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'The nurses are stealing the duvets!' - why paranoia kicks i - Carers UK Forum

'The nurses are stealing the duvets!' - why paranoia kicks i

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Hi, just reading a very interesting book (yup, another one!) called The Examined Life, which is a memoir of a psychoanalyst, and some of the patients he's encountered.

He's put forward a possible reason why some patients develop paranoia. Paraphrasing, he argues that what they really fear is the utter indifference of the universe, and everyone in it, to their existence. So they would rather believe 'they're out to get me!' than that no one thinks about them in the first place.

He points out that the elderly fear being 'ignored' so in that sense, believing that the nurses are stealing the duvets (or whatever!) is preferable - at least the thieving nurses know he still exists to have possessions....

No idea whether his thesis makes sense, but there you go - food for thought. (Feel free to disagree!)
Makes complete sense to me.

I believed every time my bosses left the office that they were talking about me and how terrible I was at my job. No amount of 'being reasonable' in my thinking would sway me.
When my father was in hospital with dementia he told me a young staff nurse ( he named her ) had stolen £100 from him.
That would have been difficult as he only had about £5 in the hospital and it was there.
I had a word with the senior nurse and for belt and braces I had a word with the matron who was in charge of that ward who I met on the way to the car park but she did not visit it every day.
I said I would notify the sister as the matron was not working the next day but she told me not to worry as it would be noted on Dad's file and she said she could not think of any nurse on that ward who had not been accused of theft at some point so the relatives would be contacted before they would even investigate the matter.


Brian
My mum has the beginnings of dementia (not yet diagnosed, but I am in no doubt) and she has started to accuse "them" of stealing from her although she lives alone. Image
I think its because her memory is going and she can no longer remember where she put things, or that she slung something out some time ago, or even that someone else had this and not her. So in her mind - she cant find something, ergo it must be stolen Image
It does seem to be a very common trait with people who have dementia.
Crocus, yes that does seem the obvious explanation - can't find something, can't remember where they put it, therefore it's been nicked (because otherwise they have to face the grim possibility they are losing their memory and their minds....)

Brian - mind you, if there WERE any thieving nurses it's a great place to steal from, as it would be automatically put down as dementia/paranoia!!

Conspiracy theorists do interest me, as in a way, they are locked in their own internal world - you can't argue them out of it logically, as they have an answer for everything.

Just where conspiracy theory segues into actual paranoia I don't know. My mum (probably schizo, probably bipolar - never diagnosed formally)(she was just 'nutty'!) definitely though people were spying on her and that 'something was going on' - arguing with her would have been pointless - we would have been 'manipulated' by those spying on her!

I'm reminded of the old joke: Doctor to patient 'Good news, Mr Smith. Your're not paranoid. They are really are out to get you'!
Oddly enough, my mum accused me of stealing her duvet covers a while back; I kid you not.
It all started when I hung my washing out. I then helped mum do her 'trough' gardening. The next day she wanted to know were her duvet covers were; they'd disappeared from the washing line.
I was staying overnight at my parents, and used old duvet covers my dad had given me. I explained that I'd done my washing the day before and they were in my room.
I found her later stripping my bed. She didn't like people stealing from her, as she hugged them to her chest. This went on for ages.
I don't think it was paranoia, it was simple, not so simple, confusion. And me 'taking over' the role she'd always had. She was defending herself; if that makes any sense.
The duvets meant so much to her that I solved the problem by going to a charity shop and buying my own.
Did I do this out of great compassion for my mother. NAH!!!
I just got fed up of stripping my bedding daily to give to her (I'm rubbish at removing/replacing duvets) I thought it would be easier all round.
She got to keep her precious bedding, and I got to not strip the blasted things, and then wrestle putting it on again at night. And I liked the patterns on my charity shop bedding better too!

My fave head shrinker joke:

Doctor, doctor, my uncle thinks he's a chicken.

Then send him to a shrink immediately.

We can't do that..... we need the eggs.