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“Denial”—A Moment by Kathy Ritchie (audio/video)

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

By Adriana Widdoes

“My first thought was of Ronald Reagan. He died of Alzheimer’s disease, an incredibly long and drawn out process (from what I remembered). Could my mom have this disease? No. Absolutely not.

Around the turn of the 20th century, controversial psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud first posited the existence of denial as a human defense mechanism. For example, we deny that the reason for our poor performance on an exam was our own lack of preparation; we believe instead that the questions were unfair. We deny that lax gun control laws affect the number of fatal shootings in America; we believe instead that these shootings are unpredictable outliers, impossible to prevent. Denial is what occurs when we are trying to protect ourselves from an unsavory reality, and it is also what writer Kathy Ritchie explores in her piece from The Moment, which details her mother’s difficult diagnosis with dementia. Watch and listen to her story here.

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