Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q 

Unity is this week’s countdown. Unity… The state of being united or joined as a whole. Unity is important as a community. In any community, we need people to be united as one. Especially in the mental health community. Enjoy this week’s countdown. – Scratchley Q
10. We Are One (Ole Ola) – Pitbull

9. Come Together – Beatles

8. Everybody- Logic

7. Join Together – The Who

6. One Vision – Queen

5. Unity – Shinedown

4. Rhythm Nation – Janet Jackson

3. Oh! Gravity – Switchfoot

2. One Nation Under A Groove – Funkadelic

1. Get Together – The Youngbloods

Worth Living Ambassador Felicia Singh

Hello, my name is Felicia. I am a 25 year old healthcare professional and
counseling / psychology student with anxiety. As well as someone with an unexplainable
yearning to understand mental health disorders. The who, what, where, when, and whys of it all.

As the colors change …

For those of us that are lucky enough to experience all of the seasons, fall can be an amazing
time of year. The leaves are changing colors. The weather is cooler. And for me, the fashion trends
are so much better. Not to mention holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. However for
some of us (including myself), the shift in seasons can take a toll on our mental health.
Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder are mental health disorders that occur the
same time every year.

I LOVE the sun. I mean that literally. For me the sun is more than light. It
represents the beginning of a new day. A fresh start. Fall changes bring with it less sun and
more darkness. The days are shorter and the nights seem so much longer. I personally have a
difficult time adjusting to waking up when it’s still dark outside. I find myself not being as
motivated to do the things I usually enjoy doing.

I am a firm believer in learning from my past and planning for the future based on what it is that I learned. Dealing with a mental health illness should not be any different. Learning our triggers and how to deal with and prevent them is very important to our overall wellbeing. So with that being said here are some tips for getting and staying ahead of the seasonal blues.

1. Stick to your routine. If you work out, meditate, read, or start your day with a morning
coffee, then do that. Just because the weather is different it doesn’t mean you should
stop doing the things you usually do.

2. Have a conversation with the people in your life. Make them aware that this time of year
causes you to be irritable, or maybe you’re not as optimistic and willing to do the things
you would usually do. Keeping the people around us in the loop is beneficial for us all. It
allows them to gain understanding and perspective on the mental health issue you may
be experiencing.

3. Counseling. If you don’t already see a counselor or therapist, then consider doing so
around this time of year. A lot of the time just discussing what’s bothering us and how we
are feeling makes things a lot easier. Support groups are awesome as well. Connecting
with others who are experiencing the same things you are helps to promote a certain
amount of normalcy. And there is nothing abnormal about human emotions.

4. Find activities that are specific to the season. You may not be able to run outdoors or go
to the beach with your friends but you can go on a color tour, visit your local farmer’s
market, go skiing, visit an orchard or a pumpkin patch. Take advantage of indoor
activities as well. Paint, join a book club, get a gym membership, or take a pottery class.

5. You may also benefit from speaking to your healthcare provider about medication options. Making sure you are getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients can make a huge difference. No sun equals low vitamin d and low vitamin d equals low energy levels.

However you choose to shake off the seasonal blues, make sure that you’re doing it in a healthy
and productive way. Remember if you’re here then you have a life worth living.

Worth Living Ambassador Anna Palazzi

Anna is an avid, lover of life. She lives for adventures and enjoys challenging herself. She is the creator of the  __Simply__Human__ Instagram account  ( https://www.instagram.com/__simply__human__/ ) , and dedicates her free time to advocating for the mental health community.

More Than Words

I want to share with you all the moment I “exposed” my mental illness to those around me. Prior to the post below, (originally featured on my Facebook), I had not discussed my journey with mental illness with others. I was self-conscious and frankly embarrassed, but at the moment I posted this, I was ready to let it all go.

