I am a girl patient, and I have dementia. It all started with confusion and forgetfulness, but then the darkness followed. I’m not sure when it began, but the darkness was insidious, inching its way into my mind until I felt totally ensnared. I couldn’t think clearly, and I felt like I was losing control.
It was hard to accept the truth, that I had a serious disease, and it was only going to get worse. But as daunting as it seemed, I knew I had to fight. I had to take care of myself, and find ways to manage my illness. With the help of my family, I started by taking steps to keep my mind clear. I began exercising regularly and eating more healthily. I also forced myself to stay active, to focus on the task at hand, and to participate in activities I enjoyed.
I also had to accept that I would never be the same. Things I used to take for granted — making decisions, solving problems, and remembering tasks — were now going to require considerable effort. But I needed to keep going, and find positive ways to live with my dementia.
It was hard to come to terms with the losses I’d experienced. My sharp mind had been diminished, and my independence curtailed. But I wanted to focus on the positive and make the most of what I had. I made a commitment to enjoy life, to cherish the moments I had with my family, and to use my remaining strength to the fullest.
I’m still living with dementia, and the darkness still lingers. But I’m determined to keep fighting and to make the most of my remaining days. With determination, a plan, and the help of those around me, I know I can live with my illness gracefully.
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