What It’s Like When No One Believes You
Ever wondered what it’s like when no one believes you? Ever been in a position when you know–with the certainty you know your own name–that no one believes you?
If you haven’t, consider yourself blessed.
They Stop Listening To You
If you have, you know what I’m talking about: the situation is plain as day to you, but the people around you just don’t get it. In fact, the more you try to explain, the more evidence you offer, the more it feels like no one believes you.
It’s awful. You’re made to feel like you’re the problem. Others look at you like you’re mentally unstable. They get uncomfortable and they argue with you and they insist they’re right and you’re wrong. Worst of all, they stop listening to you. And this is what it feels like when no one believes you.
They start ignoring you and pretending you’re not even there. You blend into the scenery. It’s like you become a piece of furniture. Less than that, actually, because you’re not even recognized for having a functional use, the way a chair is. No, you’re more like a potted plant. You’re easily forgotten, just something in the periphery to walk past. Because this is what it’s like when no one believes you.
You’re Not Worth It
someone something they talk about, not to. Certainly not with. They use pejorative words like “manipulative” and “needy.” They say, “There’s just no pleasing you!” and make it clear there will be no further attempts to meet your needs.
It’s clear your needs won’t be met, and now you know why: your needs just plain don’t matter. You’re getting the message, loud and clear: you’re not worth it, you’re too much effort. They call you exhausting, a pain in the ass.
You may not hear those exact words, and they may not say them to your face, or even aloud. But you know, because you understand how you’re being treated. You can read body language and tone of voice. You can feel the energy in the room.
Yes, this is what it’s like when no one believes you.
It’s All in Your Head
“It’s all in your head,” they say.
And that’s true–it is all in your head. That’s the problem: your own brain is attacking you.
Let that sink in.
You’re under attack. If it’s not constantly, it feels like it’s constantly. There’s no relief, no respite. Just constant attack.
Not only is no one interested in helping you, they don’t even seem to like you. Compassion? Ha! You wish! Empathy? Nowhere in sight.
Your brain is under attack, and it may be from amyloid plaques and tangles. Or it may be from alpha-synuclein proteins stacking up and reproducing. Maybe it’s that parts of your brain are being deprived of blood flow (read: oxygen), dying.
Whatever the cause, it doesn’t matter because you’re living the reality. And the reality is, This is what it’s like when no one believes you.
Your Brain is Under Attack
Whatever the cause, your brain is under attack. Its defenses are laughable, and it’s definitely not winning. Even worse, instead of fighting back, your brain is turning on you. Your brain is attacking you, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
You ask for help in every way you know how. You say you need help, but others say they don’t understand what you said. Or they say, “But I took you to the toilet five minutes ago!” Or, “I think you’re faking it.” Or, “There’s just no pleasing you!”
Because this is what it’s like when no one believes you.
Sometimes, you can’t find the words to say what you need. You can’t remember them.
Or you remember them, but they come out wrong. You meant to say breakfast, but train comes out instead, or some other irrelevant thing that scares you just a little bit more, because how can this be happening to you? How can it be that you’re clearly thinking you’re hungry, and something not even close to expressing that idea just came out of your mouth?
How can you be living in terror of what’s happening to you, and yet at the same time, in this alternate reality where no one believes you?
You Try Charades
No matter, because the bottom line is, as you’re becoming increasingly frightened, increasingly anxious, because Oh. My. God. What’s happening? How is this happening? Please, help me! is running through your brain on a near-continuous loop now, at such a primal level that you’re maybe not even aware that’s what you’re thinking, you try charades. Because desperation is the true mother of invention.
So you act out what you’re trying to express because maybe that will help. Maybe people will understand that. Maybe someone will actually believe you!
Oh, God, now they’re getting even more impatient with you. They look exasperated. Angry, even.
They’re saying you know better. They’re asking What’s wrong with you? in a way that makes it clear that they think it’s your fault, that you’re doing this on purpose. This isn’t helping.
But this is what it’s like when no one believes you.
You aren’t getting the help you need, and the situation’s getting worse. This is exhausting. You’re exhausted and so overwhelmed. You start crying, because what else is there?
Of course you start screaming, because no one is listening! And, yeah, you throw a punch, because for the love of God, what’s wrong with all these people?! Why are they being so mean, so unhelpful, so cold, so indifferent?
Why won’t anyone believe you?
When you wake up, you know something’s changed. It’s harder to think. You still need help, but expressing that need is even further out of your reach. Your brain’s still under attack, and it’s still fighting back by attacking you. And you’re on powerful antipsychotic drugs now.
It’s easier that way, for the people around you. And that’s the main thing, right? A fuzzy thought crosses your mind: I guess this is what it’s like when no one believes you.
You’re Too Big for Your Britches
This is what you get for being a faker, for being demanding, for wanting things your way, for thinking you were entitled to help from those around you.
Who did you think you were, anyway? How did you get so big for your britches, thinking you deserved anything more than what you were getting?
You still have that same problem as when you started, that unmet need you kept trying to get help for.
And yes, your brain is still under constant attack, and it’s still fighting back by constantly attacking you. But one thing you do finally understand, with crystal clarity: everyone thinks you’re just not worth the effort.
This is what it’s like when no one believes you.
Hate the way this story ends? Me, too. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way! Check out The #1 Key to Amazingly Awesome Dementia Care and Who We Really Are for ideas on how to avoid what I describe above. They’re the two most popular posts I’ve ever written for a reason 😉
Christy Turner is the founder of DementiaSherpa.com and has enjoyed the privilege of working with 1,123 people living with dementia and their families. Follow on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Content varies across platforms.