Mitchell was 58 when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. She began to write about the experience of losing herself, and the result is this remarkable memoir

Things begin, as so often, with a fall. A hard fall, while out running along the River Ouse in York, hard enough that Wendy Mitchell has to go to A&E; hard enough that when she goes back later to find the flagstone that caused it, the blood from where her face hit the pavement serves as a bright marker. Yet there is no obvious hazard.

Then, another day, another fall. And another. The year before, she had completed the three peaks challenge; now she finds she must give up running. Then, after a couple of unsafe incidents on the road, driving. Parts of herself crumbling, or, one day, when she looks up from her desk at work and finds she has no idea what she’s doing there, dropping so fast it’s like “ripping a plaster away”. When she finally gets an official diagnosis it’s as though she already knows: early-onset Alzheimer’s. She is 58.

There is still a person in there, forgetful, yes, confused, often, but still in need of love, conversation and laughter

Related: Wendy Mitchell on her extraordinary Alzheimer’s memoir


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".