Nothing is constant. Change occurs whether you welcome it or fight against it. You cannot be bypassed by change—you are ineluctably caught up in it. You have only to examine your life in the previous six or twelve months to see changes, maybe small and subtle or big and spectacular, some things improving, others possibly deteriorating, and you do not have to be clairvoyant to see that the same process lies ahead of you. The important point is how to make the process of change work beneficially for you (e.g. improved well-being) rather than counterproductively (e.g. increase in personal distress). For example, Derek was made redundant but quickly made plans to retrain, while his friend, Tony, would not accept this reality, wanted his old job back and eventually slipped into depression. In this chapter, we examine what is involved in understanding and negotiating the process of personal change by describing a number of stages to go through.
Before admitting to a problem, you have to be aware that you have one. Others may be aware of it, pointing out changes in your mood and behaviour (e.g. increasingly preoccupied, keeping friends at a distance), but you deny that anything is wrong. Awareness that something is wrong may gradually dawn on you when you notice how uncomfortable or out-of-sorts you feel; problems are piling up