While trying to cope with serious illness in my family, I discovered that it was often my own negative thoughts that hurt me the most. After all, there was no reason to imprison myself. If I fell, I got up and subsequently, was being stronger than someone who has never done so. But, I had trouble with the fact that nothing would ever return to the way it had been before schizophrenia and then Alzheimer’s disease affected members of my family. The usual question, ‘why my family?’ did not help one iota. I had to accept the fact that each ending was really a new beginning to the next phase of my life. So, what have I learned? I have learned to expect less after my life failed to give me what I wanted. I had to expect less and enjoy more.
There were times when I was angry and I knew that I had to learn to control anger in my everyday life before it destroyed me. I also had to learn the meaning of acceptance; of accepting what came my way and then deal with it in any way that worked for me. I tended to blame others for my troubles. I am ashamed to say that at times, I even blamed my son for daring to contract something as difficult to handle as schizophrenia. I blamed modern medicine for failing to help sufficiently. In fact, I blamed the whole world. Somewhere deep inside of me, I knew that the extent to which I could achieve my dreams depended on the extent to which I took responsibility for my life. Blaming others for what I was going through was like giving them power over my life. This process took a long time, but eventually, I realized that I could be as happy as I wanted to be so I fought for happiness, built new relationships and reinvented my lifestyle. It helped a bit.