So, here I am again, sharing what I know best, my story:

“Well it’s currently 4:45 a.m. And I can’t sleep even if I tried. Like most college students, I’m suffering from pulling all nighters ( shout out to finals ), and my brain is racked with thoughts.

I don’t know if this is my tired self just not caring about what others think anymore or if I genuinely have just accepted that there’s no shame in what I’m about to share with everyone.

Let’s flash back to about two years ago. I was a senior in high school. I was homecoming queen, a soccer player, an A+ student, and accepted into college by the time December came around.

Life was good, right? You would never think that I was actually struggling so much.

Hell, I didn’t even know.

One day in April, I woke up and I had a panic attack. I remember texting one of my friends because I was so confused. I hadn’t had one since I was about 10, so I was scared.

As time progressed, things got worse. May came. Everyone was excited about prom, graduation, and parties.

I couldn’t be. I woke up every day with panic and confusion. Every second of my life was me struggling with my thoughts, and not understanding what was happening to me.

Then one day, I heard that my friends were concerned with my weight. I reached out to them and I asked, why?

They said that they noticed I hadn’t been eating and that I had dropped A LOT of weight. They said they thought I was anorexic.

My stomach dropped when I heard this. Yes, I wasn’t eating like normal, and yes, I was working out A LOT, but it wasn’t because I thought I was fat.

So how was I anorexic?

My weight loss stemmed from my stress and my need for control in my life. I controlled my diet, my exercise, and anything else I could.

The more weight I lost, the worse my mental state got.

I was miserable. My summer was absolutely horrible. I didn’t have fun. I couldn’t function like a normal person. My emotions disappeared.

I was depressed.

To this day, my close friends and family still don’t know how bad this was for me.

I was “faking it” till I “made it.”

Every day, I thought about killing myself. I would cry about this thought. I knew I didn’t want to actually do it, but I didn’t trust myself enough to believe that.

I wanted the pain and insanity to end. My dreams were better than reality (not being dramatic).

This insanity continued until about October of my freshman year of college.

I came to school a mess, but no one knew unless I told them what was going on.

I tried to push through the pain, but it was getting worse.

That’s when I decided to get help. I reached out to my school’s counseling center, was referred to a psychiatrist, and I was prescribed medication.

Please note: I HATED the idea of being on meds. I thought of myself as a failure. I thought people would classify me as “crazy.”

Turns out, medication was exactly what I needed to be on. I was prescribed Abilify and Zoloft.

After a couple weeks, I was feeling better. Eventually, I was able to have fun again, and enjoy my life.

I am now off of Abilify, and they are beginning to decrease my Zoloft prescription.

I feel like myself. I’m happy, and my depression has been gone for a while.

I’m a successful Honors student, RA, sorority sister, bookseller, friend and so much more.

I wish I could tell you exactly why and how this happened to me, but I can’t.

I don’t have any answers, and I don’t need them.

I’ve accepted that the mind is powerful. I’ve accepted that things like this happen all the time.

So, why was I so alarmed by this happening to me?

It’s because mental illness is almost “taboo” in our society.

Before I went through this, I didn’t understand suicide.

I didn’t understand depression.

I didn’t understand anything.

I’m happy to have had his terrifying and miserable experience. I have learned so much, and now I am able to share with others the knowledge I’ve gained.

Sharing my story has saved people.

I don’t care what others think about me or if they tell me I’m insane.

If my experience can help others, then whatever.


It’s now 5 a.m. And I’m finally tired.

Before I pass out, I want to thank all those in my life who have helped me through this.

To those who were with me my senior year and to those that are now in my life: thank you. Know that I think about how lucky I am to have you all, each and every day.

I hope my long preaching session finds you healthy and well.

Blessed is an understatement. Much love to all and good night.”

This was one of the most rewarding things I could have done for myself. Through this seemingly simple action, I validated my feelings and my experience. The comments and the love I received from those around me was overwhelming and inspired me to continue to be a mental health advocate. With this being said, I cannot stress enough how giving a little bit of yourself does not only help others in need, but inspires them to live another day.

Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q

Welcome to this week’s Worth Living Top 10 Countdown. This week we are trying something a little different. Personally I love remixes. Remixes are one of many ways DJs and producers like to show creativity. Here are some great remixes for your weekend. I hope you like them as much as I do.  Enjoy – Scratchley Q

Worth Living Top 10 Countdown – Remix
10. Dear Me – Slushii

9. Paper Love – Allie X

8. Feel Good – Illenium ft. Gryffin and Daya

7. Stressed Out- Twenty One Pilots ( Tomsize Remix)

6. Crime – Grey ft. Skott

5. Boy – Odesza

4. Nobody Like You – Kaskade (Sun Soaked Mix)

3. In The Morning – Zhu

2. For The Moment – We Are Fury ft. Fletcher Mills

1. Supernatural – Boombox Cartel ft. Anjulie (Hundaes Remix)

Worth Living Ambassador Marlee Liss

Marlee is a yoga instructor, social work student, and author. Teaching internationally, including a 2018 retreat in France, she makes it her mission to fuse her passion and provide yoga classes that facilitate empowerment, body positivity, and self-love. Pursuing her degree at Ryerson University, she is currently working at NEDIC (National Eating Disorder Information Centre). This November, she will be publishing her book ‘Rehumanize & other Medicine Words’, which speaks to sexual assault, mental health, reclamation and so much more.

A Rape Survivor on How to be There for a Rape Survivor

After experiencing sexual violence last year, my focus shifted further away from friends and family and closer towards myself in dealing with my own healing and impact. This is normal and sensible and it should be the whole story, but it’s only part of it really. I had a lot of trouble Receiving and many of my friends had a lot of trouble Giving. I am not discounting the actions of those who stood by me, held me up, moved with me through immense darkness without ever letting go- I will never discount the voices of those that showed me love when I needed proof of it most. Thank you to each of you.

But, I am tired of making silver linings for those who have trouble giving. For those who say things like, “I didn’t say anything to you because I didn’t know what to say” or “I’ve never been through this, so I don’t know how to be there for you”. I am telling you now and I want this to be truly heard: you don’t have to experience the cause of the pain, you just have to know pain itself in order to be there for someone – in other words, you just have to be human. The most validating responses I received were people responding naturally, from the heart or the gut: a nurse saying, “This guy is fu**ed, rape is a monster”. One friend saying, “I know I get awkward in serious situations, but I love you and I will learn to be here for you”. Another friend catching my tears and simply saying, “I am so moved by your emotion right now”.

You just have to hold space. Truly, that is all.

Because those who distance or avoid out of discomfort or ‘lack of supporting skills’ (Let’s remember that friends and therapists serve different roles), this is the result of your fear-driven action: When a scared and extraordinarily brave survivor of sexual assault decides to speak up and your response is discomfort or preoccupation with your own stress in how to respond – that survivor gets the message that they’ve become a burden, they’ve become too much, they should stop speaking up and making people uncomfortable. They stay silent and isolate and are now forced to deal with the loss of a friend alongside all of the grief that comes with trauma. Survivors staying silent has been the rule since day one, so when it is the exception, please take the responsibility to rise to the occasion – to applaud this person’s bravery and simply be there for them. Hold. Space. You don’t have to heal them or fix them because you won’t. Healing that wound is a life time of work but the people around us must be there to soften the pain as we move through that struggle.

You must let the pain of our violation speak louder than your own discomfort. Please know that I am not placing blame on you. I don’t think these people who avoid are incompetent or rude or insensitive. Our society has engrained in us discomfort with emotion. Most of us have been asked to swallow our feelings for fear of appearing weak and taught to wait until we are alone in our rooms to cry. Our culture has wrapped every emotion in shame, so that when a feeling comes – it floods and overwhelms rather than simply surfaces. We panic as a ball in our throat forms and the people around us panic as they see something other than neutrality enter the room. So of course, most of us isolate and drown in our struggle, of course battles with mental health have become an epidemic.

