Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Loss of confidence

When I was in the Navy, I did everything I could do to be the consulate professional.   I was strong, brave, or stupid, your choice, and I had almost total recall of technical information and sea stories!
If there was a risk to be taken in the gun mount or on the ship, or even on Shore Patrol, I was the one that took the lead.  I would rather risk my life rather than someone else.  That was just me.

But, sometime during the second decade of my Civil Service career, after 30 years of Naval service, (20 in Uniform and 10 in Civil Service), I started to notice my previously total recall memory being reduced and limited.

Finally, I had to retire on a disability because I mentally could NOT do my job anymore.  Since that unplanned, untimely, retirement, I have been on a down hill slide, mentally and physically.  My muscle tome has greatly diminished and my stability walking is greatly compromised resulting in numerous falls and near falls.

But the mental decline has been the hardest for me to deal with.  I cannot remember Bible verses or even where to find them in the Bible.  My memories of people of my past, even relatives, and events of my life are fading.

These mental and physical declines have resulted in me loosing my confidence.

Again, back in my Navy days, as a Gunner's Mate and a Chief Petty Officer and above, I was totally confident in my abilities in ANY situation.  Now, I don't even like to leave the area of Azalea Trace.  I am uncomfortable in the car as a passenger and very jumpy in traffic.  And I am extremely uncomfortable in the dark, in a car, walking outside, or even in our apartment.   Travel is unnerving because I am in an unfamiliar situation and out of my routine.  And routine is key to my mental comfort and calmness.

I have written before that I feel diminished before.  But that has progressed to a feeling of total dependence on my routine, my familiar surroundings, and a quiet environment.  even the cellphone ringing causes me to jump and feel a shock bolt through my body!

This loss of confidence in myself and my abilities along with the actual loss of my mental and physical abilities is the most depressing issue I deal with, as I am sure it is with all who deal with LBD.

Is there a fix?  No!! No drugs or counseling will help.  How can I say that?  Because I have tried both, numerous times.   No, this is here to stay, and most likely to get even worse.    My only hope is, the mental decline will speed up and I will no longer know I am mentally and physically compromised.

See, LBD does have some positive attributes!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Don.

    I hope today is a good day.

    I just wanted to let you know - I started reading your blog because I was curious about the hallucinations brought on by LBD. That was some weeks ago. I got so interested in your blog, I went right back to the beginning, and have read it right through.

    Please let me say a huge THANK YOU for your honesty and candour.

    I've commented on a few posts as I was reading them, but I have no idea if you get notified of these comments so long after you shared these older posts. I also have no idea if these thoughts are useful; but thought I might share a few, in case they are.

    First and foremost, I wanted to tell you that the work you have done in writing this blog is absolutely invaluable. I know you often feel you are alone, disconnected from other people; but you will have helped many, many people with these posts.

    I've never served in the military; but to use a military analogy: it is as if you have been a scout, checking out the enemy terrain, and the enemy's strengths and weaknesses, and have been transmitting this information back for those who have no choice but to come this way in future. The hints, tips, and warnings you have given are like stocks of ammunition for us to pick up when we get to the same point. You may never know it; but you have helped enormously.

    There are people who have yet to even hear of LBD who will at some point in the future be helped by your blog.

    Other thoughts that might be of use or interest:

    I don't know if you still remember the issue of ever-so-slightly bumping into the old lady, who then ranted at you as if you'd done it on purpose. If it still bothers you, I couldn't help wondering if it might help to consider that maybe the old lady has lost her social filters, and could not help her emotional outburst. It was obviously completely out of scale with the incident that seemed to provoke it - perhaps because of her own illness, which clearly isn't your fault. Under the circumstances, you deserve to feel very proud not to have lost your own cool. Talk about grace under fire!

    Another thought I had was this. The brain is obviously a very complex thing, with many functions we know about (but don't necessarily understand), and many more functions yet to be discovered. One of the important ones seems to be dreaming. It is easy to think of dreams as the mind just keeping itself entertained; but I think they are much, much more important than that. That makes me wonder if, as LBD takes hold, the brain fights hard to maintain the ability to dream. Perhaps that's what hallucinations are: dreams leaking into our waking hours.

    I am glad yours do not frighten you.

    Best,

    Ed

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