Monday, September 25, 2017

The Algebra of a Pineapple

I have just returned from a course to study something new. Those who know me, know that I am very much a feelings person first. If your calculator is not working correctly - you know I am the person to empathize with you and throw it across the room for you, however I am not the person who will logically work out the math problem for you.

This course was all about logic, and I saw at least four times, things that reminded me of algebra at school. Interestingly enough, I had the same reaction as the twelve year old did - that of complete horror followed by the frustrated concern of why on earth do adults have to over complicate everything?
If you have a pineapple, it is a pineapple, you should not add a smaller letter underneath it and still call it a pineapple, while acknowledging that now it is a lemon.

There were great elements of this course where I sat in the lost zone. I understood the theory but not the why. I was the person in the room still saying "what?' as four more pages had been turned, another solution solved and a deeper layer revealed. I felt like I was in a maze, blindfolded, with ear plugs, on a stormy day, with mirrors, and tricks and someone watching and laughing at me.

The serious point of this post is to highlight the truth that crossed into my mind, as I recognized where a person diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia will travel.
The uncertainty, the stress over struggling to connect everything, to connect anything. The bewilderment as people around confidently talk in what appears to be a foreign language. You know you knew it and now you don't. The astonishment of loss - where one second it makes sense and the very next, you have no idea.

My emotional connection ability is extremely insightful and I could see where I was blocking myself.
I could slow down my thoughts, silence other peoples voices and energies in order to focus and locate the breakthroughs where sense could and would eventually arrive. Can you imagine not being able to do that? To be stuck in the middle of that? To be swept up within this tornado effect on the brain, which occurs suddenly and powerfully.

My heart, as it often does, surged as I perhaps tapped into that fear and to be honest, sheer panic.
I left the room twice to have a private cry, as I felt I could finally understand a little of the anxiety my husband felt as his illness grew.

As care partners, we can become very busy and noisy in what we think is assistance. When actually it isn't. When speaking with anyone struggling with cognitive issues, please stop over thinking and over doing. You need to create space and a simpler energy - not so that the person will catch up, because sadly, they wont be able to all of the time, but to present a calmer environment where their spinning of thoughts may slow. Where they can feel accepted and wanted. A place where we can provide peace where their uneasiness is growing.

You have to wonder whether, we could, should, would be doing this anyway, as life throws us on twisting paths.

The course taught me a number of new ideas and thoughts, and professionally is another skill level I will use. The biggest thing it taught me is that I have a desire, and perhaps even an obligation to do something to assist care partners as they attempt to do the very best for their loved ones. So, lets see where that leads.

If I went through everything, it has to be worth something. I want my experience to matter.
Thank you for reading.
Always with love.