This week my opportunity to finally move toward a proper diagnosis finally presented itself after I’ve waited for months for my referral to come through and following years of searching with many doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, chiropractors, even an acupuncturist at one point . . . and . . . I nearly blew it.
You see, I finally got my letter last week that a space was available for me to see the specialist I need to make things happen. I was told I needed to telephone for an appointment within a week, and despite this being one of my most pressing concerns, I let every one of those seven days slip by without making the call. I would catch myself and realize the whole day had gone by around 6 p.m. each day.
I have no doubt some will read that, raise an eyebrow and add all sorts of implications. It must not really matter. Maybe I’m not really committed. Maybe it isn’t really that big of a problem. I mean, surely I’d call on the very first available day!
Except it is a big deal. I’m spending more and more of my time lying in bed, taking pain meds that make driving unsafe and getting pulled away from activities I care about for my children, my practice and even within my faith because I can’t do things that used to be natural.
I believe that getting a diagnosis is crucial towards getting long-term support for my children. I’ve already had arguments with their paediatricians who said diagnosis wasn’t necessary. They admitted that it might flow more smoothly in researching a genetic disorder if I had the diagnosis first. You see, my history of health problems is easier to prove than my little ones’ history who don’t yet have the language or experience to describe what is happening to them.
So yeah, it’s important. It’s very important, and I allowed myself to be gripped with fear rather than grabbing hold of the very thing I’ve been waiting and praying for. I did finally move past my fear and call, and I was able to schedule the appointment in a few weeks’ time, but isn’t it interesting that I would find excuses to keep putting the call off for just ‘one more thing’ over and over until each day passed.
So this is one of those moments that my training helps me to understand. If you want to get technical, I have fallen headfirst into something we call ‘experiential avoidance.’ It’s that moment you let fear and anxiety overrule your ultimate goals. Don’t we all do that sometimes? Doesn’t the fear of what obstacles might come in our way sometimes paralyse us from moving towards the things that really matter the most? Here’s a fantastic little clip which explains how it works within Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which I practice. Trust me, it’s worth a few minutes of your time to watch!
So, I suppose this was my lesson for this week. To take the time to look at what really mattered to me, and allow that to be what I moved toward–despite the fear around it. I had a lot of unspoken fears that were holding me back–what if I was judged or not believed? What if this changes how professionals treat me? What if it goes nowhere, and all this preparation just leaves me having to find another way to fight for my path? Ultimately, looking at those fears, they weren’t useful. They are valid concerns, but they kept me from what has greater meaning, so I chose to move forward through it. I’ll be going to see the consultant in July. Fingers crossed . . .