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In the old days (1960-2010), I could tell you roughly how many minutes had passed as I did things during the day. I had really effective internal alarms I could set that would get me to meetings on time. I really never needed to set an alarm clock for the morning although my obsessive-compulsive tendencies usually pushed me into setting three.

I loved the passage of seasons and months and years. I knew what had happened during different years.

Now … keeping track of the days has gotten difficult. Keeping track of time within a day has become a disaster. Most recently I feel like I am losing my sense of months and seasons; most recently I have started to ask myself whether it is early spring or fall when I go outside in the morning, April or September. I am amazed when a year or month or day has passed and have no internal sense of the passage of time.

I seem to have lost the sense of time in stages. The mind map below shows how it worked for me. I do not know if this is generally true for the typical person with dementia-neurodegenerative disease or if it something idiosyncratic to me.

This is clearly an area that needs further study.

Click on the image to expand it.



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  1. orla o'reilly hazra #
    April 6, 2016

    Thank you for sharing about your experience of time with neurocognitive disease. I also had a very good sense of time, never even used an alarm clock. the other gift I had and still have is my concept of space….i never get lost….veryu very rarely and if i do i can trace my way back. Time, on the other hand is not retracable. I find that there are two types of time….culturally we foster the chronus linear sectioned etc type of understanding of time. Kairos time, on the other hand, is more open and fluid and ‘timeless’. Thru meditation and my research earlier, I had caught many glimpses on Kairos time although my preference and that of those around me is chronos time. Now I am standing in Kairos time increasingly and i only know what time of the day ‘feels’ like and what my responses are to that feel…..anticipation, gratitute, awakening, anxiety, watchfullness etc. these responses are not necessarily locked in stone through the particlar dance of the day, but generally are. It goes back to the ‘book of hours’ the contemplatives and Benedictines used during the day as they farmed.
    I live in Mumbai where it only rains from June through october, the monsoon season. Many days i will leave the house for a swim and look at the sky and think i am in Ireland, where it rains every day nearly! that catches me off guard for a few minutes…..I ‘know’ I am in Mumbai, but the experience is ‘as if’ I am also in Ireland …the temperature usually corrects me quickly since it is very hot here in mumbai.

    So my experience increasingly is relying increasingly on somatic ways of knowing (all know is somatic but particular types of knowing we are now only culturally retrieving…the integral sense and other ways of being.

    You are right that it needs further research and i think it would be great if those affected with neurocognitive decline would become more vocal and come out of the closet. there is so much stigma but if we ourselves become creative in how we retrieve our ability to life long learn….I think the understanding of ‘dementia’ will be broadly enhanced…perhaps even teach those who are not ‘demented’ a thing or two about current understandings of cognition.


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  1. The Missing Time Calculator in #Dementia, a #MindMap | Hubaisms: Bloopers, Deleted, Director's Cut

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