Since Monday’s post, I have had 5 different phone conversations with my mom.  I can’t tell if she remembers any of them.  During some of them she was seemingly lucid…others…not so much.

One of the aspects of dementia is that the person who is demented…(Can I say that?) becomes very good at compensating.  If mom doesn’t remember something or something confuses her she will start to mumble…change the subject…lie… or strike.   All are very effective…especially the strike.

Brilliant way to get everyone to back the hell off so that she can internally settle herself.

After one particularly dizzying strike, I was thinking about the amazing ability humans have of defending themselves.  We all compensate.  We all have our own version of puffing up when feeling under attach and scared.  We all have our ways of protecting the self.

We also have unique styles of compensation that focuses on how to navigate in our environments.

Blind people compensate by using their hearing and sense of touch in amplified ways.  They can ‘see’ through their hearing.

I went to a concert once with my girlfriend who was deaf.  She compensated for her deafness by standing right next to the speakers…feeling the sound vibration and moved to the pulse that she felt through her skin.  We had a great time dancing together~

Jerry Garcia had one of his fingers cut off as a kid…he learned to play guitar with four fingers. He had to learn a different way to play…he found a way that worked.  Worked really really well!!!!

Replace “compensate” with “thrive”…

Or maybe replace “compensate” with “adapt”…

It is interesting…isn’t it?

I want to bring this back to how my mom is being quite creative in her ways of compensation.

She has always written lists.  Makes sense.  If you might forget something…write it down.  Now her lists are becoming quit epic.  She writes down EVERYTHING.  Sometimes the list help her to focus and feel less confused.

But, sometimes there is a paradox within compensation!  She has so many lists around that the lists are confusing her.  I have gotten into the habit of telling her “I will write it down for you…and then I will remind you~”  She likes this.  Immediate relief for her.

So, now I am compensating for her compensation 😉

I do the same thing.  I write things down so  I won’t forget them.  I am compensating for a very limited brain capacity for particular details.  Especially when it comes to technology.  There are all of these little steps that I must take in order to post this blog, or to add a link to my website…or to copy and paste something!!  All of these details are in a notebook titled “Stupid dummy dumb dumb technological instructions!”  Works great for me…with a touch of humor…more compensation :)  If I can laugh…I won’t be in the fetal position under my desk. And…I actually can get some things done!

So, my mother is attempting to adapt…to compensate for the slipper slope of her mind.  Pretty damned brilliant.  She also uses this compensation of emotion and behavior (mumbling, changing the subject, lying…and striking) to keep her fear at bay.  Brilliant yet again.  It would scare the crap out of her if she fully realized what was happening…in fact, I think her mind is protecting her from this realization…so that she won’t be so afraid.  More brilliance.

Now I realize that I am being Little Ms Intellectual here…but, I am gonna chalk that up to my brilliant ways of compensating.  This soothes me.  Tunes me into the feelings of compassion and curiosity.  It also makes me smile…thinking of my mom as a Super Adapter…as a Super Compensator in the face of this scary situation.

This ability to compensate…to adapt…certainly changes from day to day.  Sometimes I am better at it…then other times.

So dear readers…I know I am being a bit long winded here…I had lots of thoughts that I deleted 😉  …

How about you?

What ways do you compensate/adapt to new and challenging situations?

Do you find it a wee bit bumpy as well?

Well, I am off to go call my mom…I have a note here to remind her of something (which I almost forgot to do!)

Bye for now~

9 Responses to “Compensating.”

  1. Compensating….

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Hey there courageous one! Thank you for bringing up the conversation about dementia and its impact on the only minimally demented (my take is that we’re all partially demented, just some more than others). And I really love that you are pointing out the way we all adapt and compensate. But mostly I love you and so, even though we might understand what’s happening with your mom, there’s still a part of me that wants to shake her conscious (shaken mama syndrome?). And then I have to be with all the things I can’t just shake into submission to my WILL! Which gets me back to the realization that I am oh-so-reluctantly evolving into – that the only thing I can change is me, is my perception of what is happening. I get it and it sucks. (Wonder if I can shake myself into being under my WILL?) I see that you are getting it and it sucks for you, too. You have my deepest sympathies. Want me to come over and shake you?

  3. It just sux but we love you.
    Compensation…I act stupid and needy, so people expect me to be stupid and needy and are pleasantly surprised when I don’t seem SO stupid and needy. Wow, that was a big …
    admittance? Divulgence? Secret told?…can’t think of the word.

  4. Hey Christine…I love that!!!! Shaking ourselves to be under our own will :) I think that is exactly what I need!!!! A good shake 😉

  5. Hi there Tara! Thanks for sharing your secret here…shhhhh don’t worry not many people read my blog…so no one will ever know 😉
    I love that you shared some of the ways that you compensate…we each have our little internal compensators.
    I act like I know what I am doing…and then people are like “Oh my god…she is stupid and she is pretending to be so smart!” 😉
    Love ya!

  6. Thanks for the track back. :)

  7. I wonder if you plan to publish that “Stupid dummy dumb dumb technological instructions“ — I wouldn’t mind peeking a glance at it! :)

    My mom’s mental state was clearly not right when she was dying of cancer. With the doctors and nurses there as targets, she spared me of any “strikes.” But it was still troubling.

    Before I navigated here, it just occurred to me of how I’ve been compensating for my wife’s decline in health. She had fallen twice in as many days on rough hiking terrain this weekend — conditions she would’ve handled well before. My diversion — I managed to trade in both of our old cars for two less old ones. The one that I’m driving is sleek and gleaming despite being 12 years old. I haven’t handwashed a car in twenty years, but I washed this one yesterday, and I put on that tire polish to make them look slick and black. And it has an awesome stereo system that I’ve loaded with great CDs. My 11 mile drive to work is an escape.

  8. Thanks for your comment Mr Peg~ It is interesting to realize all the ways in which we compensate. Great skill!!! Quite a brilliant way to expand into some form of thriving :)
    Your car sounds snazzy! Got any pics?

  9. I finally got ’round to taking a picture of the car:


    BTW, I tried one of your Color Alignment Meditations last night (Indigo / Magenta). It was powerful! But do you know that your Meditations link on the Free Stuff menu returns “Nothing Found”? http://lynnemorrell.com/meditations

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