Sounds of Silence

Recently one of my friends told me I had gone "radio silent," meaning she hadn’t heard from me in a while. She was right. When you have Alzheimer’s, it is difficult to communicate. Bottom line difficult.

Since my diagnosis I have always struggled with phone calls. I have a hard time following the conversation and it feels easier for me when I can see the person. I can usually text or email someone ... until I can’t. The words just don’t seem to flow from my brain down to my fingers. I have so much to say and no way to say it. It is so frustrating.

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

I can't explain it

When I am having a particularly bad day it is even more frustrating. Recently I ventured to the grocery store and had an awful experience. I was not able to tell the people at the grocery store what my problem was. As a result, I felt humiliated.

When I finally made it home I was hysterical. I had a panic attack and also couldn’t tell my husband what the problem was. I still haven’t been able to communicate that to him. I know it is not my fault, but I have to take responsibility for it. I can’t explain it to people – it is all right there in my head if you could only peek inside and get it out for me!

It exhausts me to be involved

Because I can’t communicate effectively, I go silent. Fundamentally that is not me. I am a people person ... or I guess I should say I was a people person. Now more times than not I want to be by myself – mostly because I fear what I might say. I get agitated easily. I sometimes have no filter. I don’t feel like I can be a part of the conversation. I don’t want people to comment on how quiet I am. It exhausts me to be involved.

It is an issue because I know that socialization is good for people with Alzheimer’s. But finding the right balance can be difficult. I weigh each group setting I am getting myself involved in and try to determine if it is the best fit for me.

I worry my friends will exclude me

My friends are cognizant of it as well, but it is difficult for them to see it from my perspective. What starts out as a small quiet group can quickly become a large noisy group and that becomes difficult for me to cope with. Then, I go silent.

My insecurities crop up with the notion that my friends will start to exclude me because of my Alzheimer’s. I can’t say that I would blame them, but being a part of their lives is important to me even if I can’t fit neatly into their lives. I feel I am not able to contribute to their lives as much as they contribute to mine. Alzheimer’s robs a lot from us – I am trying to hold on to as much as I can.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.