tightened it’s grip a bit. So this post hasn’t developed the way I thought it would… I didn’t expect to write this last paragraph- but that’s good- that’s why I blog, it helps me process, and this process has taken me to a slightly unexpected place… so I’m going to stop here and get back to where I started, focus on my breathing.

Thanks for listening





oh the irony


Sometimes life is just weird! Plan weird!

Yesterday, I did pretty ok at staying on track. By the end of the day I was really upset- doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have done it… but on the whole facing things is more upsetting than ignoring things in the short term.

Unknown.jpegI spent some of the day reading “Reinvent Your Life” textbook again. I’ve blogged about it before and I can’t recommend it enough to those who are interested in schema therapy. I was focussing quite a bit on the sections on maternal deprivation and abandonment issues.

Then lo and behold my elderly neighbour next door, June, had a funny turn and was taken off to hospital.

I have blogged before about how difficult I find her at times. She has Alzheimers and Dementia and in some ways is the most stressful part of my life currently. She can be quite demanding of me and I find it incredibly hard to hold my boundaries with her. She is very critical of me and I am never quite good enough for her.

But last night when she was in hospital, I was bereft at not having her next door. I was proper upset. As I write now, the emptiness next door is massive. I know I should feel a bit of relief at the respite but I don’t. I think because of my thinking/ reflecting yesterday I’ve become a bit over-sensitive to female figures in my life again… and as ridiculous as it seems I am feeing really lost without her.

She may or may not return home. I am not party to those arrangements for her. Part of me really doesn’t want her to come back, as I don’t think it is the best place for her, but part of me is now also thinking, what am I going to do without her?

oh the irony…


not sure what I’m trying to say…


In 1998 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and I spent a long time in a very busy acute medical ward in a large London teaching hospital. That was an interesting time! Let me just say those nurses were literally angels!

It was also my first interaction as an adult with alzheimer’s disease. Joan, in her 80’s was in the bed next door to me. It was an old style Florence Nightingale ward and we were literally in very close physical proximity. She did not need to be in hospital but her family wanted her to be put in to a very well known Jewish care home and social services were disputing it, and therefore Joan was in hospital. Joan regularly disappeared. Was often returned to the ward by two police constables. And generally was a complete sweetheart to me but obviously very confused with life.

Joan loved dancing. In the hospital they have a grand piano in the lobby. With my fiancé at the time, we would take Joan downstairs, I would play the piano and she would dance. I think the nurses were relieved when we took her out and she helped me whittle many long weeks in hospital. (Incidentally, my maternal grandmother had severe senile dementia, but hers manifested in her never speaking to me. I can honestly say I have no recollection of ever hearing her voice. ) Joan was the exact opposite. In many ways the disease manifested in her coming overly alive as opposed to the silence of my grandmother.

I often returned from the bathroom to find her lying prostrate in my bed. For some reason she would also steal my clothes and I would see my spotty green jumper disappear as she went on a runner.

My next door neighbour, June, 84, has also been recently diagnosed with severe dementia and Alzheimers. Unfortunately she is becoming increasingly aggressive and demanding. But she has also started going through my rubbish and taking it in to her house. I threw out a ripped/ broken coat. It has now appeared in her hallway and she swears blind that she has just bought it from the shop. I throw out boxes for recycling and she takes them in.

As my title says, I don’t know why I’m writing this blog. I haven’t got anything particularly insightful to say. But every time I see my coat in June’s house, I think of Joan. A fear tries to grip me that I will end up like this- which maybe I will or maybe I won’t… but I again am humbled by the cycle of life.

June is a big part of my life currently, and I need to try and keep my own sense of self with her, which I find very difficult. With Penelope we have been exploring how to extricate myself from enmeshed relationships and grief that threatens to overwhelm me. We are discussing the importance of remaining separate. Remaining a person in my own right. Keeping myself separate and whole. Things I find so challenging. Maybe the gift of June to me, is that as other enmeshments are prying for my attention at the moment, just maybe June is a safer place for me to start practicing.

I can only offer nothing but my sincerest sympathy to those who find themselves looking after loved ones affected by the ravages of alzheimers.

Thanks for listening.