Reading is something I’ve always loved, yet it’s becoming impossible to read a book normally. Like lots of people I like to read before I go to sleep so happily used to read a couple of chapters before it fell on the floor as I drifted off to dreamland. It soon became blatantly obvious that this simple, taken for granted activity needed some revision to make it possible. No way was I going to give up something that had always been part of my life that I loved so much. The trick is, I now read differently. For weeks I beat myself up and tried to reread what I’d just read to try to make sense of a story line but it reduced the enjoyment as I tried to recall a memory that just wasn’t present. However, clever writers write in such a way as to have a natural breaking point every couple of chapters. As long as I sense when I’ve reached that break, I can pick up the book the following evening and continue to read as though it’s a new start. It does mean you have to be more selective – for example, ‘whodunnits’ are a bit of a no-no as you can’t remember the original crime – ha! However, short stories are brilliant.
I was also surprised to find that I can’t watch new films. The concentration needed to watch a 2 hour film just isn’t there any more and you annoy the hell out of those watching it with you when you keep asking, ‘Who are they?’, ‘Where are they?’ and ‘Where did they come from?’ What I have found though is that you can watch old films – but only films I’d watched before I had dementia. You still can’t remember what’s happened but it’s as though the familiarity is deep in the subconscious and it’s very satisfying to watch all the way through without the stress a new film creates. I watched Billy Elliott last week and it was wonderful all over again.
Moral of the tale – don’t give up when things no longer seem possible.