Living with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD) my thoughts on the word Support

I though about the word ‘support’ and wondered what did it mean, or rather what did it mean for me?  To start with I began to think of what the actual meaning of the word ‘support’ is.  From the Macbook dictionary this is what it says

support

verb [ with obj. ]

1 bear all or part of the weight of; hold up: the dome was supported by a hundred white columns.

2 give assistance to, especially financially: the government gives £2,500 million a year to support the voluntary sector.

• provide with a home and the necessities of life: my main concern was to support my family.

• give approval, comfort, or encouragement to: the proposal was supported by many delegates

be actively interested in and concerned for the success of(a particular sports team). fans should always support their      team fully, no matter what.  [Me:  Activities I do with regard to bringing awareness for EOAD]

• (as adj.supporting) (of an actor or role) of secondary importance to the leading roles in a play or film. the production’s greatest successes are in the main supporting roles.

• (of a pop or rock group or performer) function as a secondary act to (another) at a concert.

3 suggest the truth of; corroborate: the studies support our findings

4 produce enough food and water for; be capable of sustaining: the land had lost its capacity to support life.

5 endure; tolerate: at work during the day I could support the grief. [Me: Understand that I do or say things that may driven by this disease and not under my control]

6 (of a computer or operating system) allow the use or operation of (a program, language, or device): the new versions do not support the graphical user interface standard.

     noun

1 a thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright: the best support for a camera is a tripod.

• [ mass noun ] the action of supporting something or someone or the state of being supported: she clutched the sideboard for support.

2 [ mass noun ] material assistance: the bank provided unstinting financial support | air operations in support of British forces

• approval, encouragement, or comfort: the paper printed many letters in support of the government | she’s been through a bad time and needs our support. [Me:encourage me in my endeavours]

• technical help given to the user of a computer or other product.

3 [ mass noun ] evidence that serves to corroborate something: the study provides support for both theories.

4 a secondary act at a pop or rock concert: [ as modifier ] : a support band.

DERIVATIVES

supportability noun,

supportable adjective

supportless adjective

     ORIGIN Middle English (originally in the sense ‘tolerate’): from Old French supporter, from Latin supportare, from sub–    ‘from below’ + portare ‘carry’.

Well, from this it appears that it has many meanings whether it is used as a noun or a verb but what part of this is relevant to what I mean?  I can take bits from it and make my own meaning, I have highlighted what I think is relevant to me.  The origin of the words seems the best of all – ‘to carry from below’.

So now I have set out what it means to me, which part my idea of support is relevant to writing these posts?

……..Right now I have forgotten what was in my head that I wanted to write about! Oh yes…

Writing is supportive to me because it is the cathartic emptying of my thoughts and the discarding of them.  Words, sentences, pages often spin around my mind in a confusing whirlwind and this jumble of words makes no sense to me until I have ‘emptied’ them out on to a page.  Once I have done that they are gone although they are replaced with the next lot of thoughts.  My head is NEVER empty, foggy yes, but still a scrapyard of thoughts, or worms as I call them.

DM flyerIt is important for me to separate out what support means to me and I think know that is about ‘understanding’ for me.   Another person living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia can understand all the little bits of brokenness that others may not see and although you ignore them, they silently eat away at you nevertheless.  I am so thankful that the broken bits are small still and I can continue to live relatively normally.   But, support comes from simply chatting to another person with dementia and knowing you are not alone.  That type of support is a two way act; talking about how you overcome daily things, such as how to remember to take medication etc, you get different ideas and they get different ideas.  Feeling alone is another part of dementia that  can be there and makes no sense at all.

More and more the meaning of words becomes significant to me because the semantics of a sentence can throw me totally – what did they mean by that?  Was that meant literal or metaphysically?   That is where my comprehension is increasingly impaired as I am struggling to discern the difference between the two.  When is a joke not a joke?  I don’t always know any more.  I am finding it important to have things said to me, or explained to me in simple words with a full explanation as I cannot always guess the other bits.

One of the reasons that I ‘catalogue’ anything new publicly is to hopefully educate as many as I can about the world of living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  Maybe I feel that I am on some kind of mission, if so the very act of writing this is supporting me by getting rid of the worms in my head  🙂    I read somewhere that the need to write can be part of a symptom of damage to the frontal lobe which would make sense to me as I have an underdeveloped frontal lobe of my brain.

