Worried about Alzheimer’s

Lately my emotional state has been going downhill, and I always feel sad like there’s a hole in my stomach. I can’t find the energy to do things, and I have no interest in them either. And it’s all because of Alzheimer’s, as every day I wake up and feel deathly afraid of it, I don’t want to see everyone I love disappear.

There’s also this album, everywhere at the end of time, that degrades music in place of memories to simulate what dementia does to one’s memories, and listening to it scared me to the core. So one of my secondary questions would be if it was scientifically accurate?

Dear @Frikasa,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and worries with us. I hear that you’ve been experiencing a great amount of sadness and fear related to Alzheimer’s disease, to the extent that it’s impacting your ability to enjoy life and find energy to do things. I can imagine that this can be a really challenging and overwhelming experience. It’s understandable to feel scared about the potential loss of memories and the people you care about. I’d like to reassure you that we are here to support you through this difficult time and provide you with coping strategies to hopefully help you manage these feelings.

While it is natural to feel scared and anxious when facing the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease, I’d like for you to know that fixating on the disease can be counterproductive and can actually make you feel worse. Focusing solely on the disease can amplify patterns of negative thoughts, making them even more difficult to break out of.

I encourage you to instead try shifting your focus towards other aspects of your life that bring you joy and fulfilment. While Alzheimer’s may be a part of our reality, it doesn’t have to be our entire reality. Engaging in enjoyable activities and connecting with others can help in alleviating the intensity of your worries. It can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to engage in activities when you’re feeling overwhelmed and disinterested, but it’s important to start taking small steps towards engaging in activities again. To help you get started, you could try the following:

  • Identify activities that you used to enjoy and try reintroducing them into your routine
  • Start small – you could start by e.g. scheduling 10 mins each day for a walk in the park, if you enjoy taking walks. Then gradually increase the amount of time you’re doing this for and incorporate more challenging activities at your own pace.

It can also be helpful to have an accountability partner, such as a trusted friend or family member who can support you and encourage you to engage in these activities you’ve planned out for yourself. Remember to take things at your own pace – it’s okay if you don’t feel like engaging in activities right away, but set a timeline for yourself.

You could also try addressing negative thoughts related to Alzheimer’s and challenging them with more positive, realistic thoughts. I’m linking a thought reframing exercise here (1) for you to try out.

Lastly, I would encourage you to learn more about Alzheimer’s by looking up reliable sources – this would probably help you feel better prepared and empowered. Here (2) is one to start with.

While I’m not extremely familiar with the album “Everywhere at the End of Time” that you’d mentioned, from my understanding, the progression of each stage in the album is meant to reflect the trajectory of dementia over time. Although the music is emotionally powerful and thought-provoking, it is important to bear in mind that it is, at the end of the day, an artistic representation rather than a scientifically accurate depiction of dementia. Dementia is a complex condition that can manifest in a variety of ways, and the progression of the disease can also vary widely. I would encourage you to speak with a qualified healthcare provider or to read up more on the condition.

Please know that we are here to support you. Feel free to follow up with any questions or concerns. I wish you all the best, and please take care!

(1) https://mindline.sg/youth?wysa_tool_id=find_perspective

(2) Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease | Alzheimer's Disease and Aging | OHSU