Tru here. This is my personal vocabulary and thoughts on changes in the three “P”s: “Person”, “Personality”, and “Perspective”, based mostly on personal observational analysis of myself and those around me, but with some perspective from academic studies and my own DisAbilities and Dementia Symptoms. My definitions may need revision, but these are my thoughts. In my definitions, dementia does not have ability to change the “person”, but can highly influence the “perspective” and perceived “personality”.
Factors for PERSPECTIVE
PERSON: In my definition, “personhood” is combination of genetic and spiritual characteristics which are unchanged from birth (and perhaps even from conception). To change any of those characteristics is to truly change the nature of the “person” who exists.
1. Spiritual influence on our “person”: Much speculation and theories on existence and influence of spiritual aspect to the basic composition of our “person”, and I consider it extremely important, but prefer to avoid that discussion here.
2. Genealogical influence on our “person”: We are discovering much about how our DNA influences not only the seed and roots of our being, but also the ways we behave, and even how the experiences of our ancestors have modified our DNA, and the factor of how we handle our own experiences will modify the DNA for our decedents in the future. I think that is an important conversation but again, I prefer to avoid that discussion here, only acknowledging that it is extremely important in the big picture. (member 23andMe.com altho don’t understand much of it anymore)
PERSONALITY: From the seed of spiritual and genealogical “person” grows the “personality”. I realize there are many different academic theories on personality. The one I have most investigated has been Myers-Briggs (in which I am INTP). But that is also a conversation for another time. If I recall correctly, it is said that the term “personality” has Latin root of “mask” – that which is covering or seen by the world. Our motivations, values, and attitudes create our behaviors which are seen by others, creating other’s perception of who we are, and also highly influencing who we see as “self”. I have forgotten the term for our own perception of self, and altho I consider it very important, for this project I am merging it into category of “personality”. My current thought is that the huge difference between “person” and “personality” is how we experience and deal with the changing events in our life.
Life Experience Events as greatest modifying factor to changing PERSPECTIVE:
Note: I give Relationships a separate category in “Life Experiences”, because I consider them so very crucial to attitudes, motivations, and values, along with Health. Imagine there are many more categories which could be included, but I consider these two the most crucial.
Note: Pleasure and Pain during events from first five years of life probably have greatest impact on development of our attitudes, motivations, and values during life. My personal theory on why that is true … is dissipation; we are experiencing so many more events, in so many more categories of life that are becoming important to us, that as we develop, the impact of any one isolated event decreases in proportion to the added events we are experiencing in present, and have historically experienced in past for context.
1. Health: I believe health (Emotional health and Mental health along with many other Physical health arenas such as neurologic, muscular, and Sexual) is crucial to our developing attitudes about self and others, motivations, and values. With the various gains and losses in different health arenas strongly contributing to our perspective at any given moment. Important to consider that brain systems must provide energy transportation and storage in order to make CHOICE of responding to change in positive ways.
2. Relationships: I believe relationships (our relationship to self, spiritual world, family, friends, acquaintances, animals, plants, and environment seen and unseen) are sometimes of even greater impact than health issues. Communication and relationships are the building blocks for family, community, and the world.
As we grow older we can usually gain a certain amount of control in CHOOSING our response to Life Experiences, but the ability to choose that response, and the tenacity to follow thru is probably highly influenced by current conditions in the other three realms of influence. The unpredictable swiss cheese of dementia symptoms can highly influence some of these abilities, and I think that needs to be considered.
In my definitions, dementia does not have ability to change the “person”, but can highly influence the “perspective” and perceived “personality”, due to brain systems of energy, transportation, and storage, along with loss of context in ALL categories of life, and the influence on mental health issues like hallucinations, and delusions. Sadly, I think loss of relationships is another frequent cause of personality change in dementia, especially if patient is repeatedly refreshed on the death of loved ones who are not yet dead in the patient’s “perceived reality” ** (in contrast to “consensus reality” where everyone else lives). Even if loving relationships continue to surround the person with dementia, since dementia symptoms slowly deteriorate context in all categories, it is common for context of those relationships to fail. Both my grandmothers continued to recognize that relationships with the people around them were important. Each knew they loved and were loved by these people — but they had no idea of context; who these individuals were.
** My use of “consensus reality” and “perceived reality” are from excellent book “Deeper into the Soul; Beyond Dementia and Alzheimer’s Toward Forgetfulness Care” by Nader Robert Shabahangi, PhD
If you want to check out some of the other blog items, I suggest the “Crucial” category at the bottom of the blog window.
* Admin issues: SHARE dementia awareness thru buttons below. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the form of comments, but please filter your comments with truthful loving kindness to all concerned. If interested in receiving notice of future blog postings, subscriptions are available through a “follow” button in the upper left corner (MS Explorer) or lower right (Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Chrome). If there is an advertisement below, I have no control over what is shown. My own full legal name is Truthful Loving Kindness. My current clinical diagnosis is Mild Cognitive Impairment. I carry copyright for this article on 2015-09/10, which took 10hrs +1.5hrs. ***