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Somebody I Used to Know

Wendy Mitchell Anna Wharton



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01 March 2018
Brave, illuminating and inspiring, Somebody I Used to Know is the first memoir ever written by someone living with dementia.

What do you lose when you lose your memories? What do you value when this loss reframes how you've lived, and how you will live in the future? How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who are supposed to mean the most to you?

When she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone.

Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human. A phenomenal memoir - the first of its kind - it is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.
By:   ,
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Export/Airside
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 135mm, 
Weight:   346g
ISBN:   9781408893371
ISBN 10:   1408893371
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Out of Print

Wendy Mitchell spent twenty years as a non-clinical team leader in the NHS before being diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia in July 2014 at the age of fifty-eight. Shocked by the lack of awareness about the disease, both in the community and in hospitals, she vowed to spend her time raising awareness about dementia and encouraging others to see there is life after a diagnosis. She is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society. She has two daughters and lives in Yorkshire. Anna Wharton is a veteran newspaper and magazine journalist, most recently as an executive editor at The Daily Mail, and is now a ghostwriter and editing consultant. She lives in Tunbridge Wells.

Reviews for Somebody I Used to Know

Mitchell has delivered a landmark book. The best reward for her courage and candour would surely be fundamental changes in the way people with dementia are treated by society * Financial Times * A brave and illuminating journey inside the mind, heart, and life of young-onset Alzheimer's disease -- Lisa Genova, neuroscientist and author of 'Still Alice' Revelatory * Guardian * An extraordinary book about a little-understood disease. Awe-inspiring, courageous and insightful. I would recommend it to everyone -- Rosie Boycott, writer and activist I am so impressed with Wendy Mitchell's attitude and ability to explain her experience - she is both an inspiration and a guide. I think this book will be extremely helpful to people who are trying to come to terms with dementia, in their own lives, or the lives of their family and friends -- Michael Palin Wendy Mitchell makes a narrative about the loss of narrative; finding words for the failure of language; giving a voice to emotions that are usually unspoken. Somebody I Used to Know is a lucid, candid and gallant portrayal of what the early stages of dementia feel like, from the days of fog and exhaustion, through the bewilderment of medical examinations and psychological tests, into the certainty and fear of knowing what was wrong - and then into fear's aftermath, which for her meant finding a new purpose, a way to be optimistic and valuable in the world in the face of her own unravelling. This memoir, with its humour and its sense of resilience, demonstrates how the diagnosis of dementia is not a clear line that a person crosses; they are no different ... than they were the day before -- Nicci Gerard * Observer * Nothing is more frightening than dementia, says Wendy - and yet, every day, she chooses to face her fears head on. By sharing her story Wendy challenges assumptions and ignorance about dementia. Read this amazing book. It will change a lot of people's minds about what it means to have the disease -- Professor Pat Sikes, University of Sheffield Wendy's book is an absolutely compelling account of life with dementia. The writing is brutally honest as she faces life with her diagnosis but what she tells us is uplifting and a testimony to human spirit and ingenuity. Public and professionals alike will learn a lot from reading her book -- Jan R Oyebode, Professor of Dementia Care, University of Bradford This is an eloquent and poignant book. Those of us who have gone on the heartbreaking journey of losing a loved one to dementia have wondered what they were feeling. Wendy Mitchell's courageous and unflinching account lets us know -- Patti Davis, author of 'The Long Goodbye'

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