Not sure if I will be able to communicate the intensity of last night's dreamlike experience. You may know my feelings on "God" and whether he/she exists, but it felt right to use that name in the title of this post! OH MY GOD!
Last night I had Alzheimer's Disease.
Last night I had a panic attack. Last night I cried, I feared, I finally fell back asleep.
I usually wake up several times a night. Luckily I am able to quickly fall back asleep after changing position in bed or fluffing a pillow, petting a cat, or getting up to pee. (TMI?)
I was not dreaming but must have still been in a dream-like state. I was thinking about things, like the birthday party I had at the condo earlier that evening and what tomorrow had in store.
As I was going over my thoughts, their bits and pieces were disappearing. I couldn't hold on to a stream of thought without feeling like it was slowly disappearing from my ability to access it. Slowly, feeling a bit nauseous and definitely panicked, I realized that I had Alzheimer's.
Can the symptoms come on so quickly? Does one begin to have muddled thinking without warning? Or maybe has this been going on for a while and I have not realized it, or remembered it. It felt strange, uncomfortable and the harder I worked at looking for or at it, the more it wouldn't cooperate.
There was something on the edge of my memory, on the edge of my mind which was alluding me and I could not put my finger on the details of what it was. But it was something, just something that I could not describe, define, identify. And the fear that came with it was definitely causing me to feel like I might vomit.
Would I even remember this episode when I woke up tomorrow and was that part of the problem and the disease worming its way into my mind, my brain, my thinking, my memory? Had I felt like this before but not remembered.
The panic and fear were so strong that I became aware of one's ability to create an insurmountable fear and anxiety that could influence the rest of one's life. Incurable fear that created more fear. Worrying myself into something that might or might not be true.
Would I be able to leave behind my condo, my collections, the cats, the little things that bring me joy and relocate to a place where my life would be simpler, under control, safe, guarded: a place in which my basic needs would be provided but would those basic needs be enough?
How would I deal with the complexities of my "self" which were no longer available to me, or would I even know they were missing? I felt what it would be like to spend the long, lonely, fearful days that would be left.
I anticipated thinking of suicide and how I could do that. Gunshot, no. Pills, better. Starvation, no self-control. Would I be brave enough to end it and in doing so bring myself peace and help those who love me avoid the pain I would bring them, no matter how strong their love!
When should I make plans to off myself before I even forget that it is an option available to me and therefore no longer available? I could feel what it would be like to be empty but not content with the emptiness and always looking for the elusive self that I knew was there somewhere, or used to be there but never finding it.
I spoke my name out loud. I rattled off a few things about myself and facts that I could pull to prove that I was sentient. I remembered the names of the people who had been at the earlier party, my address, my phone number, my birthdate, the name of my kitties, and I fell back asleep.
This morning, as I tested my awareness, it was suggested that indeed I had in a dream-like experience and that it was safe to get up and continue my life as I have been for the last 72 years. Safe. Saved. At least for now!