If you know my story, you know I’ve spend the last 11 years dealing with serious and sometimes life threatening health conditions (You can read more below for a small recap). And those health issues have taught me a lot about what it means to be patient.
We can all say “oh yeah, I’m patient” but you don’t truly know how difficult having patience and faith actually is. You don’t know how frustrating it can actually get to wait for medical technology to improve and in the meantime, you are blind. Or how long it takes for a proper diagnosis, going years to multiple doctors to try to figure out what happened to you.
As someone who thought she had a lot of patience, let me tell you: it’s not something you are born with. It’s something you learn – and sometimes that learning process will damage you before it helps you.
I want to help people, so here’s what I am going to tell you about having patience.
The Recap For New Readers
Check out my podcast, The Bijou Show for more information, but basically 11 years ago i was diagnosed with a life threatening condition called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome. It’s an adverse reaction to a medication and my chance of surviving was only 10%. I barely made it and came out with a lot of issues: blindness, loss of muscle, loss of skin, permanent and irreversible lung damage, fast heart rate, and severe PTSD. Since then, I’ve also been diagnosed with two more rare diseases. Because of the lung damage from TENS, I have something called an NTM, which is a bacterium that is not contagious in my lungs. As well as a new diagnosis of a brain AVM: a malformation of the blood vessels in the brain that can burst.
So it’s safe to say, I deal with a lot.
1. You Don’t Have All The Patience You Think You Do
After my health issues, there was this period where I was supercharged and thought that all my problems would soon go away. No one told me that the reality would be much different. Despair crept in as I waited months and months for things to get better. I realized then that I was not as strong or patient as I thought I was.
Bijou Tip: Expect the best, but don’t be surprised if what you want doesn’t happen right away. Mentally prepare yourself to acknowledge both realities.
2. Patience Depression Is Real
That overwhelming feeling of doom and gloom while you wait…and wait….and wait. That’s what I call “Patience Depression”, the state of depression you get, or more like anxiety, as you are awaiting something to happen. I learned that this happens almost all the time for me, to the point where i will develop insomnia for days until I learn about test results, good news, or bad news.
Bijou Tip: This is usually caused by residual anxiety and you must be very disciplined in doing a daily anti-anxiety routine that involves movement, meditation, and talk therapy. I use the Calm App to do daily medications and fall asleep listening to their sleep stories.
3. You Really Do Need A Support System
If my support system did not exist, I’m pretty sure I would have taken suicidal thoughts further. My support system has given me so much love, support, and confidence in my journey, even if it’s been difficult. They are there to listen, to hug me, to encourage me, and to hold my hands as I navigate my health issues. They have taught me that patience needs a friend.
Bijou Tip: Reach out to a therapist if you feel overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. Having patience is not the only thing you will need to keep going. You do need a helping hand.
4. Patience Teaches You Important Life Lessons
Cliché, I know. But it’s true. Patience does really teach you important life lessons. While I navigated my health journey I learned the reality of people’s intentions, feelings, and friendships. If you’ve listened to The Bijou Show, you know that my illness lead to me losing friends in high school, which made me realize that some people only want to be your friend because you look good next to them, or you provide an emotional need they crave.
Within 11 years, I’ve learned a lot about people and how to tell who is honest, who is negative, and who is a good supporter. I’ve also learned about working with others, and communicating and advocating for yourself.
Bijou Tip: During your time of waiting (for whatever it is you are waiting for), don’t be afraid to let go of relationships that no longer benefit you. You need to surround yourself with positivity during this time. Take the lessons life gives you and take note!
5. Keeping Busy Helps Pass The Time
Time spent well is well spent time. When you are waiting on something: your health, your finances, a relationship, a job, time seems to stand still. It makes the anxiety worse. It makes you wonder – will it ever happen? But what I’ve found is that no matter the outcome, just waiting around isn’t going to help you.
We all have lives to live. So live them. While you are waiting on that health report, that dream job, those finances to go up, spend your time wisely. Educate, communicate, do something! For me, when I spend time writing on this blog, doing photography, or just even playing with my cats, I feel better.
Time passes so fast when you are busy.
Bijou Tip: Find a hobby. No seriously. A hobby or a cause you can get behind and become busy.
The road is tough, but you can do it.
Do you have any questions or comments about patience? Let me know in the comments below.