Dreams or Reality….?

After a wobbly few days I thought I’d share this with you…..

Recently I’ve found it increasingly confusing to decipher what’s real and what’s been dementia playing tricks….

I remember pre dementia, waking up after a vivid dream, thinking for a minute and then realising it was a dream. Now, however, I’m never sure. I have to find the proof now to separate fact from fiction. I’ve always ‘heard’ things that aren’t real – the knock on the door, the tap on the window with no one in sight.

One night I lay awake and heard a cry of help from someone who sounded like my daughter Gemma. She was shouting ‘mum, mum’. There was knocking on my door. I then heard a car door slam and it drove off. It all happened so quickly but when I looked out of the window it was silent, dark and still. It was so real that I spent the time until daylight wondering if my daughter was ok.

Needless to say, it wasn’t her but at the time it was so real……..

Other times I’ve woken, having had a dream, and just can’t work out the reality. I’ve gone searching downstairs for clues before deciding it must be dementia playing games with my mind. It’s fine when they’re bizarre, like seeing the shed missing, as I simply use the 30 minute rule – if it’s still missing in 30 minutes, it’s real, if not, it’s dementia playing tricks. But if it’s a possibility it takes so much to work out…

I’ve heard others with dementia say how dreams and reality often merge into one, unable to separate fact from fiction. It can be really frightening, I’ve simply learnt how to cope with that fear. So if you know anyone with dementia who seems confused with reality, that may be why………

Remember…..there’s more to dementia than memory loss….

Image, courtesy of Google….

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

10 thoughts on “Dreams or Reality….?

  1. Bless you for sharing. My mother had a lot of trouble with believing dreams were real (when her dementia was more advanced). Though we thought it would comfort her to tell her it was just a dream, since many of the things she thought were real were disturbing things, in fact being told it was a dream seemed to upset her more. We educated ourselves and learned to talk to her in her reality and try to help that way. For instance, she sometimes saw men in the adjoining room to the living room where her hospital bed was. We learned to say things like, “I don’t think they’re hurting anything, just passing and having a rest probably.” It seemed to comfort and/or distract her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy this information is vital to get out there to carers. Have you considered sharing this on Facebook, Twitter and dementia Diaries?
    Interesting piece! Well done 👍

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You have done a wonderful service throughout your journey. Yet this piece really struck home. You have given so many answers to questions that no one else could. You truly a remarkable person and woman,

    This piece on dream/awake confusion really opened my eyes to so much and freed me from always wondering what was happening. My mom passed from dementia which is why I needed to follow your posts. Thank you. Thank you for all your hard work. You have given so much to the lives of current sufferers, their caretakers, family, those feeling the first effects of Alzheimer’s and ways to survive when alone

    Most of all of the ones not yet experiencing the changes and feelings of.confusion involved. I eagerly await the book which will come from what you have given the world.

    To a beautiful soul, and yes this is real.

    My name is also Wendy and I am 61.

    Thank you again,
    From Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Just wanted to chime in and say:
    My mother had a stroke years ago, and under investigation for possible dementia.
    The most obvious symptom she has had (after recovering 90% from the stroke) is she has dreams and it’s so obvious to me that her “delusions” upon waking are an inability or greatly reduced ability to realize that it was just a dream. I could imagine for some this phenomenon might be a big part of their delusions (which might be mistaken for something more vague), simply stemming from dreams they had in the night/morning that they continue pondering during the day.

    In her case not yet sure if it’s more of a specific brain injury or dementia, but it is very interesting. And I can well imagine it opens up all kinds of future treatments (not necessarily for anyone alive today) that might be more specific and/or effective for people having this type of problem as a prominent feature in their dementia etc. Especially if it is common for a lot of dementia related symptoms to simply stem from a vaguer sense of distinction between dream and awake life.

    I’ve just read a bit here and there (mostly out of a broader interest in chemistry, biology and aging) about treatments for various brain problems (everything from healthy people performance enhancing their brain, to treating anxiety or other severe conditions) and the medications that exist, and there are a lot of different compounds out there that act on many different pathways. Just as a random example Cerebrolysin (which is used in some countries for dementia, TBI and all kinds of things since it has a broad proposed mechanisms of action) has one potential and unique way in which it might reduce fear or anxiety: thru acting on an endogenous enzyme that is involved in how humans “learn” a fear. With that I just want to say that there are a lot of possibilities in the future for treatments and drugs.

    For me I find it a bit calming to know or imagine that “maybe it’s mostly just an inability for my mom to tell dream from reality” and indeed I think for people working taking care of people with dementia, if they notice this sort of pattern (or some other thing), then they might too feel more comfortable dealing with their patients, rather than imagining that everything is out of whack and feel discouraged.

    The thing with dreams too, is the times people usually notice dreams is in that sort of near-awake state (falling asleep or waking up), which can become more “intense” with a bit of sunshine and caffeine. A common technique to provoke lucid or intense dreams (and try to remember them) is wake early after just a few hours of sleep, drink lots of coffee, then fall sleep and wake up repeatedly with lots of interruptions with an alarm clock set. If you do the opposite of that, promote deep heavy sleep, then perhaps that could prevent dreams becoming an annoyance during the waking time.

    Liked by 1 person

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