Fear & Anxiety … A Choice?

One day last week, Maureen asked me to go with her to run some errands. She was going to go to Publix and Home Depot. When she asked me to go with her, I was immediately overcome with fear and anxiety. I’m not really sure what brought it on, but in my mind I felt by walking out the door i was as going to be unsafe.

The strange thing is, just a few days before, we drove from Largo to the Everglades National Park and then to Miami Beach just to, as Maureen put it, “to blow the stink off of us!” Although we are together 24/7, we have a phenomenal relationship and love to take trips to see what we can see. However, just like everyone else, we do have our “moments”. When I say that “my moments” are epic, I don’t say that in a braggadocios way. I can go from being “ME” to a foul-mouthed, son-of-a-bitch, ASS.

I HATE the fact that I act out that way and I don’t make excuses for myself. I know it is partly my Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia coupled with my Anxiety, as well as I have never felt that type of fear before. As a matter of fact, I was always looking forward to getting out of the house and going places. It didn’t matter if we were running to the bank, to Publix, or I was just riding with Maureen as she ran some of her errands. I did this because being cooped up in the house all day is reminiscent of when I was living alone for a number of years. I did not want to be reminded of that time for it was unbelievably difficult, more than I ever realized.

Anyways … we didn’t speak to each other for the rest of the day and I spent the night on the sofa, not because of Maureen but because of how embarrassed and ashamed I felt. It was a long, long night.

The next day, my fear was gone but some of my anxiety was still present. That is common for me. My anxiety is an unwelcome, ever-present menace that my Alzheimer’s uses to constantly remind me that my brain is not what it used to be. It’s an ongoing battle.

The next day, Maureen and I had a conversation which was basically me trying to explain what I was feeling the day before. Maureen being Maureen forgave me but what she told me made me unbelievably sad. She said, “I know you don’t mean the things you say but it still hurts when I hear them. The good thing is, I’m getting used to it. I know it’s not “you” that is saying those things, it is your Dementia.”

That felt like a punch in the gut…a very hard punch. It was like she was giving me a pass, a pass I didn’t want or deserve. Here is a woman who opened her life to me, who cares for me, who loves me unconditionally, who runs her own business, Care Giver Support and Resources, out of our apartment, all the while trying to keep everything balanced. The thing is, she never knows which Brian is going to show up each day. It reminds me of the movie, “Sybil” https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0075296/

I’m not saying I have a personality disorder, I’m saying that my mood can change several times in day. I don’t realize it until Maureen tells me. (I ask her to tell me when these things happen.)

My goal is to get more control over these changes, not just for my sake, but for Maureen’s sake as well. She doesn’t deserve all of this but she tells me I’m worth it. I know I am a lucky, loved man but then again she is a very well loved woman!

Until Next Time,

PEACE,

Brian

3 thoughts on “Fear & Anxiety … A Choice?

  1. Brian,

    You’re such a good writer! You’re so blessed to have a loving partner & caregiver by your side. I’m so happy you’re not alone anymore. As highly as I think of you, I was sad & a bit worried for you those years you lived alone in the apartment in Pensacola. I’m so glad you & Maureen found each other! As much as I pray that your AD & VD remain a very slow journey in terms of progression & as much as I pray for and work (volunteer) for a cure for Alzheimer’s…there may come a time when your dementia progresses to where your good days are few, you don’t communicate much/any, etc. I say this not to be a bummer (I know you know it’s a possibility) BUT because I’m thinking of Maureen. I remember when my parents went through it & my mom was the caregiver for my dad in their home. I just want to be sure Maureen has support as well for her emotional & mental well being. You’re an inspiration Brian! Stay strong, bro 💪🏻

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Robin,
    Maureen wants you to know how much she appreciates you thinking of her as well as for me. Not many people appreciate and thank the care partners so we both thank you for that. She also said that if you receive a package the size of a refrigerator box with air holes cut in to the sides of the box you may want to open immediately because it will be me being shipped to you by Maureen ha ha Ha

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  3. Heh Brian. As Maureen says, it is the dementia, not you. I do understand, as although I don’t have a partner, I took have these fluctuating moods during the day, when I explode over quite minor things, and can be quite rude to people, at these times. Like you I feel really bad about it, as I have always been such a “go with the flow” sort of person throughout my life, but at the time, although I can hear myself, I struggle to take control of the behaviour.

    Thank God for a loving partner like Maureen, who get’s it, even through her pain and discomfort. To have such love is a gift…I certainly can’t expect or even hope that my friends and acquaintances will be as understanding – and in my reflective moments understand why so many people distance themselves. Never take this love for granted, and continue to show your love during the “less agitated” times, so that she can continue to hold on to the real loving you . Take care.

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