The Virtue of Patience in Mental Health

I am not a patient man, never have been. It can be severely frustrating for me to wait for a package in the mail, or for lab results to come back. If I am looking forward to doing something on the weekend, my entire attention gets directed toward the event, and it becomes almost unbearable to live through the torturing minutes, hours and days before then. Over the years I have become very aware of this flaw, and I have put in a lot of effort to get better. Even though I am not as morbidly inpatient as I used to be, sometimes I still struggle when I have to wait for things.

When it comes to mental health and recovery, being patient is crucial, however. We want to stop feeling bad right now, we want to find the solution to our problem immediately. When we hear that it could take years to find the right treatment for us, it may sound like too long of a wait and we may just consider giving up. When they tell us that the medication will probably take a couple of weeks or more to start working, well, why even take it at all. If we are advised not get involved in a romantic relationship until we are more stable, well, who has the luxury to wait on love?

But patience is key in the road to recovery. That’s because recovery usually takes longer than we thought it would, and it can become frustrating and even disheartening to have to wait that long, to have to work that hard. It is for that reason that we must maintain our focus and elevate ourselves to a higher plane of patience and self-awareness. Only by being content with the small victories that will take us to a greater transformation can we continue moving forward.

The key to all this is taking it one day at a time. Focus on what you have to accomplish today, and celebrate that victory and nothing else. When tomorrow comes, do the same thing all over again, and so on. Before you know you would have made so much progress you won’t even recognize who you are anymore. But remember, patience is key. Take it from me, I know.

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