Aug 14, 2015

Alice in a World Filled with Dementia

You wake up one day and realize you have fallen into a deep, dark hole. It only gets worse, no matter how hard you try, you can't get out.

Alice in Alzheimer's World | Alzheimer's Reading Room

You try and try and try, but before long you become convinced that you will never get out.

Will anyone help me?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

After a while, and once your eyes adjust to the darkness, you notice there is a door in the wall of the big dark hole. You reach for the knob on the door, but the door is locked. You kick, bang, and shout, but no matter how hard you try, you are trapped in the hole and the door is locked.

Then, the moon comes out, the bright full moon, and you notice there is a key to the door hanging on the wall. You try and reach for the key. You finally realize you would need to be ten feet tall to reach the key. You finally give up out of physical and mental exhaustion.

Finally, you feel a powerful determination come over you. You decide you are going to get yourself out of this hole. You start to pile the dirt from the floor up against the wall and build a step to get to that key. You realize, I didn't have to be ten feet tall, all I had to do was use my brain.

You grab the key and run to the door. But then, you are filled with an extreme feeling of trepidation. What is beyond this door? Is it worse than being in this hole? You decide. You have to get out of the hole. You unlock the door and go tumbling into a world that is unrecognizable.

You ask.

Is this the person I always knew? 
Why are they different? 
What is making them different? 
Where am I?

You soon learn that all the rules are different in this new world. A person might ask you the same question over and over. You try to reason with them, remind them that you just told them the answer. This doesn't work. They just get more and more confused.

Sometimes they get angry when you try and explain or reason with them. Why?

You soon learn that the person in the new world wants to follow you around. If you are out of their sight for more than a minute or two they start to call your name. Even if they are only a few feet away. Why don't they know I am right here?

It seems like every thing you do backfires on you. You wish you could climb back into the hole. Deep down inside you know you can't.

Finally, you realize that much of what you are doing, and trying to do, is not working. You give this deep and considerable thought.

It finally dawns on you, if I am going to survive and thrive in this new world something has to change. You finally decide, something has to change and that something is


Along with this realization comes a sense of relief.

You are now ready to begin living your new life, you are ready to learn new ways to cope, you are now ready to learn new ways to communicate. The realization is startling and complete, this new and different place is called

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From Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland | Alzheimer's Reading Room
"`Cheshire Puss,' [Alice] began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she went on.

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.

`I don't much care where--' said Alice.

`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

`--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.

`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'"

"`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.

`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'

`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.

`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'

Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on `And how do you know that you're mad?'

`To begin with,' said the Cat, `a dog's not mad. You grant that?'

`I suppose so,' said Alice.

`Well, then,' the Cat went on, `you see, a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased.

Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.'"

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