Empathy and unconditional love helped me to understand and accept mental illness. Life was hell for a while but when I stopped to think what my daughter was experiencing; I saw things in a whole new light. I saw the truth. It was not her choice to get ill, her life is more messed up than mine, and I know she suffered a lot of fear, confusion, and loss of identity. She needed my unconditional love and empathy, not anger and disparagement. It took some time but when I convinced her that I was on her side in battling mental illness, our relationship improved greatly.