BringChange2Mind

August 22, 2010

Acceptance

Filed under: Youth — Tags: , , , , , — Linea @ 4:56 pm

Building off of my last post, “What’s Going on Here?!” -The Diagnosis Story, I want to talk about the next step: Acceptance.

In my experience, the next step after the diagnosis is, “No no no no no no no!” It is the three year old rolling on the floor screaming, “I don’t want this!” “Make it go away!” As a person over sixteen however, we eventually have to pick ourselves up and go on with our day.

We cannot sulk forever, nor can we scream and kick for years, but unfortunately for many (myself included) we do this anyway. For me, screaming and kicking was drinking, partying and drugs. For me, it was self-harm and anger. I tried to accept the fact that this was something that would be a part of me (not all of me) for the entirety of my life. At nineteen years old I had a lot of life to live, which felt to me like hundreds of years of dealing with this burden.

I think one thing that might have been helpful for me was a list of things to accept, or at the very least, begin to think about accepting. I don’t know if I would have accepted these at first, but had I known what to plan for it may not have felt so confusing, endless, and terrifying.

Here are the things I would have told myself to accept:Photo by Linea

  • Accept the fact that this is a part of you, but not you. This one feels impossible, but in the end it is the most important thing to come to terms with. Say, “I have (insert diagnosis here). It is there. I cannot force it to go away. We must learn to live together in harmony because it is a piece of my body that I cannot remove.”
  • Accept the fact that you have to take care of yourself. If you take care of yourself you can begin to treat this and though it will not go away, it can start to feel better. It might even be something you forget about from time to time.
  • Accept the fact that you might have to take medication. Your brain has chemicals that you cannot control by thinking. Read brain science books. Learn what is really happening in there.
  • Accept that if you take medication you may have to adjust it once, twice, or constantly. This is one I wasn’t told, and am therefore still coming to terms with. I had the right cocktail, but it didn’t work forever. Now I have to accept that I must keep working and experimenting to find the right balance again.
  • Accept that not everyone gets it. Sad I know, but some people just don’t know what depression is or OCD or bipolar or schizoaffective disorder or borderline personality disorder or any number of other mental health disorders. Some people just don’t understand why you have a hard time leaving your apartment or why you have to wash your hands another time. But coming from the optimist I try to be, I think in the end everyone wants to understand and care, even if they don’t know how. And that is something they have to accept.
  • Accept that eventually you may have to tell people. You may even have to feign courage and go for it, because, whether you want it or not, it is a part of you. It does affect your life. It does affect your relationships. This part is hard, it sucks, but you have to accept it.

This is my list of things I wish people had told me. Maybe I wish it because I am a detail-oriented, type A, “plan your life” kind of person, or maybe it is just helpful for me to think about the bigger picture. You do not have to accept all of these things at once, and I suppose you don’t have to accept all of them ever, but I have to tell you from experience, had I not accepted these, or at least thought them through, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What are other things we can accept? Please help to start a conversation by writing some of the things you find important to accept in the comments section.

Next time…Self Advocacy!

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10 Comments »

  1. I have to accept the fact that the “old me” is gone forever, that I can’t move forward looking back, that I have a marvelous opportunity to redefine a new me with new hopes and goals consistent with my new reality. Life is different, but no less rewarding. This detour through mental illness has given me as much or more than it has taken away.

    Comment by Don Gummow — August 22, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  2. I have to accept that the dreams I dreamed for my life are now gone. I cannot work anymore, which was hard to accept. It makes life very difficult for me and my husband. I have to accept that I will probably never have the family that I wanted. I cannot even do volunteer work on a limited basis, because I will get in trouble. I am lost. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I was diagnosed 15 years ago, and I have tried to start over again, and again, and again…..I wish I was diagnosed when I was younger…maybe my life would be different….I feel so old and tired. I take my meds, change my meds, go to therapy. I just exist. I have fears, and I don’t feel free. I feel like I’m in a tiny box, and I am screaming, but nobody can hear me.

    Comment by Teresa — August 22, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

    • Dear Teresa,

      The new life you are experiencing definetely is probably the one you had never chosen, at least I would never do it.
      May be for you does not mean anything that others can understand, accept and love you as you are (but, there are a lot of…). The fact of sharing same illness and situation about living in a body within bars makes you to belong to a big family of extraordinary people who have learned to live the same ups and downs like you that not only survive but have learned in a hard way to write a page in history (their own lives)
      That life has taught them to be more compasionate, caring and humble. Learning to live one day each day and letting life choose its path.
      I invite you to jump your tiny box with our company. I tell you, YOU ARE WORTHY and you deserve a good life.

      My facebook is: Mirentxu Godoy, I live in Venezuela and my world was upside down a year ago with my son{s diagnosis, I was also diagnosed bipolar Type 2 afeter that.
      Please contact me without any hesitation, for me has been very tough but together our journey can be much better.
      With apprecation
      Miren

      Comment by Miren Godoy — August 27, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

      • Dear Miren,

        Thank you for your words of kindness. Actually, I think I was just having a really bad day, because my husband is also having some mood issues. He should be fine. Mine is something that I have to regulate for life. I was diagnosed 15 years ago, and I’ve had many ups and downs (so to speak). I have come to the point that I cannot work, and it’s true that I have to find a new path. I do, thankfully have a loving husband, family and friends. I also have a wonderful psychiatrist, who has been with me from my diagnosis and a kind therapist. As you know, some days are more difficult than others. Knowing all of us with mental illness have this forum to share with each other really helps me to feel like I’m not alone in my experiences. Even when you have support, nobody can really understand fully how it feels to have the illness, unless they live with it. Just as nobody can fully understand being someone who loves a person with mental illness unless they have that experience. Together, I feel we can be really supportive of one another. I know it helps me to know people like you are out there supporting me.

