6 May 2021

I used to associate acceptance with saying yes to an invitation to a party.

In the past few years, and especially in the last year many people including mental health professionals and friends and family have told me that I need to accept what has happened to me and move on.

Now we are all advised that to be mentally healthy we need to accept we have an illness, accept the way things are, accept pain and accept what we have lost and experienced.

Often acceptance may change over time and be appropriate to the current life-stage of the person concerned. It may mean not being in denial but accepting yourself and not hating yourself so you become more open to doing the things that will help. This can be hard to achieve. I denied I had bipolar for 16 years. I do not think I have ever 100% accepted my label but I do not hate myself and never did.

After more episodes or maybe a traumatic episode some people acknowledge and are prepared to accept that they have mental illness. This is often a period of intense loss of one’s identity and one's previous life. There are other times that we are encouraged to have acceptance, when we have death of loved one, physical illness and or disability, employment struggles, relationship breakdown and other issues or any other traumatic experience.

I think acceptance can happen haphazardly and not in a straight line It is a process that may not work for everyone. I know the hardest part has been accepting that I would not have the life I had again. I think acknowledging the loss and recognising the struggle I was having and ignoring those who said I had to move on helped me. I think how one defines acceptance in relation to one’s mental health is important.

I am interested in what acceptance means to you. I don’t mean the definition used psychologically but how you use/understand the word.

Do you the find the concept of acceptance, helpful or unhelpful to you or is it something you tr,y but struggle with at times?


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