Posts Tagged ‘Me’

Slow Road to Dementia?

April 3, 2017

ice_mountain_by_bellarie

Cognitive Impairment in Middle Age

Slow Road to Dementia?

There is only one thing scarier than dementia and that is early onset dementia. But both of these disorders have a neglected second cousin: a neurological condition known as mild cognitive impairment. It has been established that cognitive decline can begin in your forties. The condition consists of ‘subtle deficits in cognitive function that nonetheless allow most people to live independently and participate in normal activities.’ It can be, in rare cases, a precursor to full on dementia.

I am on a variety of psychotropic medications. so I am susceptible to this condition.  I am taking more than the British National Formulary permits. At the moment I am experiencing memory loss, inability to think logically, inability to read fiction. Non fiction is okay. Strangely enough this is not listed as a side effect. Ironically, among the books I can read are those of my old nemesis Theodore Dalrymple. My brain empties of thought. I am forgetting words and names. I run out of material in the middle of a conversation. The conversations and concerns of others are perplexing. I am feeling  increasingly detached from the world around me. It feels as though the world was designed for the young. Then people started pulling away, which leads, in turn to a fear of intimacy. Suddenly I am middle aged and increasingly useless. I feel helpless in the face of this. All I can do is write about it.

Plagued by insecurities and doubts I did the worst thing imaginable.: I googled my symptoms. I can feel my brain slowly atrophying. Am I facing premature dementia? I am in my early forties. I am terrified. I see class action law suits against the company that manufactures my medicine. I read about weight gain and feel my flesh expanding. I read about pancreatitis and feel a sharp pain in my left side. How much is real? How much is psychosomatic? I have been perusing articles on the web dealing with cognitive decline. Just because you are paranoid, they say, it doesn’t mean that nobody is out to get you. I feel as though I have lost myself.

I have been researching solutions. Can this be overcome/ameliorated? What can medicine offer? I often panic when I am confronted with brain fog. This exacerbates the situation so calming tactics such as meditation and mindfulness are useful techniques. I also considered vitamin B12 deficiency. I am in the risk category for this condition. I am vegetarian and often neglectful of my diet. Blueberries are apparently a miracle fruit that may even be able to reverse cognitive decline. Physical exercise, even walking, can alleviate the condition.

Other problems that mimic cognitive decline are depression, medication side effects, or an underactive thyroid. I am praying it is the meds. I am also praying that it is reversible.

edit: in case anyone is interested the illustration accompanying this piece is entitled ‘Iceberg’.

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Two Cats In The Yard

March 29, 2017

IMG_0347

Myself: A Case Study

March 20, 2017

IMG_0257Myself: A Case Study:

This will be the bleakest blog entry for a while and for that I apologise. The breadcrumbs have been devoured by the birds and there is no way back. I have to create a new future for myself.  This is a kind of SOS.

This is actually about me but I am writing about myself in the third person. What shall I call myself today: Susan perhaps.

My diagnosis was, until recently schizoaffective disorder but the powers that be have chosen to change it to ‘schizophrenia’. Schizophrenia is a cruel disease. It attacks every aspect of your being and even after a successful medication regime has been established there are problems that may seem unsurmountable but they must be faced up to and overcome. At the moment I am experiencing residual symptoms of my disorder: loneliness, social isolation, suicidal thoughts, panic and anxiety. However, my greatest enemy is poverty of expectation in myself and in others. I find myself longing to give into the temptation to curl up into a ball and lie there forever, to succumb to a dreamless sleep.

Right now I am terrified of the future. I have a tendency to catastrophise. I am finding the world almost impossible to navigate. I am nothing, I am passive, a mere observer. I am characterless, A tabla rasa. My self esteem has been ravaged. I feel socially disenfranchised, as if I have no place in the world. I am living on the edge of darkness, huddled down deep inside myself, wondering whether I will find myself again. “it is my portion to die out and disappear.”

