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Friday, July 16, 2010

My bvFTD Symptoms - Stress

Retreat! Never! Advance to rear!

(Everything here is my account of what happened to me, or my interpretation of stuff. Every case of FTD is different. Keep in mind as you read this that the person who wrote this has dementia.)

This has been a very stressful week. It is not the stress that was different, but how I reacted to it. In my past stress was, if not welcomed, at least not avoided, and I think I actually created it out of nothing sometimes just to make things more exciting. Type A personality much?

Not any more. This week when things got stressful, I automatically took steps to reduce my stress level. Since I could not do anything about the cause of the stress, I had to limit the stress from other sources.

I would never even have noticed this change in my behavior if it was not specifically listed on a web site regarding Social Security Disability as a debilitating symptom of organic brain disorders such as dementia. It asked something like: When under stress, do you run away, and avoid social contact?

Well, yes apparently I do!

To reduce my stress this week I retreated. By eliminating the stress of socializing, I made the stress I could not control more manageable. I became the "Happy Hermit".

I did not answer my phone most of the time, I kept the doors closed, and usually ignored the doorbell or anyone who knocked. My only social contact all week was meeting a friend for some low-stress Pizza (finally!).

This is not a symptom that I remember coming across before when researching FTD, but it is common to most brain disorders. Subjectively - It works!

I stayed in, avoided the heat and humidity, and caught up on some television. It was not bad at all from my perspective.

From the outside I can see where someone might worry about me. The best way to deal with this situation is to give me some time alone. I have always been a 'Lone Wolf", so I don't mind being alone. The peace and quiet is a great stress-reducer for me. This week it lasted a few days - from Sunday night to Thursday. It could have lasted longer, and that would be OK. After a week or so I think I better start looking for another way to reduce my stress.

The only other thing I noticed was that with the increased stress my ADHD-Like symptoms were also worse, which also made my memory seem worse, which made everything more difficult - which caused a little additional stress. Everything is connected.

So, I did not Retreat. I advanced to the rear. I guess I turned things around, huh?

(Har! Advance to the rear! Turn around! Har! I crack me up!)
Comments are welcome.


  1. From the friend with whom the pizza was enjoyed. Lee says it was not so stressful, but I could tell he was stressed. He drove about 40 minutes to get there and seemed much more anxious than I had seen him before. We were able to chat, catch up on stuff and enjoy the tons of pepperoni that showed up on the pizza. Then he got a parking ticket; more stress. Altho he paid it right there on the scene it had to add to the stress of the day. He did not want to come to my place to relax, just needed to get home. That's OK. He does need his down-time. This was the first time I have seen overt signs of change in him. Less banter, more nervousness, more sadness. Hang in there, Lee, the Happy Hermit is a good guy.

  2. Thanks for the comment Matilda.

    The drive was actually quite stress-free and relaxing. Since I used to travel it sometimes up to 4 times a day, it was a very easy and familiar trip. Once the restaurant cleared out from the lunch-bunch, it was just fine. I think the overall difference you noticed was mostly due to the increased attention problems, which have an impact on everything else. My attention was a real issue for several days, and I know it was stress related.

    It is great to have an outside observer. I know how it feels to me, but I cannot always tell how it looks from the outside. Usually nobody can tell there is anything wrong, so I know I was pretty bad that day.

    But we managed, and I enjoyed it immensely.

  3. Me, too. Don't forget about trying the Asian bistro!

  4. what did you get ticketed for?? Having a badass ride?

  5. Yup! Ruby is a real head-turner. The ticket was a $5 parking ticket because the meter expired 9 minutes before I got there. It has happened to me so many times in that lot I should own a permanent space by now. It was not so much stressful as frakkin annoying.

  6. "Frakkin"

    Do you watch Battlestar?

  7. Frakkin-A yes! I used to did!

    Then they landed on that planet for way too long, and I got bored and left...