So, from a rape survivor who is vulnerable and courageous enough (in this moment) to speak up, please let these words be a takeaway: There is no ‘right’ way to respond, just simply be there With us. Hold our hands, catch our tears, ask us if we would like touch for comfort. Listen to us wholeheartedly and let your eyes speak louder than the ‘how can I respond?’ dialogue in your mind. Get angry alongside us, get sad alongside us, be moved by our emotions. Feel into our pain so deeply that you begin to realize how collective this trauma is, how in some way, an injustice done to your sisters and brothers is also an injustice done to you. Do not ask us to carry this burden alone, the grief of one is the grief of all. And if we are brave enough to be with each other, rather than obsessing over fixing each other, it will be impossible for us to continue hurting one another. It will be impossible for us to ignore the urgency of our world’s problems. Eventually, it will become impossible for us to be anything other than awakened world-changers on a mission to restore peacekeeping wisdom and connective love.

Please visit my website at http://www.marleeliss.com

Worth Living Ambassador Katherine Anne McCain

My name is Katherine Anne McCain, and I was born with one arm. I am a freelance model and a
student getting my degree in Psychology. When I was 16, I started my ongoing battle with
Anorexia and my constant battle with poor self-destructive tendencies. When I was about 19
(I’m 21 now), I made the decision to go into therapy and to begin my journey of finding health
and to loving myself again. Throughout my recovery I’ve learned a lot more about myself and
my passions, and have found a deep love for helping others and spending time with my friends,
family, and sorority sisters.

Embracing Who I Am

This being my first real blog post I’ve struggled for the past week with what I wanted to say. All
week I have been jotting down notes in my phone of what I could write about and I’ve been
stuck because I think there are so many different topics I could start with in regards to my
ongoing struggle with my mental (and physical) health. The notes app in my phone is also where
I keep any and all things I need to share with my therapist- again making my notes lengthy and
making me unsure of what to write for my first post.

I think I’ll start with what led up to me being the mental health advocate and empowering
woman I am today, so with that I’ll give you a general background of who I am. I struggle the
most with my self- esteem. Growing up I’ve wanted nothing more than to not be seen as the “girl
with one arm,” and that has led me to being overly agreeable and to seek perfection and
acceptance from all my peers. I don’t really know how to do anything in moderation because of
this. I want everyone to like me and think I’m cool so I always say yes to that sixth drink, shot,
drugs, (occasional) casual sex, you name it. I either eat or I don’t, work out too much or not at
all, cry when I’m alone or seek attention. Looking at me online or even talking to me in person
you wouldn’t know that. I’m very extroverted, kind, and studious. I’m a role model, which is
probably weird to read after I just said I struggle with poor coping mechanisms but I’ve grown
out of many and know that my past decisions do not define me as a person today. Most people
look at me and think that I’m the girl that’s well off and confident because I post a lot on
Instagram and I try my best to look cool on my social media, but in reality I’m not someone
that’s very confident. There’s a huge disconnect between who I am in real life and who I am
online. I say this because it’s something that many don’t realize is unhealthy but it’s a very
important thing to love who you are as a person and not just who you are as a social media
persona. Seeking validation from Instagram likes should not be what happiness and self- worth is
based off of.

This past week my therapist had me dive in to realize just how different I am and I
tried to mention similarities between my “two selves.” I told her that I am both genuine in real
life and online because on my social media I usually write heartfelt posts and share a lot about
philanthropy that I hold close to my heart and that I spend time on in real life. She says I’m not
being genuine, however, because of the fact that I look confident online when that’s not the case
in real life. Sure, sometimes I feel great when I’m out but it’s mostly when I’ve had several
drinks. My therapist seems to think that I need to trust more of my friends with my problems in
person, something that I don’t think I can do just yet.

For one, a lot of people don’t understand things they have not experienced themselves. My
friends, I often feel, have shut me down if I speak poorly of myself or my appearance. I feel as
though they invalidate my feelings of inferiority because anytime I say something negative they
just shoot me down and say I look good or just to shut up. They don’t understand me for two
clear reasons: I am anorexic and an amputee, two things they know very little to nothing about.
This is why talking about mental health needs to be the norm in society and not taboo.

With anorexia, they don’t understand that I legitimately hold the belief that I will and am gaining
weight. They don’t understand that I think that other people think I’m fat just like I do about
myself. This I’m sure is partly because I don’t sit them down to have the conversation that would
legitimize my feelings in their eyes potentially, but still, too often do people just brush others
issues off. I really wish I’d had learned sooner that vulnerability and having conversations are
okay and important at a younger age. My friends don’t really know how anxious I get when I go
out. They don’t know because, well, I carry myself very well (which apparently is considered
‘ingenuine’) and because they don’t see me as “the girl with one arm/a disability. While I’m glad
my friends and family don’t consider me disabled, retarded, ugly, gross, or having a “condition”
(all names I’ve been called within the last couple of years) they don’t seem to understand that
I’m constantly worried that people at restaurants, school, parties, events, the mall, airport, and other places do.

There are people out there that do think that I’m a freak and so where do I finally learn to not
care what people think, to love myself unconditionally, and to have the conversation with a
friend I can trust, in person, to talk about my insecurities?

Therapy has helped me a lot. I’ve been in it for two years now. It’s helped me gain ten-ish pounds
(not enough but still any progress is progress) and it’s taught me that it’s okay to not always be
okay. It’s taught me that there is hope for me and for anyone in any situation. I have learned that
everyone has something they beat themselves up about. For me, it’s my arm and it’s something I
can’t really hide from. I’m sharing now because therapy has taught me that I no longer want to
hide. I’m very tired of hating myself and of feeding that self- hatred. I’m afraid of being alone
because of my limb difference, and therapy- as well as seeing badasses on social media-has
helped me realize how silly that is.

While I’ve realized that I have no reason to hate myself or feel fat or ugly or whatever’s going on
in my mind, I tell myself it’s okay to not be okay because initially I was hard on myself. If I
decided at 19 to recover from my eating disorder and minor social anxiety, why am I not already
healthy and happy at 21? Recovery, from anything as I have learned and as Keith also shared, is
a long road. It is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight. For me in my recovery, I’m proud of
any accomplishment- big or small. I’m proud of myself for the big things like being able to be
vulnerable on this blog, but I’m also proud of myself every time I eat, go to class, study, or make
time for my friends. People don’t understand that we need to celebrate the little things we do
for ourselves and that we don’t need to get angry at ourselves for having a bad day or making a

When you love life, life truly loves you back. It’s easy to be hard on myself for not being the best
version of myself 24/7, but making time each day to have daily affirmations (prayers for me
because I’m religious) and goals really helps. It’s always the little things that can bring you up. I
know now that my life’s purpose or calling is to not only embrace who I am as “the girl with one
arm” but also to be an inspiration to others. One of my favorite things that I like to think about is
the fact that because of the bullying and hardships I’ve had I can talk about them and through
that I can help others get through their hard times. What I love about myself is my ability to
connect to so many people. One of my dear friends is about 20 years my senior and has cerebral
palsy. How did we become friends and how can an anorexic self-destructive 21 year old relate to
her? We both have different “differences” about us but we share the same feelings of inferiority
and the same self- conscious manner. What I love about this community is there’s always someone you can relate to. I’m not comfortable opening up to anyone .

I have serious trust issues from bullying and verbal abuse in past relationships but I find so much comfort in finding people in the online community. Sure, I’ll work on my trust issues and opening up to someone not online, but writing here is definitely a start and a very helpful thing on my road to recovery overall.

