Posted by: chlost | March 19, 2015

Keeping Your Head While Those Around You Are Losing Their Minds

There have been many days lately when I have felt as though I am once again on a very small island of sanity in an ever-rising sea of crazy.  The water has been lapping at my chin for many years. Recently I’ve felt that I may need a straw to point up into the air to maintain the ability to breathe as the tide of insanity rises over my head. I often feel this at work, but listening to the world news can also make the scene quite vivid.

Through it all, I usually see myself as coping fairly well. You get used to it. After a while, you just figure out a way to do things-routine, repetition, systems. We all have them. They become automatic.


Almost every morning, I buy a coffee on the way to work. When I got to the office this morning, like every other morning, I sipped my coffee as I checked to see if there were phone messages, then turned to my computer on the credenza behind me.

CTRL+ ALT+DELETE   Enter password.  Password Incorrect

The computer would not accept my password. Re enter password. Password Incorrect

The state requires that our passwords change every few months. Instead of making up a new one every time, I have figured out a progression that I just change one part of the password each time. I wonder whether I need to change it. Nope. The password is still good.

I tried over and over. My one-handed typing is often not particularly accurate, so I set my coffee down and tried several more times using both hands to enter the password.

I typed it more slowly.

Password Incorrect.


Password Incorrect.

One. Letter. At. A. Time.

Password Incorrect.

Password Incorrect.

After several more attempts, I sat and stared at the monitor. And as I finally took a moment and just thought about it, I realized that I’d been entering the password for my home computer rather than my work computer password. When I finally used the right password, the computer magically allowed me access.

The password I’d been entering was incorrect.

It’s just a little thing, I know. And maybe it happens to everyone. And maybe it is normal. I realize all of that. But it made me realize how much I expect my mind to handle every day. Over and over. Passwords. PINs Multiple ones for banks, messages, computers, phones, security codes, email addresses, phone numbers. They are shoved in there with the thousands of names/faces of clients, colleagues, family, friends, baby’s and/or pets’ names of all of those people. My medication names, dosages (Is this a day for a 1/2 tablet or is that tomorrow?) my calendar, my mother’s appointments, bills, social security number, birthdays…….

No wonder the passwords got mixed up in there. It’s a wonder I can walk and talk at the same time, let alone know whether to enter a PIN or a password.

A few weeks ago, I started reading the book “Still Alice”. I had to stop. It was very disconcerting to read this woman’s story of losing her memory to Alzheimer’s . I was still at the very beginning, when she suddenly didn’t know where she was while on a routine walk in her neighborhood. It was too real. That could happen to me. I think it may have happened to me. I have not gone back to try to read it again. I’m not sure I ever will. I don’t want to see the movie, even though everyone tells me “It is SO good!” Um, no-it feels uncomfortably possible that could be my future.

The world seems crazier every day. People seem to do stranger things every day. The amount of information and feelings that must be maintained in our brains increases dramatically each day.

Sometimes the most rational way to react to an irrational situation is to lose your mind.

Maybe I am the one losing my mind. That sea of crazy surrounding me may be doing just fine.



  1. It sounds like you are doing a sufficient job of deleting “crazy.” We must to maintain sanity.

    • Thanks. Sometimes I wonder.

  2. Your first paragraph completely sums up how I have been feeling this year. Is it me or them? But either we are insane together, or it is them. Chin up, we must assume that things have always been thus and we just hear more about it all nowadays:)

  3. I read Still Alice. Very disconcerting, particularly since my father has Alzheimer’s.

  4. Your work system is nice… at my work, you get three tries and then it locks the account and forces us to contact our administrator to reset it for us, so forgetting a password isn’t a secret! I don’t think I’d read the Alice book… I saw enough with my grandma’s Alzheimer’s. I believe it runs in my family as my grandma’s mother had dementia (not sure Alzheimer’s was that commonly labeled back then) and my mom is going through tests right now. Yeah, I’ll skip that!

  5. I could have written this. You’ve done it beautifully. I KNOW our minds are expected to handle a lot each day. And the password-change craziness plagues me, too. And forgetting or having slow recall is a “normal part of the aging process.” All benign. But my mom had Alzheimer’s, too, and so often I’m asking myself, “Is this how it starts?”

  6. I read Still Alice after my mother passed away from Alzheimer’s. The book is remarkable and, yes, hard to read. I only wish more people would read it and understand that Alice could be ANY of us. With statistics the way they are . . .

    Coping – I’ve engaged the use of a Password Management program, the ticklers in my mail program, reminders in my electronic calendar to protect what is left of my memory for people and events and activities . . . or, like you mentioned, I would already be using an extra-long straw.

  7. I don’t think your brain is faltering. You nailed the true reason: we have information overwhelmage–and nothing highlights that better than the game of passwords.

    Honey, trust me: you’re VERY sharp.

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