Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

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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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/

 

 

Celebrity Messiah

January 28, 2017

in_the_shadow_of_the_church_by_bellarie-d2xy3jm

 

I watch you scream down from the pulpit
An anonymous speck in a vast congregation
You shake your fists at the sky
As the sun bursts from a cluster of clouds
Madmen shriek back at you
One who believes he is the Messiah
God’s sole representative on Earth

Never doubt my knowledge, you say
Never doubt my wisdom
Your tune is irresistible
You are rendered powerful
By the chanting crowd before you
They see God glimmering in your eyes
They hear Armageddon in your voice

They are intoxicated by you
They are bewitched and beguiled
As you depict blood and suffering
In glorious and beautiful detail
You describe every imaginable daemon
They stand, cheer and beg for more
They are God’s newly recruited army

They surround and sustain you
Some see you as a saviour
Others as a screaming psychopath
To your enemies you scream
‘Rot in hell’ as your invoke
The acrid odour of long dead heretics
And burning witches

You are captured in a camera flash
And all over the world people
Who will never meet you
Watch your flickering image
On their television screens
Few can look upon you
Without something dying inside

Members of your congregation
Reach deep into their pockets
Purchasing immortality. I hear
The clattering of coins
As they fall into your collection basket
And iI imagine a huger and greedy grin
Forming in your mind

I knew you when you were
A street corner Messiah
Amidst the neon lights and skyscrapers
Of a vast and lonely city
How high you have climbed. How tall
You stand. But I know
That someday even you will fall

War of Attrition

August 23, 2009

DSC00093

War of Attrition

We have fought a war of attrition

And I will make this single admission

Your troubles were doubled by my return

For I have been reborn

And rebirth is agony

Crossing points at porous borders

At three fifteen.  Dark mornings

In winter

Every year we pursue this path

We drink coffee out of paper cups

In the station cafe

We board the train

We were wanderlusts

Their eyes were watching us

Some demon descends

The North wind steers me off my course

I force myself through the fetid, heavy air

We were duped

A diplomatic crisis ensues

The natives flee from me

For I am the one with the extra eye

Merciless and ruthless is my inner eye

I have been cursed

With  a flawless memory

And in the market

We trade in a sparrow

For a swan

Then we decorate dead birds

And dance around them


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