Person embraces smaller versions of themselves in denial

Acceptance is What Makes Change Happen

Ok, so what would life be like if we practiced acceptance instead of pushing away or fighting it? This morning as I began my meditation I started to reflect on when my mom was first diagnosed. I did everything in my power to ensure she had an awesome quality of life.

From attending senior activity centers with her to working out and changing her diet to a plant-based one — I really went in y'all! What I didn't do was accept the reality of the situation... My mom had early-onset Alzheimer's. That was a fact and it was progressive.

Why I couldn't accept my mom's diagnosis

I had denial surrounding her diagnosis that was encased in the thought of, "How could this be happening to us?"

I just wanted everything to go back to normal. My denial took many forms – from trying to 'fix the issue', pretending that nothing bad happened, to blaming it all on my mom's just "getting older".

I didn't know it then but that was just a form of defense mechanism also known as minimization. This was my denial disguised as acceptance.

To be honest, denial really is a powerful defense mechanism. It's one of the reasons why I was able to get through my mom's diagnosis without sinking into extreme sadness or despair. However denial is not helpful.

Avoiding the truth — or facts that are hard

When I minimized my mom's diagnosis, I was actually accepting the diagnosis, but denying how much it truly affected me.

In time I understood that what I was doing was blocking out my true emotions about what was happening. Yup - your girl turned into an escapist but denial, anger and minimization did not solve any of our problems. And if I am being honest, we all use some sort of coping mechanism in life.

Whether denying, minimizing or getting angry, these reactive responses help us make sense out of situations that are difficult. For me, I knew that I had to learn to stop avoiding and start accepting.

What acceptance means to me now

Acceptance to me today means being able to tell myself - you know what? It's okay. This is happening and it is ok.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being in denial - initially. Denial can be helpful, but accepting your truth can be so much more. It's the only way to move forward. The same is true whether you are trying to accept a new diagnosis or process something else in life that seems insurmountable.

What also becomes possible with acceptance is a lot more clarity and a release of unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Acceptance enables change... Genuine change!

Acceptance does not mean you stop living and enjoying your life with your loved one. In fact it means the complete opposite, continue to live and enjoy life!

Continuing to do so will add richness to your life while striving for wellness as the disease progresses. Acceptance is what makes change happen.

It has taken me years to understand that but when I did, boy the change that came! My mom seemed less stressed, I felt more serene and our whole process was way more manageable.

So from one Rockstar Caregiver to the next - I'd like to encourage you all to practice acceptance. It was and is such an impactful form of self-care.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AlzheimersDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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