by Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM
“What brought you to this medicine?”
Patients ask me this. I give my usual answer of “I wasn’t well; nothing else was helping me, and I finally decided to try it.”
That’s not it, though. There is the truth, the backstory you likely wouldn’t believe.
There is no reason I should be alive right now.
As you allow yourself to enter your winters, you will come to find that they will eventually lead you into the light, beauty and rebirth of a new season of spring.
Interested in working with Cailin?
The Journey of Becoming
“Not a perfect soul, I am perfecting. Not a human being, I am a human becoming.”
When you’re feeling well, you can participate in life, follow your ambitions, you name it. When you’re not feeling well, it can become a struggle to live the life you want to live. And if you're not feeling well, you probably have some kind of diagnosis that is to blame... anxiety, depression, fatigue, hypothyroidism, IBS, heart disease, fibromyalgia, degenerative disk disease, arthritis... the list goes on and on and on.
I believe this is a very important concept to consider when you’re on any kind of healing journey. As the quote above describes, we are in a process of becoming. You weren’t who you were last year. You aren’t who you will become. And this, of course, also pertains to your health.
So why can a diagnosis become a problem?
Let's look at how the journey from well to unwell often unfolds:
Each of these diagnoses has a certain set of symptoms and diagnostic criteria; each has a specified treatment protocol; and each has a projected treatment outcome. Some diagnoses are relatively easy to treat, but many are not with conventional medicine. Why? Because everyone is different! The cause and effect process that creates disease and symptoms is an intricate web, and it can be challenging to sort out specifics and find answers.
What are your diagnoses? How do they make you feel about yourself?
1) Diagnoses can feel depressing. Your life has become limited in some way. Your relationships may be impacted. Your future may begin to look different. The treatments available may be limited or risky.
2) Diagnoses can feel overwhelming. You develop countless questions and some will never have answers. You undergo extensive tests and/or have to take a number of pharmaceuticals. It is hard to understand what is happening and how to “fix” it.
3) Diagnoses can feel disempowering. “How did this happen? How can I help myself?” We can wind up feeling like a victim of our physiology or life experiences that co-created our disease/illness/symptomatology.
And this is just to name a few.
But I approach any diagnosis in a different way...
Why You Are Not Your Diagnosis
Principle #2: There is no singular pathway to healing. The road is up and down and winding, full of unexpected turns. As you embark on a healing journey, you learn that there is much more to you than your diagnosis and that there are many avenues to explore to help you heal.
Principle #3: Healing is not one-size-fits-all. We all have differences in our physiology and psychology that influence how we respond physically, mentally and emotionally. (Standard treatments for diagnoses generally don't take these differences into account, and thus, you may not feel better.) If you learn what makes you unique, you will discover that you are much more complex than any diagnosis... and that within those complexities lies your innate ability to heal.
Your being is constantly adapting and evolving. Whatever your diagnosis may be, it is what is happening at this current moment in time. And if you are in a constant state of change, a state that is influenced by just about everything, then the argument is that you are not your diagnosis. Who you are now is not who you were a year ago, and thus, it is not who you will be in a year.
Be your own source of hope on your healing journey.
You are not a victim of your physiology.
You are not your diagnosis.
You are an ever-changing being on an ever-changing path of becoming.
Keep going. Keep searching for answers.
In time you will find that hidden within your symptoms and struggles are the very answers you seek.
Interested in working with Cailin?
Your first consultation is free.
Dr. Cailin O'Hara, DACM, LAc, Dipl OM, is a nationally board certified Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, herbalist and coach. She is based in Phoenix, AZ.
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