I plan on sharing more personal stories in the near future but for now here’s this, and if
you want to know anything else about me or reach out for any reason, here’s my social media:
Instagram: @katherineeanne
Facebook: Katherine McCain
Twitter: @katherineeanne_

Worth Living Ambassador Beth Allen

Beth Allen is a Mental Health Advocate, and an active video blogger who aims to be informative, fun and truthful whilst showing life with Mental Illness. Having suffered in silence for 10 years with GAD, Emetophobia, Anorexia and Depression, Beth is 100% committed to showing the world that it’s okay to not be okay.

In this video, Beth discusses Living with Emetophobia

You can subscribe to Beth’s youtube channel, twitter at https://twitter.com/RealMissAnxiety, and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realmissanxiety/

Worth Living Ambassador Jenna Fournier

Hello I’m Jenna, a psychology student at Carleton University. I like music, coffee shops, art, poetry, and I do weightlifting. I have been diagnosed with many things, most notably Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia.

The Decision to Get Better(ish)

No motivation. Or the lack of it. The reason it has taken me months to write my fourth article. I’ve had plenty of ideas on what to write. I just couldn’t bring myself to actually do any of the writing. I would often go to my keyboard and type a few words only to press delete delete delete. But here I am, finally able to write something that makes some sort of sense. Here I am, again, letting you in.

I don’t know when I first started to hate myself. I can’t think of a specific event. I don’t think it was any one particular thing that made me decide I was the enemy. Maybe it was the repeated bad treatment from others. Maybe it was something else. I think that maybe I was predisposed to this line of thinking. In fact, I think we all are. I don’t know many people who love themselves, at least not completely. As humans we are flawed. We find it easy to critique ourselves much more easily and harsher than we do each other.

Although we may not love who we are completely, we find a way to sit with it. As we grow older and begin to establish who we are, we start to understand ourselves more. We find a deeper acceptance. At least, this is what I’m hoping. This is what I am hoping it will begin to feel like. The journey to self- love is often long. And contrary to popular belief, it isn’t a journey you have to take alone. No, people can’t fix you with love, and yes the majority of the work you do is self- driven, however it is almost impossible to learn to love yourself alone. The people you surround yourself with, who continue to stand by you and support you, often add fuel to your fire. Help grow, the flame you are becoming.

Some people have more trouble than others learning to love themselves. Maybe this is influenced by their past or their present circumstances or maybe they deal with mental illness. I am one of these people. I don’t like myself. There I said it. And it’s true. It’s not to gain pity from others or even from myself. It’s the bitter ugly truth. I feel like I fail at life. I fail at being a human being. When I feel this hatred so strongly I self-destruct. I feel that I am unloveable. That there is no way another human being could love someone like me and I must be worthless. I’ll hurt myself, I’ll stop attending classes, I’ll stop going to therapy. Why bother trying to get better? Some days I feel my illness is bigger than I am. More alive too. It has enfolded itself around me. At times, it has drained all life out of me. I often feel I belong to my illness, and that it won’t stop until it has destroyed all of me. I feel trapped by this thing that will not back down and sometimes it feels like every moment of just being alive hurts.

Sometimes I wonder, that maybe I actually can get better. It’s just that I don’t want to. I fear the  unfamiliar. But don’t we all? Fear the unknown? I’ve been sick my entire life. I don’t know how not to be sick. I want to keep my bad habits, my crooked way of thinking. As twisted as it may sound, I find some sort of comfort in my illness. But it gets tiring. It gets tiring of having a love affair with my misery. And it’s not that I necessarily do it on purpose. It’s just so easy, so familiar to take refuge in the suffering. And I really honestly hate being this way. I don’t want to waste away my life being so sad and angry with myself all the time. And of course I’m not saying it’s simple either. I am not saying I can just snap out of my madness and be alright. It will take hard work and dedication. It will mean being uncomfortable. Facing parts of myself that I always turn my back from.

