So I can’t speak for everyone, I actually can’t speak for anyone, the only thing I can do is speak from my experiences, my perspectives. There is no right or wrong in them, you can have your own thoughts about my perspectives, which are then your perspectives, again no right or wrong, just yours, as mine are mine.
We should not judge one’s views, for we are all individuals, we all view and take things in from our own unique lens, which is influenced by how we and how the world around us as an individual impacts us. What is traumatic to one is not to another, what inspires one causes another to crumble. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think about things we see and hear, we absolutely should, but we should not judge. I recently really put this to work when and here is what I am not sure of in part because of my short term memory issues, in part because of my inability to frame things in any kind of time frame, and perhaps also due to being I’ll for several weeks with the flu. All in all, I still took the time to think about something, I read, heard, or saw recently. It was that “ people with dementia just want to be normal”. I have mulled this over for a while now, and I have some thoughts on it.
My first thought is “ what is normal”, my second thought is where did or would that come from, it’s a generalization at best, but it is also someone’s perspective, so it doesn’t mean it’s wrong it’s just their perspective on what people want or think they want.
I live with Early Onset Vascular Dementia, I don’t view myself as “ not normal”, I guess if others do that’s their right to have their own opinion and perspective. For me I don’t want to be “treated” like I am Normal, that indicates that I am somehow not normal. What I want is to be treated like a person, a person who yes lives with an illness, just like people live with diabetes and many other illnesses, I too live with an illness, this does not automatically make me “un-normal”. I want people to treat me as the person I am, and admittedly I will say I am likely in many facets anything but “Normal”, I am quirky, eccentric, passionate, somewhere just off of centre. That is my Normal.
So I am not wanting to take away from someone’s idea of what people want but I think we all need to be careful of generalizations. Life, whether due to illness, or just the transitioning from one stage of our lives to the next mean what is or was considered our “ normal”, will and often changes. Just like we see or hear often that some of us are “living well with dementia”, it’s not unlike those who mark that they have lived, 1,3,5 or more years cancer free, it’s marking and acknowledging something that for them is significant in their life.
I often have been heard to say that my dementia has brought many gifts and blessings to my life, others don’t understand how that is possible, others feel that dementia is a horrible disease, which in many ways it is and can be, especially because the type of dementia the way your body manages it, can and often does put people into becoming, behaving, and enduring wraths of the illness far more quickly than it does others.
This is also true of other illnesses. As in all things each person will have their own journey, no one should compare ones to another. No one wants to be I’ll, whether dementia or any other illness, but we learn to live with what we are dealt.
We choose how we view it, we choose how we live with it. I have chosen to share my journey, it is not something everyone is comfortable to do, but it is also healing, caring and sharing. I often have said that it is those who have reached out through reading my blogs or my book that have brought so much to me, inspired me. They truly have been a huge part in my maintaining as well as I have, something I am eternally grateful for. I have chosen to be involved in advocacy, in using my voice to try to make a difference, it is not at all anything I ever had a thought about when I was what society would have seen as“ Normal”, so no I don’t want to be Normal, I want to be me, Chrissy, weird, quirky, adventurous, spontaneous, kind, caring, compassionate. I want to be uniquely Chrissy, who at 63 lives well despite living with dementia. This piece bellows says it all for me, and I hope that I have and continue to blossom, in ways that can make a difference.