The second reason is that I am totally fascinated by the psychology of the disease.  I can’t recall any details of studying dementia at University as part of my Psychology degree, all I can remember is studying aphasia (Wikipedia – Aphasia  is a disturbance of the comprehension and expression of language caused by dysfunction in the brain).  I remember sitting in the medical library at Leicester Royal Infirmary and reading up on all kinds of cognitive disfunctions and thinking how lucky I was to be able to access these wonderfully detailed books.   I can recall some of my knowledge of cognitive functions and I find I can apply it to my own cognitive impairments.  Should I be so fascinated by my own slow decline?  Hell yes, whilst I can, I will.

Punctuation malfunction in my brain and my increasing fear of commas.

There are days when I notice my Alzheimer’s seems to be a bit worse and try to remember to record it for my Alzheimer’s Journey.

So, I will get an apology out the way first – sorry if my grammar and punctuation is all over the place but today my brain cells have gone on strike.

Cats woke us up extremely early at 6.30am – little darlings (smiling through clenched teeth :))) ), and I settled in my chair with my coffee to start reading a new book.

Right from the start I found I couldn’t understand the sentence because those pesky little tadpole commas seemed to be in the wrong place.  I read the first paragraph again slowly but it really did not make much difference.  As you know a comma in the incorrect place can put a totally different meaning on sentence but today for me, every comma seems incorrect.

As I write now I am having great difficulty in knowing if I am putting commas in the correct place and it has suddenly become a real issue.  I have no idea why I am stressing about it so much because if I stop maybe the fear of commas will just fade away again!

I am also misspelling words more frequently.  Being a touch typist I have no mental idea where my fingers are on the keyboard; I think and they transfer my thoughts by themselves.  If I had to think about where the keys are or how to form words I would fail to write anything.   Lately what I think is not what my fingers are typing, how can that be?  It is as if the diseased part of my brain has taken on an identity of its own, one which may be a little dyslexic and mischievous.  I can see words forming on the page that I have not even thought about and not even Freudian slips, but words that are incongruous.

I think sometimes that my macbook changes the words as I type and I fail to notice it which leads me on to how I read.

I am finding it really hard to read what I have written and with short term memory problems I usually have no idea what I have written minutes after writing it, so if it gets mixed up on the page I wouldn’t necessarily remember what I was trying to say.  When I am reading it back I am constantly questioning my grammar and punctuation but often than not I have no idea any more if it is correct.

I gave up trying to read my book earlier and thought I would surf the net.  I will read my own blogs from time to time because I don’t always remember what I have written and have a need to check that I have not made any major gaffs.  So, I looked at my latest book review – Broken Monsters, and was horrified to see that it was all over the place with spelling mistakes.  I am sure I proof read it before I posted it but guess now that I cannot trust my own ability to do so, which is why I  go back and re-read it the day after.

It makes me feel so embarrassed to make these mistakes for all to see because it somehow makes me less literate than I used to be (was I ever that literate!).

Dementia is such an insidious disease which is less understood than it should be.   As you can see I am not in the middle or later stages, but at an early stage so I am very aware of these small changes which I cannot do anything about.

Do you judge a blog by its grammar and punctuation?   I used to but now I understand that it is what people are struggling to say that is more important, but are people less likely to read a blog that has grammatical errors in even if the content is interesting?

 

Childhood memories of Chimps Tea Parties.

PG Tips –
I remember the annual Brooke Bond PG Tips free event in Totton, Hampshire which was held at the Empire Hall. Hundreds of young children went along and we would all sit crossed legged on the floor facing the front and would be shown a film from a projector whirring at the back. The films were about tea; how it was grown, picked, dried and made into the best tea you could ever buy which of course was Brooke Bond PG Tips! At the end of the story of tea the film then showed the Chimps tea party with the famous Tipps family of chimpanzees which were dressed in clothes and had tea around a table. As kids this was the best bit, little did we know that most of the Chimps were youngsters because they were less aggressive and that they did not have a natural life as they should do, but we would grow up to be a generation that campaigned against animal cruelty. I think there may have been some live chimps at the event but cannot be sure of my memory, I know there were lots of giveaways, colouring papers and pens, coupons off the next packet of tea bought and some lucky kids got a Brooke Bond toy Chimp. I would look forward each year to going and sitting on the floor with all the children who would later grow up and join the growing campaign against cruelty to animals.  Around this time chimpanzees were also shown on television smoking cigarettes which the public thought hilarious.

Back in history the anthropomorphising of all kinds of animals became a popular amusement but usually in drawings and paintings. In 1956 Brooke Bond started to use chimpanzees for their advertising campaigns which worked as one of their best ever.

Brooke Bond Chimps

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Does anyone else remember this in their childhood or town in the UK?