Change is bloody hard. Sometimes it feels downright impossible. This is especially true for positive, lasting change. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since quitting therapy with C. I keep asking myself, “did I bail for the right reasons?” Because I dedicated myself to the therapy process. I told myself I was going to make healthy changes in my brain, in my thinking, and in my behavior. And, I’m scared that by quitting I’ve just run away again, perpetuated an old habit of bailing when things start to hurt. This is difficult for me and that’s hard to admit. I’m someone who usually decides she wants something and then fights like Hell to get that something. My life has taught me tenacity and perseverance. To struggle through has been almost second nature for me but I didn’t do that with C. It’s like I have different rules for people than I do everything else.
I’m just left wondering, why is it so much harder to make the right choices when it comes to my mental health? Literally everything else, I make a choice and I am committed, for better or worse. This has admittedly colored my perspective on the process of change. I am stubbornly persistent and that’s served me well in reaching pretty much every goal I’ve ever set for myself. But the key to that is not having expectations. I never expect anything to just suddenly take hold. I know that for things to be different there has to be a process and that takes time. It takes knowing that things won’t go as planned. It requires flexibility. And not the bendy kind, though I actually will indulge that detour momentarily because it does fit.
8 months ago I was 60 or 70 pounds heavier. The doctor coded my insurance claim with the diagnosis: obese. As soon as I saw that I made a choice. That wouldn’t be me. I never looked back. Same story with school. I’ve always just decided I want a certain job or I want a certain degree and then I make it happen. I realize some people probably hate me right now. I’m making it seem easy. But that’s kind of my point. I was so ridiculously oblivious to struggle because my life was a struggle, so reaching those goals… that was nothing.
But now, I’m facing a rude awakening. If I want to see real change with my mental health it’s going to take more than just making a choice, doing some research, and changing. The change isn’t as tangible. I can’t see my brain re-wiring itself. I can’t tell when I can tolerate uncomfortable emotions with more ease. I’m just in the storm. Wishing and hoping for something about it to be sudden. Like, come on anguish, just freaking disappear already. But no, it doesn’t work that way. And realistically neither did any of the other changes I made. I just couldn’t see it in the moment because I had something tangible to hold onto, to tell me my hard work was paying off. But just because I didn’t get so caught up in the struggle didn’t mean that it wasn’t there. It definitely was.
I am learning that change kind of is pain and discomfort. Change is persevering through the darkness because you somehow know that light exists. It’s tending to each and every new wound acquired on the journey because you know, eventually, there will be less pain. There will be something different. It’s faith. Blind hope. It’s taking a risk and learning to trust yourself. It’s finding a way to get out of your own way. Because sometimes we are our biggest obstacles. It’s facing your fears one moment at a time. It’s waking up every day and deciding to keep making the choice, to recommit yourself to change every single second. Change is for the brave and courageous.
We are warriors. We don’t need a quick fix. No suddenly about it. Because even though it might sometimes hurt like Hell, we’ve got this.