I don’t know if I can ever fully heal to the point of not suffering from mental illness. But I do hope that in time, the emotional pain lessens. I want to find effective ways of dealing with difficult emotions and being able to cope in healthier ways. I want to strengthen my relationships with others and most importantly with myself. I often feel captive in the dreary day to day life unable to find any sort of reason to keep on going.

But the thud thud thud of my heartbeat reminds me that I’m alive. I am reminded that I am still here, still reaching out into the ever expanding world around me. I search for meaning. I want to be able to find my purpose just like everyone else. So here’s to me and the beginning of my journey to getting better(ish).

Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q

Well Worth Living friends and followers… summer is coming to an end if we like it or not. But don’t fear! This week’s Countdown is a small taste of this summer’s round up. We had so many good tunes this summer. I asked Worth Living Ambassadors what was their “go to” song was this summer. Here are some of their responses from around the world. Enjoy – Scratchley Q

Worth Living Top 10 Countdown – End of Summer Round Up 


10. Zilipendwa- Diamond Platnumz, Harmonize, Rich Mavoko, Rayvanny


9. Marry You- Diamond Platnumz ft. Neyo


8. Swalla- Jason Derulo ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla Sign


7. Slow Hands – Niall Horan


6. Live and Die in Afrika- Sauti Sol


5. Nothing Holding Me Back- Shawn Mendes


4. I Miss You- Diamond Platnumz


3. Summer Girl- Jamiroquai



2. Unforgettable- French Montana ft. Swae Lee


1. Feels – Calvin Harris

Worth Living Ambassador Felicia Singh

Hello, my name is Felicia. I am a 25 year old healthcare professional and
counseling/psychology student with anxiety. As well as someone with an unexplainable
yearning to understand mental health disorders. The who, what, where, when, and whys of it all.

The Fading Memory

It was Wednesday afternoon last week and I was sitting at my desk staring at a young woman
who stood beside her elderly mother. Tears filled her eyes as I explained to them what the next
step in her mother’s care would be. Her mother (a patient of ours) came in for a follow up
appointment after seeing a neuropsychologist for memory loss. She was recently diagnosed
with Alzheimer’s disease. The patient seemed to be pretty calm and unbothered in light of what
was discussed at the appointment. I wasn’t sure that she actually understood what was going
on. The daughter was very distraught. I couldn’t help but feel emotional about what they were
going through and what was still to come.

My great grandmother who I had the pleasure of knowing for most of my adolescent life was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when I was 21/ 22 years old. At the time I had no clue what the diagnosis really meant or entailed. I knew it involved memory loss but not the extent of it. She was living in Florida at the time and had recently lost her husband, my great grandfather. I had heard reports from several family members that she had begun to decline significantly after my grandfather’s passing. It is not unusual for elderly people to experience changes in their mental state after losing a long term spouse. Such a tragic event as death brings about so much change and emotion. It is a lot of emotional and physical stress for anyone to handle.

When I saw my grandmother next she was an entirely different person. So much so that she did
not even recognize me. Words cannot describe what it feels like to have someone that showed
you so much love and taught you so many things to not recognize you at all. There were a few
moments where she seemed to recognize my name, but could not connect the younger me to
the person that stood before her. I would describe it as losing someone while they’re still
standing right in front of you.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. A lot of the
time Alzheimer’s is overlooked as regular memory loss which is common as people get older.
Those with the disease may forget important people in their lives and undergo personality changes. Alzheimer’s is one of the main causes of dementia. The disease actually causes brain cells to degenerate and eventually die.

Although Alzheimer’s is not classified as a mental illness it is still related to mental health and can cause mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, agitation, and hallucinations. There are medications and different treatments that may help to improve symptoms, but there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. The 36 Hour Day is a great book for those dealing with and caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease.

Life can change within the blink of an eye sometimes. Don’t take a second of it for granted. And remember if you’re here, then you have a life worth living.