Wendy Mitchell Blogs About Younger Onset Dementia: Which Me Am I Today?

About Wendy Mitchell blogger: Which Me Am I Today?

By Wendy Mitchell

Wendy Mitchell at her home in York. 2015

Imagine yourself being given a diagnosis of Young Onset Dementia. Your life falls apart, you feel worthless, and of no use to anyone any more. Services are nonexistent, so you feel abandoned.

That’s what happened to me in July 2014, when I was diagnosed with young onset dementia at the age of 58, and still working full-time in the NHS. I retired at the age of 59, due to ill health, thinking there was no alternative. Then I sat waiting for services to kick in, but, of course, nothing happened. There were no services.

I could have given up and gone into a deep state of depression, but I knew there must be more. We all had talents before a diagnosis of dementia; we don’t suddenly lose all those talents overnight when we get a diagnosis.

Opportunities started to come my way, first with research. That was once I’d gotten over the barrier of health care professionals thinking it was their right to deny me the option. Taking part in research gives me hope and I need hope. I could be helping create a better future for my daughters, so taking part in research was a no-brainer for me. Many people, when they hear the word ‘research’ have an image of men in white coats handing out dodgy drugs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Social and technological research is equally important while we await that elusive cure. I’ve taken part in drugs trials, but also social research to find the best ways to live with dementia and care for those no longer able to care for themselves. I’ve tested apps, I’ve commented on web sites. Yes, me a person with dementia. After all, how do the so-called ‘experts’ know they’re getting it right if they don’t ask the real experts – those of us living with dementia now?

My blog, whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com is for me, simply “my memory.” I couldn’t tell you what I did yesterday unless I read my blog. That other people all over the world choose to read it is humbling, plus it’s enabled me to raise awareness. All I’m doing in my own little way is to show others what can be achieved and not to give up. I also hope it will help others look at dementia differently.

Oh, and I’ve just finished writing my book, Somebody I Used to Know, which is due out in the UK in the New Year and America in May, along with a little “firewalking” in October for my local Hospice.

So, as you can see, I’m a great believer in concentrating on what I still CAN do and not dwelling on the issues that dementia throws at me.

About the Author

I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia on the 31st July 2014 at the age of 58 years young. I might not have much of a short-term memory, but that’s one date I’ll never forget.

I have two daughters and live happily in Yorkshire.

Website/Blog: www.whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com

Twitter:  @WendyPMitchell

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5 Responses

  1. Hello Wendy, I have just finished reading your book which gave me moments of pain and moments of warmth. It is the anniversary of losing my mum two years ago who also had early onset dementia. Within your book I found my mum as much of what you did and your experiences mirrored what she said and did down to the tuna sandwiches. I wish I had a book like this to have read when she got her diagnosis but have recommended your book to my friends. Your book answered some important questions for me and has given me some peace. I am in awe in what you have achieved and from my heart say Thank you.

  2. Hi Wendy. Just want to say a big thank you for this most enlightening, and must say, also sad book. My husband is now in care with Frontal temporal dementia, and on reading your book has made me realise how hard it must be just to get thru each day. I do admire so much how strong you have been and what you achieved. Thank you for writing your book. Best wishes…….Jeanette.

  3. Hello Wendy, I have just finished reading your brilliant book, I have had close friends with dementia over the years and very much admire your spirit and way of dealing with everything.
    One of my friends has dementia, but unfortunately she also has blood cancer. Reading your book will make me help to understand her plight and ways of trying to help her.
    Best wishes and take care. Elma

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