        I’m not on facebook, but we can stay in touch by e-mail, if you would like.

        Thank you so very much.

        Teresa

        Comment by Teresa — September 5, 2010 @ 12:46 am

  3. I have to accept that I do have to reveal my bipolar to people in relationships, and that that may alter or end our relationship. I need to remind myself that if that happens, if that person doesn’t want to be involved with somebody with mental illness, then the relationship was really not meant to be.As a baker I equate , “telling” to sifting confectionary sugar. Most of the sugar goes through the sifter just fine, with no complaints, but some lumps just don’t make it. It helps me to think of people I lose when telliing as the lumps…..they just don’t make it through the sifter.I am happy to report that most of my , “telling” has gone well- got a big Tell coming up …….just hoping for good timing and good results. We shall see.

    Comment by Laurie K. Stewart — August 23, 2010 @ 6:00 am

  4. Acceptance is a process and has ebbs and flows but, in my opinion, it is always a goal and can be incredibly healing. As Don noted, any illness, particularly mental illness, changes one’s reality but not necessarily for the worst. Of course I wish/pray/hope that my beautiful daughter did not have bipolar disorder but I also know that I cannot change this and that there has been positive impact in our lives because of this journey. I was told by a wise colleague when she was in the worst of the initial stages of this illness, “This will provide an opportunity for a deeper and more honest life with each other than you could ever have imagined.” He also encouraged us to participate in family counseling, which was extremely beneficial. I also know that the experiences are very different for each person. We have heard from people who said that Linea was “lucky” to have not been diagnosed until she was in her late teens rather than early childhood. We have also heard from people who said she was “lucky” to have been diagnosed in her teens rather than to have struggled for years without a diagnosis or treatment. I don’t think she is “lucky” in having this illness and for everyone it is a struggle and one demanding upmost bravery and courage. But she is “lucky”(and therefore so am I)to have the resources, support and treatment to be able to manage her bipolar. Acceptance, for me at least, is a place of peace. I was priviledged to hear a young man speak about his “acceptance” of the symptoms of schizophrenia. It was amazing to hear him talk about this and tell the audience that he has learned, with the help of his doctor, to “accept” the voices and the terrors that come accompany them, and then to breathe and continue moving forward with his life. Beautiful. Thank you, Linea, for this post and for your bravery in making this public. Most people, like Don, have a deep understanding of what you mean, beyond what I could ever have as your mom but not as someone with a mental illness. Many are on this journey with you, some ahead and some behind, but all part of the process of acceptance.

    Comment by Cinda — August 23, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  5. For me, it took a long time to accept my diagnosis and how it has impacted my life. Still, sometimes its difficult (if not impossible) to accept the fact that I will no longer ‘be’ the person I was prior to becoming mentally challenged.
    Even though, I know that I am still a person–just being disabled by a mental health challenge does things to you that one doesn’t never dream of. I know, thru all the ups and downs (it took about 3 years for me to accept the diagnosis) I have learned something very valuable about myself:
    I AM A STRONG, COMPASSIONATE, LOVING PERSON WHO DESERVES THE BEST THAT I CAN BE AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT.
    Acceptance does come in forms as it does in steps. Many times I have woke up and said “Nah, they (psychiatrists) does not know what they are talking about>” (that’s denying I have a mental health issue)….and “Yes, I can see why I feel the way I do.” (that’s acceptance)

    Comment by Beverly — August 25, 2010 @ 9:39 am

  6. Please is someone wants to communicate with me and my husband we create a foundation for Venezuela jined to other foundations in South America with the purpose to help people with bipolar disease and our plans in the future is helping people with mental illness in general.

    E-Mail address: miren_astelarra@hotmail.com ; gmiren@lycos.com

    web page:
    fundabipolarve.org
    blog bipolar_ve

    If you need some help or just only information or sharing write to us without hesitation.

    Besides my son and myself, also was diagnosted my youngest sister. We are learning to walk out with dignity and no stigmatization.

    Blessing

    Comment by Miren Godoy — August 27, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  7. I am a very stubborn person. From the time I was young I’ve been diagnosed shy, adjustment disorder, depression, schizoaffective disorder,and most recently bipolar disorder. I have been fortunate to have a loving family, friends, doctors and therapists. However, acceptance does not come easy. I had career goals, personal goals family goals etc. Now instead of becoming involved in volunteering, activism, going back to school etc. I withdraw in fear of getting too upset, ending up in the hospital, letting folks down one more time.
    I have lots to be thankful for but this frustration is still there. Two of my siblings have more issues to deal with hearing loss diabetes and OCD etc.
    SO for me the kicking and screaming phase has lasted a long time. Comparing myself to others is something I seem to do but KNOW everyone has his or her own journey. I just wish I wasn’t so apathetic. Thanks Linea you gave me quite a bit to think about.

    A gentleman in my community Steven Wampler who has cerebral palsy just completed climbing El Capitan a few inches at a time. He did this to fund a camp for physically challenged young people. http://www.wamplerfoundation.org/
    He is an inspiration to us all.

    Comment by Susan — September 26, 2010 @ 11:07 pm

    • Thank you Susan for your comment. I apologize for not replying until now. You are advocating by just writing a comment and though you may feel that you are withdrawing you are actually speaking out with your honest truth and that inspires me, and I’m sure many others, to continue to do so myself. I don’t feel you are apathetic at all, you are reading, your are learning, you are engaging people in important conversations right here. Thank you.

      Comment by BringChange2Mind — October 21, 2010 @ 4:25 pm


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