Is imagining things more likely than forgetfulness?

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by smoothound, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. smoothound

    smoothound Registered User

    Dec 15, 2015
    5
    Occasionally, whilst I am absolutely certain an event has occurred (like telling my partner about some news) - my partner will categorically deny the event ever happened and then she will fly into a rage accusing me of deliberately trying to say she is becoming forgetful when she knows absolutely that the event never happened.

    In every case I always immediately apologise and explain that it was I wrongly imagining that the event had happened - I apologise even though I clearly recall the event.

    I can accept that there is a chance that I could be wrong - we are both getting on. So I capitulate immediately - anything to try and avoid things escalating - it never works of course, but at least I try.

    I am open minded about who could be right or wrong - so it could be me hallucinating that events have occurred and equally it could be my partner forgetting that an event has taken place.

    Generally speaking is imagining events have taken place a more common symptom of dementia that forgetfulness?

    Is there a rule of thumb as to which is most likely in situations where one person angrily denies that an event took place even though the partner is pretty sure it has taken place? I am sure other couples must have faced this dilemma.

    As for diagnosis - my life would be hell for a few weeks if i was to even suggest that we both went for a check up in this regard. I intend to raise it with my GP for myself - but my wife would never agree to get a check-up for dementia.

    many thanks in advance
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Hi and welcome to Talking Point.

    Well you are in in difficult place. I wouldn't say one is more common than another, but I'm willing to bet that if you think something has happened that did happen then you have other empirical evidence that it occurred. Have any of these things involved other people? Or were they things that might have involved paying for anything?

    If it's more like "I told you this news" then you are on rockier footing. I suspect I and my husband are younger than you but there are occasions where I would swear blind I've told him something and he would swear the reverse. But you know what's telling: neither of us exhibit the same sort of rage your wife seems to exhibit, and I suspect that's key. She gets angry because she has an inkling that she's forgetting things, and you know what they say: the best defense is a good offense.

    So, I suspect you are at least partially right (I say partially, because see my anecdote above - anyone can be mistaken) but your problem is going to be getting her to see her doctor, if you wish to go that route. I say if, because having a diagnosis or not doesn't make much difference at least in the early stages: you are still going to have to deal with the situation as it is. A diagnosis of AD might give medication options of course, but it's possible that she may not be prepared to accept such a diagnosis or medication.

    I think you are right in taking the first step which is to speak to your own GP. Hopefully he/she is your wife's GP as well. You should explain what is happening: it's possible he/she might be able to call your wife in for a "well patient" visit, or an older person's health check. DO you think she might be more responsive to a request from a white-coated professional than you? A lot of people are.
     
  3. smoothound

    smoothound Registered User

    Dec 15, 2015
    5
    thanks Jen

    Very wise words Jen - unfortunately it's always without evidence - if there is evidence she does not push it and just says she was mistaken without any apparent concern. There is no pattern to this - for example she totally accepts when my daughter suggests she is mistaken - but for me its just rage.

    She would immediately see through any attempts for me to trigger a doctors visit that resulted in discussion of this sensitive area. So that's a non-starter unfortunately.

    i guess in the absence of the chat with the GP I have to assume its 50:50 and could be either of us starting to forget - or maybe its 100:100 that both of us are. My general faculties seems pretty sharp as do hers - the two of us often beat both teams in university challenge - and the teams in Only Connect - so things aren't as bleak as I may have painted them.

    But it's frustrating when I am sent to the dog-house - when all that has happened is that i have a different perception to hers - so if she is right and i have forgotten - then i am blamed for my forgetfulness which is not my fault - and if its it's me that's right - I am blamed for her forgetfulness - which again is not my fault - she can't seem to grasp that this is not a blame situation - ah well time for bed - she will forgive me in the next few days and life will return to normal for a few weeks.
     
  4. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,085
    Brazil
    If someone forget something, her brain may fill the gap. But sometimes with facts from tv, or from 50 years e ago or from a dream or even from a subconscious issue.

    Sometimes we can get where it came from, other times a month later we find out what was about. And most time we never know.
     
  5. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,085
    Brazil
    Edit: if she doesn't have diagnostic, talk to GP.
     
  6. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    I'm prone to that too. And repeating something I've told him before. I've worked out why - sometimes when I'm ironing , gardening or whatever, I have little conversations with myself and think "must tell X that", and then I can't remember if I have actually had the conversation with him or whether I was running through the conversation with him mentally in my head.

    And sometime people aren't really listening even when they appear to do so; they're thinking/concentrating on something else. Conversations about X's golf seem to have that effect on me.
     
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,331
    Female
    South coast
    I know I tend to forget things and sometimes tell the same thing to people as Ive forgotten that Ive already done so, but I agree with Jen, whats telling is the rages and the way she is blaming you. Often our loved ones save it up for the people closest to them.
    You can always send her GP a letter explaining your concerns and then it will be on her file. Do also be aware that there are reasons other than dementia for forgetfulness - vit B12 deficiency, for example.
     
  8. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    When my mum was going through the final ravages of Alzheimers, I must admit I got pretty upset when my husband seemed to be repeatedly and pointedly telling me "You've already said that".

    Not only was I menopausal, which in itself gives rise to memory /concentration issues, I was also worried deep down about the possibility that I might go down the Alzheimers route myself one day.

    I didn't rage - that's not my style - but I was upset... and worried. Then I did the MMSE test on myself and decided I was probably OK for now:D I reckon lack of awareness can itself be a telling sign.

    Funnily enough, I mentioned to him the other day that I had concerns about his hearing - and, surprise, surprise, he wasn't too happy about that either :rolleyes: Will he get it checked out? I doubt it.

    None of us wants to admit our faculties are in decline as we age.
     
  9. smoothound

    smoothound Registered User

    Dec 15, 2015
    5
    many thanks folks

    Dear folks,

    Your replies have given me some ideas - and most importantly have offered me some hope that things will get sorted.

    When I read some of the posts in this forum - we are very fortunate really.

    I just want the best for my wife - and also I wanted reassurance that I was not losing it.... Which I now have thanks to you guys. :)

    Cheers

    Al
     
  10. CeliaThePoet

    CeliaThePoet Registered User

    Dec 7, 2013
    614
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    When my mother was still living independently, but needing more help, I often visited with my dog. One day my mother told me that the building manager at her place was after me because I had not cleaned up after my dog (quite impossible, I was a dog walker at that time and carried rolls of bags--often picked up the poop of past dogs) and that he even had a photograph of it. This upset me greatly, as I knew it wasn't true.

    It took me a while to work out that no one could have a photograph of a lack of an action, even if it had been true.

    It took me longer yet to realize that she had created the whole thing in her mind. (The building manager was a woman, for one thing.)

    It was a few years down the road that I realized this is the kind of story the demented brain creates. Mom often tells stories like this now, but none are true.

    I think this is pretty different from what you are dealing with, so I hope the example will be a helpful measuring stick on your own situation.
     
  11. smoothound

    smoothound Registered User

    Dec 15, 2015
    5
    thanks celia

    Actually you help a lot Celia - since your story indicates that it is possible for someone with dementia to imagine something that didn't happen - just as it is for someone to become more forgetful.

    So it reconfirms that perhaps my wife could be correct and that it is not just a case of her becoming forgetful - perhaps I believe that I told her of the event but actually didn't.

    Yes this helps lot - I am trying to remain as objective as possible.

    thanks

    Al
     

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