The Tragedy of Mental Deterioration

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Although I offer no cure or clue as to how to cure Alzheimers disease, I do notice what I might name a thread running through the sufferers of such malady.



Penelope was always a rather prickly sort.  She was always contrary.  She would always have one of those awkward opinions.  So that if everyone felt the wine should be red, she would proclaim it should be white wine for a difference.   If everyone thought that such a person was dishonest, she would object to the term.

This is not the same as a person who has a true and honest belief. This is not the same as a person who really agrees or disagrees. Her behaviour was such that it was the kind of; 'tell me what you think so I can take the opposite opinion.'

Hence Penelope was the kind of person to listen for a particular word or term to disagree with.  There was no reason for her disagreement. It was not important in the large picture, but her contrariness was something she did frequently enough to have me, as well as others, take her in small doses.

Despite this, she did go far in her profession and then her mental acuity began to wane.  

Today she is walking on the road in a big baggy dress that looks like something one would wear to clean the bathroom.  She had always been very stylish, so this kind of garb is rather unusual.

Penelope has this vague look on her face as if she is going somewhere or coming and doesn't seem to see people around her.

Seeing her standing on line at Bank X I spoke to her.

I don't like Bank X.  I only used it to pay a particular bill, which happily I can pay elsewhere.  I don't have an account at Bank X as they do not have any real 'personal' banking.  

Personal Banking allows one to transact their business in an office at the bank, not on line.

Personal banking would be vital for someone who had her profession.  I am shocked that she, so many years ahead of me, who behaves as if she has dinner at the Palace would not know of personal banking.

I went to speak to her to explain Bank AAA which has personal banking.

"All Banks are the Same!" she decreed.

This decree is based on nothing. At Bank AAA I don't stand on line.  I go upstairs, I sit down, and my business is transacted in private.  It is far different from Bank X.

Hence my knowledge of personal banking is not something I read off a milk carton, or heard about on the bus.  It is something I use.

"All Banks are the Same!" Penelope shouts.  There can be no disagreement.  The subject is closed.

Considering the mental deterioration of Penelope I begin to trace this to her unbending certainties, her contrary opinions.


She is inflexible.  This is where she is to go.  This is when, this is what, this is how.  Everything bothers her.  Drops of water left in the public bathroom makes her as angry were someone to smear her living room with feces.

Ruth stands in this imperious manner.  She holds herself back and dare one speak to her, she responds angrily.  

She doesn't laugh or smile and has become hard of hearing.  That is, she doesn't hear anything that is said to her by persons she disdains.

She was discharged from her position some time ago, but shows up for 'work' and gently is dissuaded.  She marches out with an attitude.

The Comparison

Both women, who do not know each other, are not happy people, and never really were.  They see the world from a narrow persepective, and are inflexible.  Everything bothers them and they know everything.

They do not adapt, they do not allow, they know and this is it.

The locking of the mind seems to be a path to mental deterioration.  As they don't have space to alter their beliefs they stay locked in.  When things change they are unable to change, following the same path only going nowhere.

Penelope, still believing she is important, strides back and forth but is going nowhere. She is so focused on her narrow world that she has never allowed other thoughts or possibilites to enter.  Anyone who tries to force a little daylight into her darkness is shunned.

Ruth has clung to her 'unacceptable' posture despite the fact that such tiny things bother her has caused her brain to unfocus on reality.  Her confusion is produced by so many negative thoughts and discomfort from trivial events.


Considering just these two example, (there are many more but they are similar) the possibility of 'provoking' mental deterioration by one's attitude towards life seems a bit evident.

If Penelope was less stiff, more open, and had not chosen to be 'contrary Mary' as if it made her more important, perhaps she could have adapted.

If Ruth wasn't a locked box where everything out of place totally derailed her, then maybe she would have a more flexible way of dealing with life.


Is it that so many people suffer mental deterioration because they have trapped their minds in prisons, unable to adapt?

Is it that the miserable outlook, the prickly nature destroys the mind?

Are happier people, people who do not lock themselves into poses or adopt poses less likely to suffer this deterioration?


It is thought that regular exercise, a healthy diet, mental stimulation, quality sleep, stress management and an active social life can 'prevent' Alzheimers.   But what about attitude?

Not just 'stress management' or 'active social life'  but an open, happy way of approaching life.  Taking joy in small things, trying to be friendly, trying to understand other people's point of view, may also be important.

Think of those miserable people you have encountered over your life.  They seem more likely to develope Alzheimers than others.

People who enjoy life, who keep active, who still see hope and possibilites, tend to avoid mental deterioration.  





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