Self-Diagnosis may be Mis-Diagnosis

Information overload regarding the symptoms of any affliction allows us all to assess ourselves and our friends state of well-being. Just after my husband turned 60 a new acquaintance of his took me aside and in confidence told me that I should be aware that Don had early onset dementia. The reasoning was founded on the friend’s observation of Don’s memory. I had known Don since he was 20 and it soon became evident after I met him, that he had selective memory. Anything important to him, his work never suffered, sport in all shapes and sizes was well remembered. But remembering less important stuff, like meeting me at a pre-determined time! Oh well we can’t all be perfect. And nothing has changed in the last 20 years, it’s the same as always.

Another acquaintance was chatting to me one day and shared that she was becoming easily distracted. Moving from one task to the next without completing the previous task. She wondered if this was the start of something sinister. In all the years I had known her, she had been exactly as she described. This was apparently the first time she had clearly observed her daily actions. What could I say? I did make suggestions as to how she might better focus on each daily task.

We need to be sure that what we are “seeing” is new and not something we have been living with for a long time but not previously noticed before making a diagnosis.