The little statement “It is what it is” can be a really powerful statement. It helped me to accept that I cannot control everything but I can still choose to take action. It let me know that I am not responsible for everything and therefore I cannot change everything. This statement does not mean that you should be ambivalent or give up easily, but when there is something you cannot control or change then initial acceptance is an option. Following acceptance, there are often opportunities to advocate for change or to take action. When you think about a statement like “someone in my family has mental illness” that is a fact (it is what it is) so accept the fact and do whatever you can to adapt and take action so that you can deal with the fact. This may be getting educated about mental illness, arranging additional support, taking a break, or doing anything that will help you to deal with the situation.
I learned to accept it was the illness causing the frightening symptoms, not the person. When I was able to look at the symptoms of the illness and my daughter as separate entities, I was much better able to handle the situation and show empathy instead of anger. This illness was not my daughter; it was just an unwelcome addition that I had to learn to handle. What had become a miserable struggle with constant conflict, was replaced with an educational experience that changed my life and that of my daughter. Blaming bad behavior initially, caused frustration and anger which made the situation worse and was so unfair. Realizing my daughter had no control over the symptoms of mental illness allowed me to see the situation more clearly and use compassion and empathy to heal our relationship.