Sometimes a little health scare can put life into perspective I recently developed a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). It’s a condition triggered by tiny calcium “crystals” inside your inner ear that help […]
7 Reasons to Include Mindfulness in Your Daily Routine
Launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment What do Paul McCartney, George Lucas, Jennifer Lopez and Bill Gates all have in common? They all practice mindfulness daily. It’s no news, mindfulness is […]
An Open Discussion About Anxiety
As some of you may or may not know, I’ve lived with anxiety for many years. Living in constant anxiety is a form of living hell, and I will go as far to say that […]
You’re Not a Prisoner of Failure
In society failure is understood as an inability to live up to your own, or others, expectations. However, in many ways it is a truth that becomes a lie, and remains a lie until we make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
My Windup Brain
Unhealthy sleeping habits of an over thinker
I try and pry open my eyes, but they’re viscous, like two dead moths stuck to a window. I look for a line, the silhouette of the curtain, but the glow of winter is different to the bloom of warmer months. I haven’t really slept in two weeks. Sure I’ve “slept” but only when my brain has reached the point of exhaustion. And I wouldn’t call it sleep, 2–3 hours a night is not sleep — it’s a kind of incubation.
The Courage to Be Irrational
Originally published in Dumbo Feather. Courage might just mean discovering the lost and hidden parts of ourselves I was never a risk taker in my twenties. Not really. When confronted with a daunting challenge […]
The Static of Alzheimer’s Disease
and reflections of my late father
This weekend marks the 4-year anniversary of my father’s death. Dad died in July 2014 at the age of 65 from ‘Pick’s disease,’ a rare form of progressive dementia involving localized atrophy of the brain. His symptoms all pointed towards early-onset dementia, and we only learned of his true diagnoses a year after his death.
My father was a hardy Irishman and an outdoors-man. If he wasn’t rounding up cattle, constructing a fence or creating a vineyard (to perfection mind you) he was pouring everyone a drink and spinning a yarn … the time he built his own river boat and treated his sister to an ‘adventure down Abbey river.’ Musings of tomfoolery and even tragedy — but always sprinkled with that sharp Irish wit and narrated with an infectious, barrel-chested laugh.
For some reason I think of the lyrics from Working Man by The Dubliners …
He can take you back in time, tell you of the hardships that were there. It’s a working man I am and I’ve been down underground …
My father was that spirited working man, through and through. At least until his brain began to shut down, one compartment at a time.
I first noticed it when he failed to recognise his favourite coffee mug. My mother just shot me a worried look and blamed it on the wine. Then his moods became erratic, yo-yo-ing between passive and detached to uncharacteristically aggressive.
We were none the wiser.
While families wait for a cure their loved ones are slipping away before their eyes
How can anyone know when a loved one is slowly vanishing? When their walls of perception are crumbling down around them and their anamnesis is being hijacked — the recollection of an entire life suddenly spirited away by some unseen thought thief.
How could a man who was larger than life, who was a source of such humour and wit, be reduced to this? When someone close to you develops dementia, you naturally want to understand why it’s happening … so you start to dig, you do your research.
The New England Journal of Medicine characterises Alzheimers’s disease as the deposition of amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques in the brain.
But that description doesn’t help much unless you’re a neurologist or have a profound understanding of the human brain. And with so many cooks in the neurological kitchen, waiting for a cure is like waiting for a divine miracle. And most trials are unsuccessful.