Dementia and DID

I never knew what a trigger seeing someone I love with dementia and Alzheimer’s would be.

I traveled to Chicago (my hometown) this past three day weekend to help my father and aunt with sorting through my grandparents’ house. We just moved them to a care facility due to their debilitating dementia, Alzheimer’s, and self-care ability.
There wasn’t just the pain and stress of going through their house, the only stable home I’ve ever known; but also visiting them at the facility. They barely recognized me. Had no idea I am well past college and own my own house now.

The memory struggle hit me like a punch to the gut.

The weekend fractured and I have whole chunks missing. I’m back home now trying not to lose myself to the terror of losing my memory more and more. The crippling fright is more overwhelming than it’s been in years. Maybe ever. I’ve never seen the struggle of memory reconstruction from “the other side”.
I love my grandparents with my whole heart. But I seized in panic every single time we pulled into the facility’s parking lot. The first visit I could barely carry a conversation. The other visits are a hazy blur due to the disassociation/blackouts/switching/lost time.

I’ve discovered a trigger than I have practically no coping technique for. Besides being a shaking mess in my bed with Zoe.

I’d rather kill myself than have that much constant trouble with my memory.

And it terrifies me to think that I might already be more than halfway there.

My grandma when she was younger- she has an affinity for masks too.

My grandma when she was younger- she has an affinity for masks too.

My parents just before their marriage. They're younger than me now in this shot.

My parents just before their marriage. They’re younger than me now in this shot.

Above are a couple of the old pictures I found while cleaning that give me a slight smile.

I don’t have the strength for a long entry, even though there is much I could say on this topic.

14 thoughts on “Dementia and DID

  1. kat

    the only reprieve i can offer you is that in my experience as a nurses’ aide in nursing homes, the people with dementia/alzheimer’s, are not aware of their situation. it is actually much easier for the sufferer than for their family and friends. so know that they will be kept clean and fed and will be able to move about and wander the facility as it pleases them to do. they will be content, and safe. wishing you all the best.

    1. Pen Post author

      I guess that should be good to hear. I dunno. Having already dealt with blackouts and confusion over who people are, I don’t feel entirely reassured by “you won’t be aware or care about it”.

      Not to be rude. I’m sorry. I know you mean well. This whole subject is still sensitive for me. Like an infected wound.

      Hopefully it gets better.

  2. manyofus1980

    Hugs. Thats so sad. I hope you’ll be ok. Pat zoe. And wrap up in a nice soft warm blanket. Your safe. X

  3. Grainne

    Big hugs for you from me. xoxoxox I’m sorry this is such a hard time for you and I can totally understand how triggering that task must have been. Sometimes I feel a bit lucky, having no family aside from my immediate.

    1. Pen Post author

      It’s been rough. I know you’ve had a rough time of it too, so I didn’t want to bother you with my petty issues.

      Hope the rest of your transition continues to go well. The bathroom looked beautiful. Good tub for wine and soaking. ❤

      1. Grainne

        Oh honey – you have never, ever, ever ‘bothered’ me with anything. Your issues are not petty!! I care about you very much and even when I’m busy, I’ll always have room for you in my life okay? I know you’d be there for me too. xox Will shoot you a text this weekend? Will you be around?

  4. Mental Mama

    My great-grandmother had full on Alzheimer’s and I’m pretty sure my grandmother is getting dementia. And you’re right, it’s hard. HARD. I reached the point with my great-grandmother where I just couldn’t go visit anymore, it was too hard on me. My grandmother is still on her own but I’m not sure for how much longer (she’s 83). All I can offer is that if it’s too hard on you and your system, don’t go. My guess is that they don’t want to be seen like this any more than you wish to see them like this.

    If you need to talk to someone, you know how to find me. ❤

    1. Pen Post author

      ❤ Thank you. I just take so much after my grandfather (left-handed, vision/astigmatism issues, autoimmune problems, etc.) that him being hit by this so badly and younger than the average scares me. It's like being back before I had any clue what DID was or how to handle my system at all. Just blackouts and scraps of paper and hoping condoms were used.

      I don't want to go back to that.

      Not that I think I'll be rolling in the cock/sex when struggling with dementia. Hah.

  5. NotAPunkRocker

    ((Hugs)) hon. This is one thing I have not had to deal with directly (yet), but my heart goes out to you. Let me know if you need me.

  6. 3tara

    Both sides of my family have a history of dementia. This past weekend at a family cookout my mom, aunts, and I discussed the inevitable degeneration of our minds. It’s more than scary to contemplate. You’re not alone. -xo 3T

    1. Pen Post author

      Genetics are a scary thing to consider. I wish we could like, just shut the door on the shitty stuff, you know?

      But it’s the whole bag. Bag of angry cats. Hopefully I can take mine out without getting too scratched.


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