I find my mind slipping. It’s begun haunting my daily life.
I’m 63 years old, long-time bipolar depression, with a mother who died with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Every time my memory hiccups, or I can’t come up with the exact word I’m looking for, or I lose track of what I’m doing or can’t find something I had in my hand five minutes ago, I have a tiny spark of panic. Is it the depression? Is it an early sign of Alzheimer’s heading toward me like a train? Or is it just an ordinary thing that happens to people as they start getting older?
Problem is, it could be any of the three, and I have no way of determining which it might be. If it happens while I’m in a depression and I know it, I’m glad to attribute the mental hiccups to that. I know that happens. I’ve been living with it for, well, most of my life, on and off.
If it happens when I’m not depressed, the panic moment is stronger. With depression off the table, that leaves Alzheimer’s staring me in the face.
For now, I’m going to just attribute it to ordinary aging. I have to. Few things terrify me, but Alzheimer’s does.