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Thirteen weeks and one day; an update on my mum and her dementia diagnosis… Resilience, time for you, and is there anything you don’t like about your personality?

Today is 26th July 2015 and it has been thirteen weeks and one day since mum, in a strange state of mind, fell down the stairs and badly damaged herself.

my plant pots July 2015

my plant pots July 2015

Tomorrow she is going home from the care home she ended up in after her long hospital stay.

I have mixed emotions about this, but hope, with all my heart, that it will work out well. We have converted the lounge into a lounge/bedroom as she cannot get upstairs, and mum will have a carer come in four times a day to help her. My dad will also support her as much as he can.

It is fair that she goes home, and is able to give it a go, as this hadn’t been an option originally, and I have been promoting her return, but she is already ‘playing up’ to my dad and other family members. She has also been verbally abusing care workers in the care home. It can be excruciating. I hope this is not a dementia related trait.

So, am I walking on eggshells as I have done all my life? No.

I have, through a laborious (but totally worth it) recovery from my own mental health issues, found a new balance. I still topple as any scales might, but basically I am balanced. Behind all the mood swings, she is my mum, and she essentially has a good heart. She has mental health issues. She also has a new diagnosis of Vascular Dementia so the future doesn’t look terribly bright, but we must live for today.

In the past three months and one day, I have cried many tears (including today), argued many points, dealt with doctors, family, nurses, care workers and social workers, I have listened to mum and dad’s varying points of view, seen a lot of upset and depression at play within both of them, and visited twenty eight care homes trying to find mum a more suitable home, despite her not accepting any of them, fighting her battles for her due to her dementia diagnosis causing everyone to treat her like she should be in a care home (stigma fighting as per!), fighting dad’s battles to get more help… I nearly ran away, but I didn’t. I stayed and dealt with things in a constructive and, mostly, measured way. I have surprised myself at my abilities. I have been busier than I could even imagine and coped.

Me and my cat, Titus (Amanda Green)

Me and my cat, Titus

I used mindfulness whenever I could, enjoying every little moment I could, ‘feeling’, ‘tasting’, ‘viewing’, ‘hearing’ and ‘smelling’ everything around me (or pretty much!), staved off the

la rochelle isle de re bridge from our boat

la rochelle isle de re bridge from our boat

urges for alcohol binges most of the time, continued with my counselling placement (now counselling three regular clients associated with homelessness), and got on with my college research projects. I have had a holiday in France and thoroughly enjoyed it (even meeting a fellow author out there!), have weeded and pruned my pot garden and driveway, I have been reading (showing a marked rise in concentration), eating well, have been looking after my pet cat, hamster and fish (animal therapy), and have been more physically active. So, the difference is that I have made time for myself, looked after myself, sought support (for a change) when I needed it, found a truly supportive side in Michael (Chris), and found a way to be empathic without my emotions for others’ taking over my life.

It’s called resilience.

And the way to get it, without being totally heartless, is to find balance in how we observe, feel about and treat others, and how we observe, feel about and treat ourselves. It really is a case of being good to yourself allows you to be good to others. If you hate yourself, you might feel bad about others. If you are self-critical you may criticise others (called ‘transference’ or ‘projection’), if you feel comfortable with who you are, you will probably be balanced in how you feel about others’.

mmm Hot Chocolate!

mmm Hot Chocolate!

I still find myself acting out self-destructive behaviours such as a binge of drinking, or not eating properly, but this is now absolutely minimal, and I keep this in check through self-reflection and self-analysis.

Michael (Chris) and I

Michael (Chris) and I

So, have a think today about how you feel about yourself. How are your self-reflection and self-analysis skills? Are you balanced? Do you like yourself? Love yourself? Enjoy your own company? Is there anything in your personality that you don’t like? If there is, do you find yourself projecting that dislike onto others?

Make time today to think about yourself and how it might affect the way you feel, behave or think about others. Life is far too stressful, fast paced and busy, so it can take a lot of effort to just stop and take stock but it truly is worth it, for yourself and for better interpersonal relationships. 🙂

So, as tomorrow comes nearer, I look forward to taking mum home and introducing her, with dad, to her new home as they embark on a whole new way of life together. Neither like change, but with effort, could make it work (fingers crossed) x

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4 comments to Thirteen weeks and one day; an update on my mum and her dementia diagnosis… Resilience, time for you, and is there anything you don’t like about your personality?

  • christina

    I wish you strength, this cannot be easy to watch and live through. Hopefully the transition will go well for everyone.

  • judith b

    Hi Amanda, I’m at the end of our long journey through Mum’s dementia. I agree, you need to keep mindful of yourself (I call it self-preservation) Mum was lucky, we had carers with her in her own home until January just gone. I’ve just returned from a visit to the care home which is 240 miles away (my sister, quite rightly, I suppose, insisted Mum stayed around the area where they live) I sat next to Mum for four hours while she slept. When she woke she didn’t focus or recognise my voice. It’s cruel; she’s ninety-four and I feel she is ready to go. She would hate what is happening to her. This is a difficult time for you and my thoughts are with you. I hope you don’t think I’m being presumptuous when I say bear in mind this is not what your mum would want you to be going through – I’m just passing on a comment my mum said to me in the early days of her dementia.

    • amandagreenauthor

      Hi Judith, that is so sad. Did your mum live nearer to you before she went into a home? It is such a long way to go just to find a ghost of your mum, essentially. My mum will have a four times a day carer come in, so all the work is not put back on my dad, so we shall just have to see how that goes. I mum doesn’t like her, it will not be a secret! Dementia is one of my most feared things, not for me but for my parents, and here we are. Ninety four is a great age, and maybe you are right – no-one would want to live like that if they knew anything about it. Well it’s not presumptuous at all; it’s a very helpful thing to say. Michael said it to me when I was getting in a state when mum had her accident – that she would not want me to be so upset and down – and it really did help because it is right. Wishing you and mum all the best xxx

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