Living Positively With Dementia – Guest Blog by Wendy Mitchell
This week on the blog we bring you something a little different. A wonderful lady who we feel needs little introduction, Wendy Mitchell spoke to Fenetic about her Journey living positively with dementia
This week on the blog we bring you something a little different. A wonderful lady who we feel needs little introduction, Wendy Mitchell spoke to Fenetic about her Journey living positively with dementia.
Here’s what she had to say.
My name is Wendy Mitchell. I’m 60 years young and live happily alone in Yorkshire. I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia on the 31st July 2014 at the age of 58.
Before dementia entered my life I was a very private person, but since diagnosis, I’ve been shocked and saddened at the lack of awareness and understanding around dementia. So now I shout from the rooftops raising awareness at every opportunity that comes my way.
I soon realised that many people are embarrassed by dementia. Many people avoid the subject either due to fear, embarrassment or ignorance. My response is, why on earth should we be embarrassed by having dementia? – It is a complex brain disease…
For me a diagnosis is all about adapting. Adapting to a new way of living to compensate for the bits of your brain that no longer function as they used to, and continue to adapt as the disease throws new challenges your way.
I soon realised that I needed to document my daily life, but I wanted to do it electronically. My daughter suggested I started a blog. I'd never blogged or done social media pre-dementia, so this was a new venture. Gemma helped me get started. Originally it was to show family and friends that my intellect was still intact.
I can still type. I can type words faster than I can think and speak them as that part of my brain isn’t broken.
However, I soon realised that my blog was becoming my memory. I use it to record all the wonderful opportunities that dementia has brought my way. I call these ‘the advantages of living with dementia’.
I always think it’s important to turn negative situations into positives as this helps me to cope better.
I would have missed out on so many opportunities if I hadn’t been diagnosed. So I record all the events I attend, talks I deliver and feelings and thoughts on anything and everything dementia related; trips to St James Palace, having a cuppa with Julianne Moore at the premier of Still Alice, meeting so many eminent and wonderful researchers – all these recorded on my blog so I can look back and smile.
It also enables me to record when things go wrong and the strategies I use to try and overcome any difficulties.
It enables me to look back and be astonished at all I’ve achieved. I can often remember the vague facts of a visit but can’t remember the detail. I type the detail at the time and on the journey home while it’s fresh in my mind. Photos often bring back far more than the written word so I’m usually seen snapping away.
It also serves to inform others of what it’s like to live with dementia. This has been an unexpected bonus as I never imagined at the time that others would be interested in reading it.
My blog has now been read in over 100 countries. Sometimes I have to look on a map to see where they are! To me it’s just my memory but it’s very humbling to think that people all over the world take the trouble and are interested in reading my ramblings. It’s just another way of raising awareness and often helps others to cope with the disease.
You can find Wendy’s blog here: https://whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com/
Or follow her on Twitter: @WendyPMitchell to find out more about her life and the incredible projects that she is a part of.
Share this post to spread her story and help us raise awareness about this life changing disease.