Denial to Acceptance

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Denial to Acceptance
The 5 Stages – by Colleen Sullivan
Most individuals faced with a long term mental illness like bipolar disorder
are at first in a state of denial. Some remain in that state for a short time
and move on, some remain in that state for a longer period of time before moving
on, and some never leave the state of denial. Each person handles the diagnosis
differently. Most commonly a person goes through five distinct stages on the way
to final acceptance These were adapted from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, ‘On Death and
Dying’
You may not experience these stages in one order. You may go through some of
the stages more than once. Sometimes an event will trigger you to experience one
of these stages again. The five stages are:
1. Denial – The “No, not me” stage.
This stage is filled with disbelief and denial. You think the doctor has to
be wrong, that there is no way you have a mental illness, especially not one you
will have for the rest of your life.
2.Anger/Resentment – The “Why me?” stage.
Anger at the situation, perhaps anger at the person you perceive as
triggering your episode. Anger at the doctor and the hospital for their audacity
in labelliing you with a mental illness. Perhaps anger with yourself for things
you have done that you think may have “brought on” the episode of bipolar
disorder. Anger that it is you who has been afflicted, when it could so easily
have been someone else.
3. Bargaining – The “If I do this, you�ll do that” stage.
You try to negotiate to change the situation. If you think it was triggered
by a relationship, for example, you swear that you will be better, and it won’t
ever happen again, if you just don’t have to have this illness. You bargain that
you will give up bad habits in exchange for wellness “I will quit drinking,
smoking etc. if only the bipolar disorder goes away.
4. Depression- The “It’s really happened” stage.
You realize the situation isn�t going to change. Perhaps you have had another
episode. Perhaps you stopped taking your medication, only to discover that you
became ill again. I finally begins to set in, and you ponder what this disorder
is going to do to your life as you had known and accepted it. This is a stage of
preparedness fo acceptance, and finally one day it is reached..
5. Acceptance – The “I do have Bipolar Disorder” stage.
At this stage you accept that you have the illness, and that you will have to
have treatment for the rest of your life. Perhaps now you will seek support from
others with bipolar disorder. You take your medication and see your doctor
regularly, realizing you need both to stay well.
Denial to AcceptanceThe 5 Stages – by Colleen SullivanMost individuals faced with a long term mental illness like bipolar disorder
are at first in a state of denial. Some remain in that state for a short time
and move on, some remain in that state for a longer period of time before moving
on, and some never leave the state of denial. Each person handles the diagnosis
differently. Most commonly a person goes through five distinct stages on the way
to final acceptance These were adapted from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, ‘On Death and
Dying’You may not experience these stages in one order. You may go through some of
the stages more than once. Sometimes an event will trigger you to experience one
of these stages again. The five stages are:1. Denial – The “No, not me” stage. This stage is filled with disbelief and denial. You think the doctor has to
be wrong, that there is no way you have a mental illness, especially not one you
will have for the rest of your life.2.Anger/Resentment – The “Why me?” stage. Anger at the situation, perhaps anger at the person you perceive as
triggering your episode. Anger at the doctor and the hospital for their audacity
in labelliing you with a mental illness. Perhaps anger with yourself for things
you have done that you think may have “brought on” the episode of bipolar
disorder. Anger that it is you who has been afflicted, when it could so easily
have been someone else.3. Bargaining – The “If I do this, you�ll do that” stage. You try to negotiate to change the situation. If you think it was triggered
by a relationship, for example, you swear that you will be better, and it won’t
ever happen again, if you just don’t have to have this illness. You bargain that
you will give up bad habits in exchange for wellness “I will quit drinking,
smoking etc. if only the bipolar disorder goes away.4. Depression- The “It’s really happened” stage.You realize the situation isn�t going to change. Perhaps you have had another
episode. Perhaps you stopped taking your medication, only to discover that you
became ill again. I finally begins to set in, and you ponder what this disorder
is going to do to your life as you had known and accepted it. This is a stage of
preparedness fo acceptance, and finally one day it is reached..5. Acceptance – The “I do have Bipolar Disorder” stage. At this stage you accept that you have the illness, and that you will have to
have treatment for the rest of your life. Perhaps now you will seek support from
others with bipolar disorder. You take your medication and see your doctor
regularly, realizing you need both to stay well.
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� 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 2010, 2011,
2012, 2013, 2014
Owners:  Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff)
Founder: 
Colleen Sullivan
Email Us at
Bipolar World
About Us 
Add a Link 
Advance Directives 
Alternative Treatments 
Ask the Doctor  
Ask
Dr. Phelps about Bipolar Disorder  
Ask The Doctor/Dr. Phelps’ Topic Archives 
Awards 
Benny the Bipolar Puppy 
Bipolar Chat 
Bipolar Children 
Bipolar Disorder News 
Bipolar Help Contract 
Bipolar World Forums 
Book
Reviews 
Bookstore  BP
& Other mental Illness  
Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval  
Community Support  
Contact Us 
The Continuum of Mania and Depression  
Coping  
Criteria   
Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World
Health
Disabilities, 
DSMV-IV  
Dual Diagnosis 
eGroups 
Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery,
Memorials 
Family Members  
Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment 
Greeting Cards  History
of Mental Illness 
Indigo 
Job and School 
Links   
Medications  
Medication and Weight Gain   
News of the Day 
Parent Chat 
Pay for Meds  Personal
Stories  Self
Help 
Self Injury 
Significant Others 
Stigma and Mental Health Law 
Storm’s Column 
Suicide!!! 
The Suicide Wall 
Table of Contents 
Treatments 
Treatment Compliance 
US Disability  Veteran’s
Chat 
What’s New?