A Greater Fear

alzheimersI fear Alzheimer’s more than cancer, or more accurately, any form of dementia: a disease that can rob me of my abilities and ultimately my mind itself – my life too in the end.

Writing is part of who I am.  I can’t imagine forgetting how to do it; forming words and sentences, expressing ideas.  Such an easy, natural and taken for granted skill, stolen away by synapses failing to connect; brain cells dying.

It might never happen. My octogenarian parents show no signs of it.  My mum was tested because she thought her memory was failing.  The morphine she’s on is the more likely culprit. She passed the tests. So no signs, no obvious risk markers, but the fear lurks: in my forgetfulness, my inability to recall where I’ve put things; the impossibility of retrieving the right word at the right time.  I know it’s tiredness, and stress from being tired, that robs me of my capacity to remember, to recall, but the fear lingers.  Pain is so much easier to contemplate.  I can live with pain.  I do live with pain. Even dying is easier to think about.  Easier than contemplating losing yourself and everything that makes you who you are, without even knowing it.

I think about writing about dementia.  I’ve worked with clients who have it.  My sister works in the field.  I have friends who have family members with it.  There’s a wealth of experience and information that could be explored.

But for now, I think this is all I can manage.  For now I‘m writing furiously for all I’m worth, ticking projects off against the day when who knows what, who knows when.



We all experience memory loss, and the inability to recall names and words from time to time and for various reasons. If you are worried that you or a relative may have Dementia, contact your GP who will refer you/them to a specialist.

The Alzheimer’s Society can be found here:


And Alzheimer Scotland here:




4 thoughts on “A Greater Fear”

  1. Tony Ross says:

    Stress is another culprit. Stress, little or no sleep and worry. It all makes us focus on what’s happening and the universe thinks we want more of it (because we’re focussing on it). Take the focus off it and focus on the fact that you’ve got an awesome memory – it will be delivered if you believe in it.

    Above all, don’t get yourself so wound up by it – that’ll only make it worse. I’m certain that you’ll be telling me where I’ve put MY cup soon!


    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks. I deliberately don’t focus on it. Writing is a way of letting things go very often as well as homing in. The things you mention will mean I won’t have an awesome memory, but that’s OK. “It is what it is”!

  2. Paula says:

    I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to remember stuff and we have so many more things to remember than perhaps our ancestors did. Once, we’d have had a simple routine and a life with not a lot of variety from day to day. Routine might have been determined by weekday (Monday washing, Sunday church, Wednesday ironing etc) or season (when to plant, when to harvest, when to preserve). No passwords, no junk mail, few appointments. I don’t remember bringing home the endless letters etc from school which my children do. Medication was simpler, entertainment didnt involve the need to check schedules or endless fear you should reply or like something. A child, with his young fresh brain, forgets and owns up or fudges the issue without fear. Adults with 1000 things to think about, worry endlessly (me too – every time I go blank on a word I panic a little) but modern life is stupidly stressful, often by our own design. Be kind to yourself xxx

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks. Yes, it’s true what you say. Fear is not rational.

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