“And please do not think that I am suffering. I am not suffering. I am struggling. Struggling to be part of things, to stay connected to whom I was once. So, ‘live in the moment,’ I tell myself. It’s really all I can do, live in the moment. And not beat myself up to much.”
One of my jobs involves working with clients living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It has been an experience from which I have learned so much. But if I have learned anything, it has been patience, boundaries, and limits. It’s hard balancing a job with school and another job. Then on top of that there’s being sick. Working with this population has taught me not only to be patient with my clients and their capabilities, but also I am learning to be patient with my own progress.
In Still Alice, Julianne Moore gives a speech from which I have chosen the above excerpt. As she was saying this, I saw how the experience of her loss of memory and, in a sense, loss of identity was resonant to my experience in losing my sense of self while being sick… And my loss of identity (which in a way is a sort of irony, when you consider the amount of ‘identities’ I have gained or learned about).
In spite of my illness, I don’t want to suffer. I know I’m having a hard time… Most everybody knows it. But I don’t want to be identified as a person who is suffering. I am struggling – and just today my therapist sent me a picture:
reminding me to live in the moment. Take things day by day.
Everyday, I see people who are affected with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Whether they are my clients, they are people in my family, or people who I reflect on from work. I acknowledge their experience. And I am grateful that my experience, albeit quite different, allows me to have the empathy to work with them and learn from them.