Change is not easy.
I am realizing that it has been nearly six months since I was formally diagnosed. I had made an agreement with my rheumatologist, that she would give me about 5 months to try all the "natural healing" I wanted, and then I would come back and visit her. If "my way" wasn't working, then I would reconsider taking the drugs or the cortisone injections. I felt a wave of guilt and disappointment in myself when I called and cancelled the appointment last month. The thing is, my way of doing things hasn't cured me. I'm not better. I'm exactly the same as I was six months ago.
The truth is, I couldn't stand to tell my doctor that after all this time, I haven't found my cure. I couldn't bear to see the lack of surprise on her face.
Then in my Health Psychology class, my professor, in poetic timing, started talking about the Stages of Change model.
Like I have said before, this is a journey. It's not an overnight event. (Evidently, it's not a six month event either.) I go through days where I feel highly inspired and motivated and capable. I go through phases of utter hopelessness and depression. There are times when I feel like I'm too busy with the demands of school and work to even think about my health. Other times I feel like I am just looking for reasons to stay busy so that I don't have to face the task ahead of me.
In all honesty, my number one coping mechanism so far has been to ignore the problem. Mentally escape it and pretend it's not there. Sometimes it's the only thing that helps, even if it is temporary. It has been really hard not knowing what the right thing to do is. I wish someone had the answer: Just do ______ and all will be well again.
I make up hundreds of excuses, like I can't afford to get acupuncture every week for example. Well that is true right now. But there are the small little changes that don't cost a thing, that only depend on me. And those are the ones that scare me the most. I talk about meditation, I believe it, I preach it and yet I haven't been doing it!
Making big lifestyle changes involve a large psychological process of contemplation preparation before even acting on it. Failure ("relapse") is a part of the process. It doesn't mean I have failed. I can keep trying, and I will. I still believe in my heart that I will not always live with this pain. I see myself healing. I guess when I am truly ready, I will.