I need to bear constantly in mind that there is a solution to every problem. Something as simple as making a list of problems and solutions can be immensely helpful as it helps to put them into some kind of perspective. I have got to this stage and the darkest hour is just before the dawn. I will not let this illness win. I must triumph over this nameless dread. A life lived in perennial fear is no life at all. Time propels you forward. There is no turning back.

https://www.livingwithschizophreniauk.org/

 

 

Apartment Tour

March 13, 2017

Dreams

October 27, 2016

 

framed2dreams2framed

Terrible Twos

October 14, 2016

resentment2

Rainbow Coloured World

March 10, 2010

…from an aspirational mentalist…

It Will Only Destroy You if You Let It

October 13, 2009

Photo 254

From the age of five to nine I lived on a council estate. These were the late seventies/early eighties. I will not allow the incident I am about to describe desecrate my memories of that place because for the most part it was pure paradise. The close in which I lived was nothing short of idyllic. I do not remember any of the adults who lived there being out of work. My own father was a factory worker and my mother was a nurse. Then a family moved into the end of the street. The mother became known throughout the neighbourhood as ‘that strange woman with the seven flea-ridden cats and her two strange, scruffily dressed children’.

I didn’t know it then but that family was going to have a profound effect on the rest of my life. The mother of the clan was, unlike the rest of the street, unemployable. The neighbours ensured her many cats, multiplying by the day, were fed. Their concern did not extend to her children who although they weren’t emaciated, were not the bonniest of creatures. More than mere neglect was happening in that house and I wish I had the wisdom to heed the warnings given by those much older and much more experienced than me never to venture across the threshold. There was no shortage of these warnings.

I chose to obey my own instincts instead. One of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. I had been told never to listen to gossip. The nuns at my Catholic primary school told me never to ‘Give a dog a bad name and hang it.’ That was an expression they used rather frequently.

So I did it. I crossed the threshold. I remember being overwhelmed by the stench of the cat faeces that were scattered across the floor. And then there were the ‘children’: Calvin and Marie. There was another boy who hovered in the background but he barely seemed to register. Calvin was not exactly a child. He was in his late teens – sixteen or seventeen I think. He invited me into his malodorous bedroom. He said that he would make sure I had a ‘good time’. Suffice to say that a ‘good time’ would be the last words I would use to describe my experiences in that room.

I can’t understand why I returned. Maybe it was the threat that if I didn’t my parents wouldn’t love me anymore or that I would be taken into care. That was what he told me and at the age of seven I believed him. My memories of this period of my life are fragmented. I can’t even remember how long it lasted. Could it have been a month? The entire summer? One memory remains intact in my head. Calvin had found a rickety old bridge. Marie and her adult boyfriend stood on one side familiarizing themselves with one another while on the other side Calvin did things to me that he should have been doing with a young woman of his own age..

Every now and then I hear his voice. But I can never see his face. It was the stench than emanated from him that remained with me – a sickly sweet scent. Overpowering. Later I was told that this was probably cannabis.

Sometimes my memories of that time will enter my head uninvited. I focus upon seeing the events of my childhood through a prism of sunlight. I cannot remember how it ended. I told no one. Except my mother. She admitted that the signs were there but she never made the connection. My parents tried their hardest. I know that now. I’m not so angry anymore. It hasn’t destroyed my life because I won’t let it.

Soon after they had moved in Calvin, his siblings and his mother were evicted from their little house at the end of the road. I hope they found every one of those cats loving homes.

Variation of Me

August 18, 2009
Distorted Me

Distorted Me

Taken by Sony Ericcson W995.

Distorted by Pixelmator

Maybe I will look like that, face down on concrete just after I hit the floor.

They said I was talented.  Why did they lie?  Or maybe they just wanted to make me feel better about myself.  That is the cruelest thing you can do to someone.

The world is inhospitable.  For me it is uninhabitable.

I know I will probably die by my own hand.  It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

I am taking 100 zopiclone every other day…gotta love United Pharmacies.  I must be invincible.  Like Bruce Wills’s character in Unbreakable.


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