Alzheimer’s. “It scares me terribly to see my father get worse and worse and not to know if this terrible disease will happen to me. It sometimes feels like my life is over.” Katie invites her to consider if it’s really true that her father has Alzheimer’s. The questioning is heavy slogging at first, but using The Work, Anna moves from tears to laughter in fifteen minutes. “You get really scared,” Katie says, “because you see an image of him dying young, and then you see an image of you dying young because you have the gene. Is it Alzheimer’s that’s causing your dementia, or is it the movie you’re watching?” “It’s the movie,” Anna says. Next Katie guides Anna into worst-case scenarios, ones that she has been innocently frightening herself with, where a physician delivers a devastating diagnosis. Once Anna has questioned her thoughts, Katie says, the only one in the room who would be upset would be the doctor.
Byron Katie: So, Anna, from Sweden. Anna: Hi, Katie. Hi, Anna. Hi. So, thank you for your email and would you please read it. Sure. Dear Katie, thank you for bringing The Work out in the world. It has helped me greatly. This part year, there is an issue I have had trouble working through. Here is it, coming from my scared thoughts. My father is in his early 60s and has gotten a rare kind of Alzheimer’s, or frontal-lobe dementia. The doctors are not sure yet of which diagnosis it will be. If it is Alzheimer’s, then there is a medication that can slow down the process. If it is frontal-lobe dementia, the process will be more aggressive, leading to loss of speech and apathy. Eventually, the body breaks down and the doctors do nothing to support it. You die… Sorry. You die in a quite young age. Frontal-lobe dementia is caused by a mutated gene and there is a risk that I have it and will suffer the same fate. It scares me terribly to have to see my father getting worse and worse and to not know if this terrible disease will happen to me. I get thoughts of not having children on my own and have trouble functioning through the day due to anxiety, heavy thoughts and fear. It can feel like my life is over. Please help. Love, Anna. Thank you. Thank you, Anna. So, the Worksheet for me would be, “I’m scared. I’m frightened because my father has Alzheimer’s.” Yes. “My father is getting worse and worse.” Yes. So, I would go to, “My father has Alzheimer’s.” Is it true? So, we pull that one from statement 1. So, “Your father has Alzheimer’s.” Is it true? I don’t know. “Your father has Alzheimer’s.” Just contemplate it. No matter what the doctors say, can you absolutely know that it’s true? That “he has Alzheimer’s.” Yeah. Like, and sometime the way that I’m looking at him and his soul, you know, he’s laughing and we’re telling jokes to each other. And he’s still there, you know? Yes. I’m thinking about, like, before he used to be a yellow flower and now he is purple. Yeah. Yeah. But… So, let’s go back to the inquiry. Because when you’re… That’s OK! It’s so good for all of us to see, because the mind really wants to go into a whole other thing and The Work stops working the moment we stop asking the questions. We’re doing something else. We’re no longer doing inquiry. So, “your father has Alzheimer’s.” Just noticing all those thoughts, they’re not right or wrong, and just come back to the question: Can you absolutely know that it’s true: “He has Alzheimer’s.” And you’re sitting there and you’re seeing him as this purple flower. Can you absolutely know, the way he looks to you, not like a purple flower, but the one; the him you described and you were seeing. Can you absolutely know that it’s true: “He has Alzheimer’s”? No. Good. Now, those of you who are new to The Work, the answer to first two questions is either yes or no. And you just experience and just trust and move on to the next question, which is, notice in that situation, as you’re looking at him, notice how you react. What happens in your head when you think the thought, “He has Alzheimer’s.” And you’re looking at him. You see him? Is he sitting down? Is that where you see him? Yeah. He’s sitting down. Is he in the living room? Is he in the kitchen? Where is he? He’s sitting on the couch watching television. OK. He’s sitting on the couch watching television. You see him clearly. Yeah. Now, you see him. How do you react when you think the thought: “He has Alzheimer’s”? What happens? Notice your head. It goes into images of past and future. Yeah. I get really scared and… You get really scared because you see an image of him with dementia. Yeah. You get an image of him dying young. Yes. Then you get an image of you dying young, because you have the gene. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Now, see him. Notice all the emotions that happen as you’re witnessing this movie. This movie of past and future. You see it? So, is it your father? Is it Alzheimer’s that’s causing your dementia? Or is it the movie you’re watching? No, it’s the movie, Katie. Completely. Your father’s kicked back watching television. And there you are, crazed with worry, giving yourself no children in the future. That’s there too. Yeah. And having the powers to give my father Alzheimer’s. Yes. Yes. Which is what you’re giving him. You’re giving him Alzheimer’s. It’s just that that’s not your father. Yeah. That’s the father of your imagination that you’re giving Alzheimer’s to. Your real father is right there in front of you. He’s OK. Can I ask something? Like what my mind wants to do now? It’s sitting in the doctor’s office and receiving the diagnosis that will be in a couple of weeks, I think. Is it the same thing? Exactly the same thing. You could write a Worksheet from what you imagine the worst, sitting in front of the doctor, and you get that terrible news, and imagine how you’re gonna react, which isn’t hard to do. You’ve been practicing. I do it every day. And you fill in a Worksheet from that position. Yeah. What you’re thinking, believing in that doctor’s office. Yeah. And then when you get to the doctor’s office, you’ll be shocked. Yeah. The only person in the room that would be upset would probably be the doctor. Yeah. Yeah. And my dad is not upset at all. From what I see. From my… But if you’re really sensitive, it could be he’s afraid to say anything to you; that he’s protecting you. So, when you get free, he’s free too. You can talk. You can laugh. You can enjoy each other a whole other level. Without the fear. Yeah. So, “My father has Alzheimer’s.” Look at him. Who would you be, look at him, he’s watching television. Who would you be without the thought, “He has Alzheimer’s”? Look at him. Look at the real him. He’s watching television. I’m just so happy to see him, you know? Yeah. Yeah. To see him Alzheimer’s-free. Yeah. It’s been awhile. He’s doing what he wants. Yeah. So now, look at your father in the doctor’s office and the doctor tells you he has Alzheimer’s. OK? Yeah. No, look at your father. Is he sitting down on the table? Is he sitting in a chair? Where is he? He’s sitting in chair in front of a desk and I’m sitting next to him. OK. And you see the doctor, and he says: You have Alzheimer’s. Yeah. Now, look at your father without the thought, “He has Alzheimer’s.” He’s just sitting there waiting for the doctor to do her thing. Yeah. Yeah. Which is very wise. And you can follow the simple direction and let everything take its course. Yeah. Now look at your father in the worst condition you’ve imagined. What was it? It was… Apathy. Apathy. OK, so where is your father in your mind’s eye when you’re just so freaked out? He’s lying in a hospital bed. He’s lying in a hospital bed. Describe it. It’s in his care center, in his room, in the hospital bed there. And is he lying down? He’s lying down and he became really thin and… He became? Thin. Thin, like skinny. OK. He’s really thin. Yeah and he; I can’t reach him. And I can’t reach him, like he’s… OK. He’s just not there. OK. So, who would you be without the thought, “He has apathy. He’s not there.” Look at your father. Yeah. Look at him. I’m there with my father. Completely. Yeah. Like, he can be whatever he is. You know? In the moment. And you know that’s how he loved me. Yes! Without condition. Yeah. And I still have this condition, like what I want and need from him as a father. And when you look at the Worksheet and you look at: I need… You know, that 4th statement on the Worksheet. And you look at what you need to be happy, with or without Alzheimer’s. With or without; in that apathy, you have what you need. Yeah. Everything you need. It’s there. Look at you. You have your clothes on. He has care. There he is. He’s your father. Yeah. Without your story, what a beautiful world and the affection and the care you’re able to give, and the love. Nothing to stop you. So, here’s what I filled in on the Worksheet through your words as closely as I could. So, for statement 2, “I want my father’s Alzheimer’s to stop progressing.” “I want my father to be healthy, happy, and lucid.” Yeah. And statement 3: “My father’s disease should stop progressing.” “His disease shouldn’t be passed on to me.” Yeah. 4. What do I need to be happy? What do you need to be happy? “I need this fears to go away.” “I need my Alzheimer’s to stop being; I need my Alzheimer’s to stop being such a threat.” The Alzheimer’s that you don’t have either. Yeah. I forget that. And 5: “My father is unreliable, getting worse, and has passed this gene on to me.” I just question every concept I’m reading here. 6, “I don’t ever want to have Alzheimer’s. I don’t ever want to have dementia. I don’t ever want to see my father becoming worse and worse.” So, just sit in that situation at either place, or both. I would do both Worksheets and set yourself free so that you can have a happy life. And you know, if I have Alzheimer’s or dementia, any of that. That’s Stephen’s problem. That’s definitely not mine. Yeah. So, it’s definitely not mine that I know of. But I’m doing my Work and that last caller is preventive medicine. You know: my prescription for happiness. And that’s the medicine I take. And that’s the medicine I take first. So, sweetheart, thank you for your beautiful, beautiful, beautiful daughterness and all that love in your heart. And hugs to your dad that brought you to us. Thank you. Bye-bye.