While I sit here and wait, I wonder what the rest of the world is up to. My patience runs thin waiting on other people. Such as line ups… if I see one, I don’t bother. I’m a busy lady and waiting in line is a waste of time for me. Don’t get me wrong — I can wait for 1 or 2 people to go through, but when there’s one till open and 10 people in line, I usually ask myself how desperately I need my items and on most occasions I can come back another time.

I have much more patience than I used to and find time to do things while I wait. There’s rarely a time when I sit around. I’m a big believer in the motto “there is always something to do.”

Back when I was flying, I would have to wait sometimes 7 or 8 hours, flying big wigs into the diamond mines for important meetings. During my wait, I would tour the mine on my own — the massive cafeterias, the arctic corridors. I’d even use the exercise facilities. We were not allowed to go outside, usually because of the frigid temperatures, so I’d travel for miles inside those huge buildings, searching for exciting places, gawking at the display cases of hundreds of diamonds! The colour, cut and sizes of some of those diamonds amazed me.

So I guess this would be a good time to talk about patience. Is it the ability to stay calm and cool, relaxed and chill? I’ve often been told I have no patience and in a way I guess that’s true, especially when it comes to myself. When I want something I want it NOW! My husband can attest to that.

My lack of patience has often got me in trouble, especially when it comes to recovery, my mental health and medication. Anti-depressants don’t work instantly; they often take 4-6 weeks to take effect and if they are not helping, coming down off them takes just as long or longer, meanwhile using another drug to compensate.

I was dead set against taking medication, especially psychotic drugs. I would always say…”all I need is a campfire, a cold beer and a good friend to solve all my problems” and look where that got me — not very far. I’ve been playing this medication game now for over four and a half years and I’m still working on getting it right.

There is no magic cure, yet that’s what I was looking for… take a pill, feel better and done — not a chance! I can empathize with people that have to be on medication for mental and emotional problems, because I am one. With numerous side effects and no real answers it can be frustrating to say the least. There’s also so much stigma around this subject as well.

It’s not easy but it is possible. You are the one on this journey, no one else, so don’t let people tell you what to do or influence you to do something different than what you know to be true for you. I’ve been through my fair share of shitty doctors, yet I have found a select few that truly care about my well being and mental health. It’s a team effort and if your doctors are not in it for the long run, then search out a doctor who is, because mental health and finding the right medication sometimes takes a lifetime.

The thing that helps me when my patience runs thin is a short prayer: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” Perseverance plays a huge role in patience — we’ve all been there, waiting in lines, waiting for doctors, waiting for the weather, waiting for something to be different than the current situation… perhaps while we wait we can find something more productive to do, such as taking action.

My hospital visits up to this point in my life are too high to count, and what that’s taught me is to always be prepared to wait. I got so sick of waiting and worrying, being frustrated to the point of walking out that I started packing a bag around with me of small projects. During my “hurry up and wait” moments up north, I taught myself how to crochet. Sometimes I’d bring my journal along with me or a colouring book or paperwork that had to be completed, anything to pass the time and by doing that I found time passed a lot quicker than just sitting around twiddling my thumbs.

I’ve seen and experienced first hand what can happen when complacent doctors pump people full of medication. They act and look scary, like zombies, like they’re not even there and have no comprehension of what’s going on around them. When I first entered the psych ward the doctors experimented on me and had me on numerous drugs slowing my thoughts, my speech, my reaction times and movements. I kept track of every feeling I had on those drugs and by the grace of God I was assigned a good doctor that worked with me. When I got discharged, I was still on a handful of medication, yet I set my mind to come off them gradually.

I have what’s called clinical depression, which means my brain doesn’t naturally produce the “feel good” chemicals like serotonin or dopamine, so if I don’t take some form of medication I fall into a deep depression which eventually leads to suicide – that’s my reality. Over the past four and a half years I have been on a variety of anti-depressants and anxiety medication to help balance my emotions and mood. I still have my moments where I feel shame and guilt that I need to take medication, that I just can’t fix this problem on my own.

I had a lot of questions and still do as to why this happened to me. Even the very best professionals can’t answer those questions. A very important lesson that I have learned up to now is that medication alone doesn’t cure my disease. I’ve had to go through intense therapy and work a twelve step program, maintain regular exercise, stay on a routine, and get eight to ten hours of sleep a night as well as finding coping tools and treatments that keep me on track.

I refuse to let this disease beat me and work incredibly hard everyday to keep my negative thoughts at bay and stay sober. I’ve learned a lot of things along this journey so far and maybe one of the lessons I still have to learn is to wait. Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that — acceptance is the key to all my problems. If I can just accept that waiting is part of life, maybe waiting will become a bit easier?

Are you waiting to live or are you waiting to die? I was dead inside for so long and now that I’ve been given a second chance at life I want to live it to the fullest. There’s no shame in needing some medication to help make life easier. I can’t go back, but if I could I would have asked for help a long time ago. Perhaps by sharing this it will help you take action towards living the best life you can while you’re still here. If you’re patient and wait, good things are bound to happen.

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