As a carer of someone suffering mental health problems for over 10 years and counting, I have gained quite a lot of knowledge on my carers journey. The journey has been long and hard, but by far the journey is not over.
On my travels I have found that I am happy to share many things with other carers out there and here is something that I have noticed in my time as a carer.
This is something that carers are often quite good at, but on the other hand something carers can also struggle with. I hope this particular blog post lays down a path and some signs which other carers can at least think about . Here are some questions this blog post tries to answer.
1. What is Acceptance?
2. How can a carer who is caring for someone suffering mental health difficulties be able to make use of acceptance?
3. Why are carers good at acceptance and what makes acceptance so difficult for many other carers?
1. What is Acceptance?
I am sure if you are a carer you probably get what I mean about acceptance, but if you are not so sure then I am happy to explain.
Acceptance to me is when you finally realize the situation you are in, you may accept someones condition, you might accept your role and you may accept that you are in for a tough journey.
However acceptance is by no means something that is weak, you as a carer could accept that you will not give up, you can accept support or accept that you wish not to provide any care or support.
Without a doubt there will come a time when a carer will need to accept many things in their caring role. I guess the most difficult period for acceptance is when you know that you can do no more for your situation, which is something many carers fear.
I am not a master in explaining the meaning of acceptance, I feel I am just laying down the line as I understand it. Sometimes a carer will have acceptance forced or suggested upon themselves, while other carers will ask for acceptance, but the word “acceptance” is very important in a carers world or journey.
One of the most important uses of acceptance for carers is when they have realise that they have started their role as a carer and that they seek to find knowledge on what a carer really is. A carer will then look to modify time spent on their own interests and will give up things in order to provide care.
Acceptance I find is about recieving things, recieving how the situation in your role will pan out. Perhaps not being able to change too many things and just take the cards you are dealt with for the present.
2. How can Mental Health carers make use of acceptance?
There is no easy way to tell when the time is right to to accept things, each carer has their own strength and weaknesses, each carer has their own limits or reasons for doing things. I do not want to stray into the area where I say to someone that you are caring wrong and that another carer is doing things right. We all know the time when we have to accept things in our caring role.
The most important thing I feel is to stop and think about your situation from time to time and perhaps think in your mind, what is it I have to accept? What can I sacrifice or what should I make use of?
I feel that sometimes if we as carers do our caring role automatically without much thought or use of our minds about our caring role, then we have little idea on where we are heading. Sometimes acceptance can be very painful, the time when a carer feels they need to stand back from providing care is hard to deal with. However us carers need to think with our minds that there are things to accept, but just knowing when the time is right.
Make no mistake about it, no one is perfect and this goes for carers who are not trained in a carer role. Providing gradual care may be thrown at a family member or friend before the person has much time to react.
I expect mental health carers to make many mistakes along the way, but that is ok, you are learning and you have to accept this. Do not feel gulity of providing care and do not feel guilty on second guessing things since caring is a very emotional role.
A carer can make use of acceptance as the following.
- Just being there
- Pausing for thought and thinking things through
- Using acceptance to change their actions
- Not having to waste too much energy fighting something or our loved one
- Dealing with emotional pain
- Getting ready to stand back from caring
With acceptance, I find that it helps me deal with pain. especially emotional pain. Sometimes no one tells you this useful skill, but its one of the most important tools a carer can use and there are many skills and tools that I will share with other carers when the time comes.
Sometimes acceptance will not result in the same conclusion as with other carers. Plus the time for acceptance will also be different from other carers. It is up to you when you accept things in the time of your journey.
3. Why are carers good at acceptance
A caring role “especially within mental health” will need someone who is ready to accept things, usually acceptance brings patience, but this is not always the case.
A carer may find themselves sitting alone at times thinking things through, they may question why things are happening this way and what could the do about it. Sometimes acceptance is just down to the persons own character traits, but the more someone provides care, the more they begin to accept things.
Sometimes acceptance can be a bad thing, a carer should never accept to be treated badly or feel that they are worthless. Yet carers will slowly begin to use acceptance to heal and continue to provide care.
4. What makes acceptance so difficult for many other carers?
I have thought about this and to be honest such an issue is not just with carers, it can be for anyone. The thing is, acceptance can heavily depend on the situation.
Think of it this way, imagine someone you have known all your life suddenly change emotionally. As if they distance themselves away from you, just as if you do not know them anymore.
They cut off links or they do not understand you, they blame you or cannot even communicate as they use to.
You begin to wonder if they loved you as they used to, but now your loved one seems to be a completely different person. How far can you accept this? How much will you fight just to bring things back to the way they were before.
Sometimes the hardest blow for carers is when they refuse to accept the situation and will sacrifice themselves to provide care, this is a painful thing us carers to endure and it may cross our minds each day. Perhaps acceptance can be a prison or a door that can set a carer free. I just hope I have given some carers food for thought.