Learning the art of patience

“Only time will tell. Just have to be patient with your therapy and give it time.” Something I was told countless times over the past 4 years by my doctors. It’s extremely hard to stay patient and just give it time when you are stuck, alone out at sea, in the middle of a storm that you can’t see your way out of. All you see are the rocks near the shore that you keep beating yourself against.

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Therapy is where I learned the true meaning of patience. I learned how to be patient with myself. I am a pretty patient person with others but I am very demanding of myself. I expect myself to be perfect no matter what my situation is. In the beginning of therapy I learned this whole expecting perfection from myself all the time wasn’t going to work. I was going to have to give myself time to adapt and process what is going on, because I honestly had no idea. I was just a little robot going through the motions not understanding the true magnitude of my situation. This was very hard for me. The unknown is very scary. Confusion is also very scary. Try being both all the time. I was confused about everything, as well as everything being completely new to me. My therapists were very patient, kind and nurturing to me. I honestly believe that if I would’ve had any other therapists I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. They pushed me to my limits and they were patient and kind with me during my outbursts of frustration.

Seriously imagine yourself sitting in a room and you have someone telling you your next task is to put together a puzzle. They place the puzzle box on the table and when they do you see the age range is 3-7 years. You think to yourself “this is going to be easy.” But after they get all the puzzle pieces out and tell you to go for it.. You can’t do it. Your brain can’t figure it out. You have no idea what to do. You feel defeated. This happened to me every day. Something that to them was so easy, my brain couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t see the step to step process, I couldn’t see the bigger picture.

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During my time in therapy I was quite angry with myself. I had a swelling rage inside of me every time I couldn’t complete a task that was so simple for everyone else. I could see in their eyes that it was easy for them and that they were trying to explain it to me in baby steps but still my brain wasn’t understanding. Patience is a virtue not many of us have today. In today’s world we expect everything to come quickly. I am extremely grateful for my struggles in therapy because it has made me into an even more patient and understanding person.

I have learned patience through anger, loss, grief and struggle. Patience through anger was by far the hardest for me because now I have no filter for my anger due to the damage in my frontal lobe. It’s a hard concept to grasp when you give your everything and you get nothing or gain nothing. This was my main source of anger. I was giving all of myself during therapy to become “normal” again but sometimes things didn’t go as planned or my brain just wasn’t ready to process or understand the information yet. I just had to take deep breaths and remind myself that things can happen in a different order than I have in mind.

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The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. I have had to learn how to use both of these to my advantage. Although it was quite difficult I believe I finally learned how to let time run its course during my recovery and I learned how to be patient to allow it to. Along my road of recovery I constantly reminded myself that Noah waited 120 years before the predicted rains and Abraham waited 25 years for a promised son. So I too, could remain patient. I learned I can’t calm the storm. So I stopped trying. I devoted all that extra energy into myself. I dove in headstrong. Once I did this and calmed my inner rage, my storm slowly started to pass.

Our willingness to wait reveals the true value of what we are waiting for. I value my intelligence and I value my recovery so I was willing to wait however long was needed. I still have some waiting to do but I believe the tough part is over. All I ask of others now is just to please be patient with me. I may forget, get confused or take something literal that wasn’t intended to be. But I promise I am trying. I am constantly fighting an invisible war inside my brain, so please just be patient. Sometimes it might take me a bit longer to process information.

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Never look at how long something might take. Give everything you’ve got and you will get results. Trust me on this. You can make many plans for your life but God’s purpose will prevail. Something you can also trust me on. You may not understand what He is doing or how He intends to turn your heartbreak, loss or grief into something great but give it time because someday He will reveal to you His plan. Be patient, because as long as there is still breath in your lungs, God isn’t finished with you yet.

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