My philosophy on Personhood and Dementia … Person Personality Perspective

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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

 

***  Writing process:  We all get discouraged with the effect of dementia symptoms.  I am accustomed to tracking my time due to working for an attorney (and when I was Office Mgr always requested time tracking at least 1week several times a year in order for each employee to become aware of where they were investing their time). But if you have dementia symptoms then you know how it is; work on something for a while. Get interrupted and then spend lots of time trying to figure out what you had in mind. My original thought led to 6 different ideas I was trying to pull together – with 6 pages of “spider” pictures and writing. (not complete mind maps, George Huba , but just spiders) You know – write and discard. Try to condense and make sense. Discard and try again. Get interrupted and spend more time trying to understand what each idea was again, then remember each idea long enought to figure out how these ideas went together again (and what was my point??  …  Did I even have a point that makes sense?). 

 

This was probably the most complicated blog entry I have done without help. Took break of half hour for video chat. Half hour for this and half hour for that. So 7:30am sat down and after interruptions finished at 9pm.  I was in tears twice and almost gave up on this blog entry many times, because it took so much time to figure out what I was trying to say — over and over again.  Each time my stubborn streak kicked in and said “… but you must have had a point to all this!!  There was something you were trying to convey wasn’t there? what was it?  You won’t give up and make it all a waste of time?  How many more times will thoughts be flowing enough for you have the chance to do something like this?  Then back to: How does all this fit together?”.  

 

If YOU are writing then when you get lost, frustrated, and feeling hopeless to pull it together then maybe you can give it another try.  I was really scared to let much time go in between attempts, but figured if I had to leave it over night, then I would hand off my notes and spiders to someone else and ask for help.  What YOU have to say is important !!

 

Update 2015-09/15:  realized I should include copyright on graphic & took 1.5hrs to find my notes of how to insert symbol, then revise and replace graphic, so now 11.5hrs invested.
 

Related Posts:

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https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/06/07/self-identity-am-i-still-me/;

 

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https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/01/26/hole-in-my-self-control/;

 

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https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/09/01/best-of-person-with-dementia-pwd-gone/;

 

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https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/08/18/loss-grief-choices-dementia-advocacy/;

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. ***

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11 thoughts on “My philosophy on Personhood and Dementia … Person Personality Perspective

    • Sorry to hear you are struggling today, Brian. Reading must be one of the mostly-intact skills in your personal swiss-cheese of abilities left from dementia symptoms because you responded amazingly quick and this is the most complicated blog that I have done without help. I think YOUR person and personality very important and I am so pleased to contribute for your day. … as you do frequently for all of us 😀 — your friend Tru.

      Like

  1. Tru, this is incredibly wonderful! What a great, well-focused presentation of an incredibly complex idea presented so clearly in words and diagram. This is truly thought-provoking and should be considered by all who can grasp what you’re saying. I see this as a seed for a paradigm shift in how we view the dementia patient. This has the potential to impact many! I’ll be considering this for a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nikki, I do not remember ever receiving a comment from you. In past, I have deleted a few comments that do not reflect truthful loving kindness to ALL concerned in conversation. Sometimes the target was me and sometimes intolerance toward others. It does not happen often but it does happen, and I will continue to delete if necessary.

      I searched for but do not see your name in the spam filter. (Currently holding over 100 comments with advertisements , porn, etc from earlier this month, & I do not usually look thru them – it is too discouraging.) I have a long backlog of projects due before end of month, so may not see your comment right away to get it approved & have it show online, but it should be waiting next time I open this application. I apologize for this glitch. Do you want to try again?

      Like

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