Somebody I Used to Know by Wendy Mitchell

‘Life can be cruel at times; it can steal as much in one hand that sometimes we just have to cling onto what it leaves behind, however small an offering.’

A chance conversation with an acquaintance I have made while walking led me to this book. We were talking about dementia, and Wendy Mitchell’s experience was mentioned. I had to track down her book for myself.

This is an inspirational story, of how Wendy Mitchell, diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 58, has adjusted to life with dementia. She writes of how her world became blurred, how it became harder to do things, how right hand turns in the car led her to plot different routes (only involving left hand turns) until driving was beyond her.

‘That’s what Alzheimer’s does: it’s a thief in the night, stealing precious pictures from our lives while we sleep.’

Wendy held a responsible position in the British NHS, had raised two daughters alone and had been an active woman, running and climbing mountains. Living with dementia has provided challenges but for now Wendy is able to live independently. She uses Post-it notes and calendar alarms to remind her of appointments and routines and labels to find things that she otherwise might not recognise.

She also has a blog:  Which me am I today? | One person’s experience of living with dementia (

Wendy had to retire from her position with the NHS and she has found a role educating others about living with dementia. Wendy has found a way of living with dementia which, for now at least, allows her a degree of independence. I found this book inspirational.

‘But I was still me. Still me, but with a diseased brain.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith