In Recovering From Mental Illness, Patience is a Virtue
Monday, January 23 2012 Natalie Jeanne Champagne
I wrote a post in October entitled Being a Mental Health Patient Requires Patience and want to expand on this as it is such a prominent part of recovering from mental Illness. I don't know about you, but patience is certainly not a virtue that I possess.
What the Hell is Patience?
Hmmm. I need a few minutes here. I need to be patient in order to describe what I think patience really is. What comes to mind? Well, I think of how life seems to move a bit too slowly sometimes; how it might be nice for it to speed up. To complete my goals faster.
Maybe patience is something as silly as wishing I enjoyed walking my dog more; that I were patient enough to not look forward to the end of the walk. Patience: waiting for dinner to made? Waiting for someone who, unfortunately, is running late?
When you struggle with patience, well, these little things can be pretty irritating. But in connection to mental illness and the recovery from it, patience takes a different form. It can be becomes a lifestyle---a waiting game.
Patience is a Virtue
A virtue? Yes, apparently it is. Right up there with being responsible and kind--holding the door open for people? Taking your psychiatric medication and doing it without cursing (I realize, this can be difficult, well, on my end), that must be patience!
So, now we have defined patience, sort of, the best I can on my end. I am, admittedly a bit sarcastic.
Applying Patience to Recovery
Now, I am certain of one thing: patience is a virtue when connected to mental illness. Right up there with self-care and understanding the patterns of your illness. Patience is not just a virtue, it is absolutely necessary in order to recover. It is frustrating at the best of times but needs to stand by your side when life throws you a curve-ball. Or ten. Mental illness does not wait for you to take some time off, to put your life on hold, no, relapse can invade your life before you recognize it. And this is why patience is needed.
Why is Patience is Necessary?
> Before you find recovery, and you will, you must be patient.
> Medication can take weeks, months, to work;
> Finding the 'right' medication can take even longer.
>Putting your life back together, recovering, is a process. A slow process--ah, patience!
>Monitoring your moods, tracking any possible indications of relapse, this too takes patience.
Case in Point:
Work to understand that being patient, learning how to be patient, aids in your recovery. If we try to rush our way through the recovery process we won't find ourselves, healthy and well, as quickly. Practice patience. Close your eyes. Sit for as long as you can. This sounds ridiculous, I recognize this, but it's the little things, the small steps, that teach us the almighty virtue... of patience.
Now, excuse me while I practice what I preach.