Like any traumatic change, acceptance is at the end. Whether the change is due to loss of income, illness, or a job change, a point comes when the new way of life is accepted.
This last stage of dealing with mental illness comes when you realize there is a problem and it is not the end of the world. Something has changed for your loved one AND for you. Once at this stage, you can begin to acknowledge that your family member is ill.
Acknowledgment of mental illness is not giving up. Like other major illnesses, mental illnesses can be treated with medication, therapeutic assistance, and a network of support. You are an important pillar in that network of support.
The stages of dealing with mental illness in the family are not easy. For some it is a very long process. There will be many ups and downs. Even after reaching the stage of acceptance, you may slip back to a former stage such as denial or changing emotions. Once you’ve reached this point, though, it will be easier to work your way back to acceptance.
Acceptance means you are coming to terms with the validity of the illness. Acceptance means recognizing that your loved one will not be the same as before the illness. Acceptance means you can be part of the network of support. Acceptance means hope.
Still, if you set your heart on God
and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy (Job 11:13-19 MSG)