One thing I can state is that who I am now is totally different than who I was before this disease. my personality, demeanor, build, strength, stamina, even how I talk are all radically different. I know it is a shock to my wife and son. But there is a strange metamorphosis when I am around Navy friends and acquaintances.
Today, a friend who worked with my wife called us and said she and her husband were in town and would like to stop by. Besides the fact that they woke us up at Oh Dark Thirty, we were glad to have the visit. Her husband was career Navy and is enjoyable to talk too. We have some things in common, but he was a Navy Counselor, and if you read my Navy Blog, you know my opinion of that rate. Just the same, for two hours, I got to be who I was. A gruff, opinionated, hard core Master Chief Gunner's Mate. Then, they left to continue their trip and I was back in LBD mode. I find that change interesting because I never really saw it until today.
Around Navy people, I can go back in my mind and be who I was. I see myself as young, powerful, knowledgeable, determined, and in charge. Once I am out of that influence, I realize I am none of those things anymore and I slide back into reality.
People who see me for a few hours always say I look good or that they cannot see any effects of the disease. That is because, for that period of time, I feel like the clock has turned back 20 years. I have read that this is called "Playing to the crowd" or being a "Spot light player". Personally, I see it as being in a comfortable place in my mind. When I am with Navy folks that actually share interests with me, I am mentally comfortable. When I am not, I feel distant and disconnected.
The only other place I feel mentally in charge is when I am doing God's work as a Pastor or Bible Study leader. Again, I am with people of like minds and I concentrate on that commonality. I like cars so I can connect on that subject. But few people are really interested in cars. I like fire arms and because of my Navy background, I am a subject matter expert in that area, but again, it is not good dinner conversation. I steer clear of politics because I get angry over the course of the Country. And again, if you read my blog at all, you know I try very hard not to get angry. Other than those four things, I am not interested in anything. So being engaged with folks outside of those areas is a strain. One other interest area. I like football, and I watch most games on television. But if you ask me what games I watched the next day, I can't remember the teams names! I can remember outstanding plays but not the team that made them. Again, as I have commented before, I find that mental disconnect interesting.
I do not like who I am now. I am somewhat of a stranger to myself so I must really be difficult for my wife and son to understand. This truly is a cruel and perplexing disease.