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A Heartbreaking And Honest Essay From A Man Who Suffers From A.A.A.D.D. – Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder


Joe Potocny may look like the usual family guy who has it all figured out, but his life story is not that bright. He is a man who has been living with Alzheimer’s for more than 15 years. His diagnosis was confirmed in 2004. And that is when the weird symptoms began.

He spent his life as a developer of computer systems. His brain would soak up everything. But then something inside of him shifted.

A few years after his initial diagnosis, he got a positive PET scan that confirmed frontotemporal lobe dementia (FTD). And all of a sudden, he could no longer function the way he once did.

That is why he retired at the age of 50.

However, it seemed like nothing could stop this man from enjoying his life.

Even though he was diagnosed with Depressed Distracted Stressed Syndrome” (DDSS), a diagnosis he coined after doctors diagnosed and then prescribed treatment first for depression; next, distraction and then stress, before finally realizing he had early/younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, he never gave up on life.

Today, Joe has 5 children aged from 29 to 42 and he owns a blog where he writes informative articles and raises awareness about his peculiar conditions. He has also been a part of an HBO documentary called “The Alzheimer’s Project.”  Surprisingly, out of 7 people who were featured in the documentary, he is the only one who survived. Truly inspiring.

Additionally, this man has also published a book ( “Living with Alzheimer’s: A Conversation If You Will”) with stories from his everyday life. But there is one in particular that really brought tears in my eyes. This honest and heartbreaking essay perfectly depicts Joe’s everyday life. If you are someone who struggles with this condition, I hope that these words will comfort you in some way.

I know that it’s truly hard to live like this, but I want you to know that you are not alone.

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. –
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,
I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mailbox earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table,
put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills
on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think,
since I’m going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,
and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the
can of Pepsi I’d been drinking.

I’m going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.

The Pepsi is getting warm,
and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
a vase of flowers on the counter
catches my eye–they need water.

I put the Pepsi on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I’ve been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk,
but first I’m going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.
Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I’ll be looking for the remote,
but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
but first I’ll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers,
but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to
remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
the car isn’t washed
the bills aren’t paid
there is a warm can of
Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don’t have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can’t find the remote,
I can’t find my glasses,
and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all the damn day,
and I’m really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,
and I’ll try to get some help for it,
but first I’ll check my e-mail….

Do me a favor.
Forward this message to everyone you know,
because I don’t remember who the hell I’ve sent it to.

Don’t laugh — if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming!!

Source: Blog / “Living with Alzheimer’s: A Conversation If You Will”

A Heartbreaking And Honest Essay From A Man Who Suffers From A.A.A.D.D. – Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder