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
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.
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.
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.
It 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.