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I have been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Each case is different and to each individual there is a broad spectrum of symptoms and it's pretty much mix and match. I have never met another individual with FTD/Picks. All I know is what I have read and what I have experienced day to day.
Frontotemporal dementia is in a category of rare neurological disorders. The frontal and temporal lobes are usually generally associated with behavior, personality, and language.
This disease strikes individuals predominately 40-60 years old and is a drastic life changer. I was 45 years old when I was stricken. Memory can be affected, but that usually is in the later stages. In frontotemporal dementia, portions of those lobes slowly shrink. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the portion of the brain effected. FTD victims sometimes undergo drastic changes in their personality. They may become socially inappropriate, impulsive, sexually hyperactive and sexually socially inappropriate, or emotionally indifferent. Speech and the ability to communicate and understand language can also be compromised.
There is no cure for frontotemporal dementia. It is a progressive disease, but the symptoms can be treated. We are now in the infancy of learning and gathering data about FTD. With the capabilities of modern communication and the internet we should hopefully begin to facilitate more accurate communication and information on the disease with greater speed to help all involved.
Once again, the only way to accurately depict what socially inappropriate behavior is to give real examples. Any names of people I use are being used with their permission. These incidents I am sharing with you happen to be on the tamer side of the spectrum.
Last week I was with my friend Ruthie at Fort Tryon Park in NYC and we were sitting on a bench when a fellow walked by with a unique looking dog. Ruthie and I were engaged in conversation and I shifted gears and all of a sudden said,"That's the ugliest fu___g dog I've ever seen in my life" without missing a beat. I said this in a matter of fact way, without shifting my tone of voice or getting loud. Ruthie, knows I do this and can't help it immediately had an alarmed look on her face and said, "Howard". The man who was walking his dog immediately turned to me an said,"What did you say". I told him I wasn't talking about his dog.
Did I realize after I said it that it was a horrible thing to say, yes. Did I care at the time, no. Do I care now, yes and no or maybe not really. Things I do during the day for some reason don't hit me till evening. That night I lay crying in bed thinking not only about that incident, but others similar to it that happen and I cannot control my actions. It is almost like a turrets syndrome reaction, with an arm involuntarily being raised.
A few weeks ago I was visiting my ex-partner of 6 1/2 years Tamara at her apartment. She had one of her closest friends, Pam visiting. I haven't seen Pam since we split up about a year ago. The three of us were engaged in a conversation about the island of Martinique which they were about to leave to for vacation. I just matter of factly said that Tamara had great tits and they should find a nude or topless beach to go to so she could show them off. Some people might make off color remarks like this, but I never do. Tamara is a professional who works in the medical industry and I was a professional in the technology industry before I was disabled. This is a remark that I would have never made 8 years ago when we met. The fact that Pam was there was extremely upsetting. I didn't even realize what I was saying. They both sort of looked at me with a surprised look and it hit me. I got extremely upset and left immediately. I didn't leave my apartment for three days after the incident. I spoke with Tamara and she told me that they were taken by surprise, but understood. This happens to me on a regular basis and can be devastating. I find it extremely difficult to be in public and fear things that I might say and as a result, I isolate myself away from the public at home knowing isolation is the worst possible action.
Many of these incidents involve sexual connotations. I do not gawk at woman or almost never rude, but when I do make offbeat remarks, it certainly keeps my dating opportunities to a minimum. This disease can torture people as well. I am now 53 years old and suffer what the medical community calls, "sexual hyperactivity". This loving term has been given to people like me with frontotemporal dementia and other strange and elusive diseases. At 53 years old I have the libido of a 16 year old. Does this mean I act out and make inappropriate passes and act rude? Ordinarily not, anyone who know me knows I'm the consummate gentleman (most of the time).
These incidents happen and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. My current neurologist, Dr. Karen Bell tells me that I live in NYC and not to worry about the cursing. I do monitor my behavior as well as I can and it's exhausting.
Making the most of a dementia enhanced life - Howard Glick