Dementia is one of the most well known brain diseases in the world, affecting one in 14 people over the age of 65.
But it’s not just a condition confined to older age groups – it’s thought that around 42,000 people in the UK who are under 65 currently have dementia too.
And the rhetoric around the disease is undeniably scary, with symptoms including memory loss, confusion, mood changes and difficulty carrying out basic tasks.
However, one woman, Wendy Mitchell, has been working tirelessly to prove that the dementia journey isn’t one to be totally feared, after being diagnosed with the condition herself at the age of just 58.
Appearing on Lorraine this morning, Wendy, now 63, spoke about living with early onset dementia, and the memoir she penned to document her experience with the disease.
Her book, called Somebody I Used to Know, tells the story of the woman she was before her dementia diagnosis, and who she is now, living with the disease as best she can.
Having first been released in June 2018, and recently re-released in paperback, the book has gone on to become a best-seller, and has made its way on to countless book lists as a must read.
Its customer reviews on Amazon are filled with praise, with many saying how the book helped them to understand the disease better, as well as proving to be an incredibly inspiring read. You can buy it here.
Speaking about the origin of the memoir on Lorraine, Wendy told Christine Lampard that it helped, in the beginning after her diagnosis, to write things down.
She explained, “If I don’t write things down, I forget all the wonderful things I’ve done. So for instance, tomorrow I will have forgotten about today, except I will remember how I felt. We never loose our emotions.”
Wendy also revealed the process of writing the book, saying, “Well, I can’t use the phone anymore. And Anna Warton, who I wrote the book with, lives at the other end of the country. So we wrote the whole book via Whatsapp, so emojis took on a whole new meaning for me.”
After Christine praised her positive spirit, Wendy admitted, “I’m very lucky that I’m a glass half full person, I always have been. So I always try and see a positive because that’s what helps me cope.”
She also explained to viewers that dementia doesn’t always have to be considered a struggle, and that you can still live well with the disease.
“Whenever people think of dementia, they think of the end, and they forget that there’s a beginning, and a middle, and so much life still to be lived. Albeit differently, because there’s not getting away that it’s a blow of a diagnosis, but there’s still so much you can do. And forget the stuff you can’t do, because you’ve no control over that.”