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Welcome back, Wendy Mitchell, author of “Somebody I Used To Know”

By Wendy Mitchell

My name is Wendy Mitchell and I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia on the 31st July 2014. Who would have thought, on that day of diagnosis, over 3 years ago, that I would now be publishing a book, Somebody I Used to Know? But, on the other hand, why not?

When people hear the word dementia, they often think of the end stages. Well, it has to have a beginning and a middle and I’m someone heading for 4 years into living with the condition. We all had talents before a diagnosis, we don’t suddenly lose all those talents overnight the day we receive that diagnosis. We simply have to adapt them to use in different ways, and with support can often achieve something remarkable.

I wanted to write this book to show people how there is a life to be lived after a devastating diagnosis. Yes, mine was of dementia, but it could apply to any crisis or life changing moment. I wanted to show that with the right positive attitude and support, you can adapt and live a good, if not different, life. So yes, my book should be read by everyone who is affected by dementia or healthcare professionals in the field, but moreover, it should be read by anyone to show them how living in the moment can enhance anyone’s life.

The feedback since the publication of my book in the UK has been overwhelming and humbling. Many people have been touched by my openness. I used to be an extremely private person, but was so shocked at the lack of awareness and lack of understanding that I’ll now shout from the rooftops at every opportunity. My book has enabled me to reach so many more people. Family members have often told me how they’re ashamed to admit their loved one has dementia. My response is to say, “we have a complex brain disease, why on earth should anyone be ashamed?” No one should have to face dementia on their own, least of all through shame or stigma.

I often write of outwitting and outmaneuvering dementia, almost relishing the challenge of the fight. People so often dwell on the losses, on what the future may hold, or on the negatives. Why not instead concentrate on what you CAN still do or what you CAN do, if only differently than before.

Moreover, why dwell on the future? We have no control over what dementia will strip away from us in the future, so why dwell on the matter? Instead, focus on enjoying what you have today. The future will come soon enough and a day spent regretting and in sadness is a day of happiness wasted. I hope you gain knowledge about dementia, but also knowledge about life from reading my book, Somebody I Used to Know.

About the Author

Wendy Mitchell at her home in York, 2015

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 2 daughters and live happily in Yorkshire.

I retired early from the NHS, having worked as a non-clinical team leader for 20 years.

Post diagnosis, I was shocked by the lack of awareness, both in the community and clinical world, so I now spend all my time travelling around the country raising awareness and encouraging others to embrace my passion for research.

Amazon

Website/Blog: www.whichmeamitoday.wordpress.com

Twitter:  @WendyPMitchell

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3-D Book Cover

 

Meet author and blogger, Wendy Mitchell

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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3-D Book Cover