Dec 17, 2013

I Wonder What it Feels Like to be Unable to Remember?

I think most of us conclude, when you can't remember, you can't remember. But how much time have we actually spent thinking about -- what does it FEEL like when you can't remember?

By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

I Wonder What it Feels Like to be Unable to Remember?

I am sitting here reviewing some of the notes in my da Vinci pad.

I actually asked myself many years ago, I Wonder What it Feels Like to be Unable to Remember? I wrote that in the center of my pad with a circle around it.

So I sat there in the early AM, in my dimly lit space, and thought about it.

You might be surprised by this. I sat there eyes closed and tried to feel what it would be like if, I was unable to remember.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Email:

The more I thought about it the more nervous I became. I could actually feel myself becoming "unglued". Unsettled. Nervous. Anxious.

My heart rate became elevated. I was actually breathing hard enough that I could feel my chest moving.

Finally, I decided to calm myself down. I stopped thinking what it would be like if I couldn't remember. I started taking some deep breaths until I felt calm.

Then it dawned on me.

Is this how a person living with dementia feels when they try to remember? 

Is this how my mother felt at times? Is this one of the reasons why my mother becomes easily agitated and sometimes said mean and nasty things to me.

Let me ask you a simple question.

When you are talking to someone and they say something that triggers off a memory, don't you bring up your own story or memory? Tell them about your experience.

My guess is, that this happens to persons suffering from dementia. They try to remember. Why not?

They have been remembering their entire life, just like you and me.

But, what if they can't get out what they are thinking?

What is going on in their brain?

Do they start feeling disoriented, scared, frustrated, anxious, unsettled, nervous?

So I started to wonder, what does it feel like when you can't remember?

What did it feel like to Dotty?

I think most of us conclude, when you can't remember, you can't remember. But how much time have we actually spent thinking about -- what does it FEEL like when you can't remember?

During the course of this day you are going to have thousands of thoughts.

Maybe you'll think, what are we going to have for dinner tonight? You'll think about it. You'll decide. You'll remember when the time comes to take out the steak and baked potatoes.

But what if when the time came you didn't have a clue. You couldn't remember.

You tried and tried and tried and couldn't remember.

How would you feel?

Maybe you should sit down and give this a try, try and feel like it feels when you can't remember.

I know you are busy so maybe you won't try.

Will trying to understand how it feels when you can't remember make a difference in your life as an Alzheimer's caregiver? Would it make a difference?

Empathy?

This article is being revisited.

___________________________________

Related Articles
___________________________________
BobDeMarco
+Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Learn more about Alzheimer's and dementia, visit The Alzheimer's Reading Room Knowledge Base