Having Patience With Mental Health Patients
Whether you are a loved one, friend, acquaintance or healthcare worker caring for a mental health patient, you’ll come to realize very quickly how the dynamic in the relationship is not consistent at all times; think of it as a love-hate relationship. That’s because we are humans and they are humans; in other words, our emotions fluctuate and our tolerance dissipates at times. On the other hand, mental illness is unpredictable and does not remain predictable day in and day out.
We have to learn how to maintain our composure with mental health patients because if we lose it, then sh*t will really hit the fan (pardon my Portuguese). This goes for anyone who is interacting with a patient in a meaningful way; you cannot lose your cool around them! At times, not only will the patient feel defeated but you will as well; this is when you retreat, wipe the sweat off your face, meditate and get back to it in a cool, calm and collected manner.
Mental health patients rely on us because they are temporarily at a disadvantage; their minds are malfunctioning and they cannot afford to have ours do the same. If you have a low frustration tolerance, then you should probably not be interacting with them in the first place. Patients need a supportive system because they lack support within their own selves.
At times you’ll feel like you hate your patients because they are not recovering and are doing just about everything under the sun to piss you off. They may not be compliant with their medications, curse at you or even attack you! Why in the world would you want to continue interacting with this human being who is putting your physical health at risk? Because you should care about them while reminding yourself that they are not in their right state of mind.
Other times you’ll love your patients because they are doing just about everything right under the sun. They are taking their medications, their symptoms are subsiding, they are nice to you and are showing consistent signs of improvement. Unfortunately, this does not happen all the time and you have to be prepared for the other side which frequently presents just as often. It’s a challenge treating mental health patients but the rewards can be amazing!
Remember that at the end of the day, mental health patients are not any less than us and we are not any better than them. Just because we maintain our sanity and they lose theirs, does not make us any better. We also cannot allow them to be lost to follow up, falling through the cracks into a mental health crisis, potentially resulting in suicide. We must remain united and help each other out at all times!
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)