Being Alone...But Not Lonely

Leah Health Guide
  • My family reunion for 2008 is over, and I am exhausted!  A good exhaustion, though.  We only had about 130 people attend this year, but that meant that food was abundant!  I have never enjoyed so many homemade side dishes as I did this year.  And the kids loved the Duck Pond I had set up.  (Except for the wee one who wanted the duckie with the number and NOT the prize I handed her…she threw them back at me each time!)  Most people have no idea of the amount of work it takes to put on such a production…

     

    In Carol Bursack’s latest blog, I found the topic I want to address today.  It does, in some ways, relate to the family reunion.  It is about wanting to be alone…and loneliness…and how they are not necessarily the same.

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    I had been surrounded by people for four days…all family, but nonetheless, people.  I love them all, but I needed a break.  I cannot stand to be with others for extended periods of time.  I need what I call my “down time”, time alone.  It’s not necessarily quiet time.  Often, while I write or work at the computer, I will have the TV on in the background, usually on a Talk or News show.  If I lay down to nap, I have it quietly on QVC; the constant drone puts me right out.  When  I am up and moving around, I do little jobs, one at a time, as they pop into my head. I walk by the dishwasher and empty it, putting things mostly in their places or near their places.  Later, I see them again, and put away the things I have left out.  I walk by the table and decide to change the tablecloth.   I see the note and remember to turn on the water outside so our new grass will grow.  In between all of these activities, I sit for a while to watch a little of some favorite program or lay down on the bed for a few minutes to make my back pain ease…  For whatever reason, I don’t read as much as I used to, nor do I play brain games as often…maybe I need a break, maybe my meds need to be “tweaked”…

     

    I love being alone--more than I like being around others.  Is that the dementia sneaking into my world?  I guess I should worry about it, but I don’t.  Is that the dementia getting stronger?  I love being alone.  It seems strange to me that I would feel this way since I was one of six siblings and I was NEVER alone until I was over twenty-two years old!  I can remember that for many, many years, I was afraid to be alone…and now, at 60, I love it.  I am sure I wouldn’t love it if I had to be alone all the time.  I do love my family and need to be with them from time to time.  I guess I would not love being alone if it was not elective…

     

    Carol has made me begin to think about being alone.  What does it say about me, about my dementia?  I think it is something we need to watch.  I’ll talk to my neurologist about it…and guess I’ll have to talk to my husband, too…

     

    In the meantime, what about those of you out there who have dementia?  What do you think about being alone?  And caregivers, what are you experiencing with your loved ones and yourselves?  Are those of you who need “alone time” able to get it while still caring for your loved one?

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    If you haven’t read Carol’s latest blog, look for it on this site.  And then, let me know what you think!

Published On: October 15, 2008