Demented and Impatient - That's Me!

Community Member

Interpersonal relationships can be very hard to keep on an even keel when you have dementia. The people you love - those closest to you - can get on your nerves for very real reasons known only to the dementia sufferer. Events around you can get on your nerves, too. This particular blog will center on my innermost feelings of impatience and how it is affecting my life today.

I have always been patient before. Having taught for thirty-four years, I had to draw upon this patience often. But this patience seems to be eluding me now, and I think what I am feeling borders on meanness. I may be being too hard on myself. It may not be meanness that I am really feeling at times, but simply impatience itself. I will try to explain. Please understand that I have not spoken to anyone about these most inner thoughts...I'm hoping that by writing about them, I can give some dimension to them in order to understand them- and myself - better.

"It is the individual who knows how little he knows about himself who stands a reasonable chance of finding out something about himself."

S.I. Hayakawa

Impatience is high on my list for changes I see within myself. I try not to let that impatience be seen by others. I try to keep it contained deep within me for I know it is not the true me - or who I once was. I also know that if I let it begin to slip out, I may hurt the feelings of those around me. More importantly, I'm afraid if I begin to show impatience, that it will be looked at as my condition getting worse...that the Big D (Dementia) is taking over. And I am doing whatever I can to keep its ugly features away for as long as I can.

Denying its existence, though, does not stop it. And, I wonder if I am doing the right thing by trying to deny the feelings of impatience that I feel. After all, don't people get more impatient as they age? Couldn't this be "normal"? Even if it is "normal", will people look at me as though it isn't and just pigeonhole me into the category of DEMENTED?

I guess I worry a lot about what others see in me. Maybe by denying that my level of patience is changing, I am denying that I have dementia.

I don't think the impatience I am feeling is "normal" because it happens so frequently. Things that I used to be able to just slough off bother me greatly now. When someone is changing channels too quickly, or the TV is low or loud, or too many directions are given, or someone talks too long at one time in a discussion, or I am having to be the listener only in a conversation, or someone repeats themselves, or dinner is taking too long to cook...I could go on and on.

Let me describe this feeling of impatience that I get. Once it begins to creep in, I can feel it begin to take over my mind. It is a disgruntled feeling, one which wishes so-and-so would do such-and-such. I go through silent conversations in my head. One side of me - the dementia portion - is very unhappy with what is going much so, that I lose track of what the person might be saying, or that the food is continuing to cook, etc. This impatient side is mean sounding and feeling. Dueling with that side is the more normal me who is trying to quiet the dementia side down so as to appear quite normal to the outside world. This side of me is saying things like "They have a perfect right to their opinion" or "Just tell him/her what you think, but in a nice way. Don't be snappish" or "It's just three more minutes...maybe I should set the table, and the time will fly by."

I hope I don't appear to be crazy. I'm not. I'm sure all of us have times in our lives where we hold these inner conversations. It just seems that I do so much more of it lately, and it always revolves around being nicer to those around me when I really feel I want to lash out and tell it like it is. I must admit, however, that I don't think I'm doing too good of a job hiding it. There are times that I answer my husband or talk with him in a way that he gets hurt. He "misinterprets" what I said - or does he? I hadn't meant it to come out the way it did or for my voice to have the intonation it had...really I didn't. But that voice of dementia sneaks out anyway. So, I guess I'm not hiding it all that well after all.

If anyone out there has any experiences with this, please let me know. I'm all ears and patiently (?) waiting.