A Word on Wednesday: Patient

A Patient
Bounced by forces not within;
Left bobbing atop the surface,
Or, dragged mercilessly, gurgling for air.

Patient’s first synonym is INVALID. 

This can be interpreted to mean not valid or a person who is not capable. 

Patient’s primary synonym is derived from the Latin “invalidus” meaning weak. 


Indeed, the weakness of requiring medical intervention is tangible, frightening. 

Yet, at the same time, becoming a patient is a source of HOPE.  

This is true for mental illness, physical illness, and injury. 

Resting and requesting assistance is a path to recovery.

People with symptoms of mental illness are often reluctant to seek treatment, to accept a diagnosis, and to commit to ongoing therapy.

However, a patient can just mean a person who is under medical care. In fact, the association of patient as a sufferer or victim is archaic. A patient is just a person undergoing some action. For change to occur, action is needed. Improving health is no exception. A patient can be active while being respectful. A patient can be cooperative to improve outcomes.

When patient is used as an adjective it is the characterization of a desirable quality. A patient person bears hardship with fortitude and calm and without complaint. With patience one can quietly and steadily persevere.

As one becomes a patient with mental illness and faces the problems associated with unmanageable illness, a dose of patience will go a long way. Often, health improvements are achieved through a series of trial and error. Healing requires time.

As Mental Health Month continues, I bring attention to the concept of becoming a patient patient. Healing does not occur quickly. There are not short cuts. Making a step toward change is a start. Stay the course, patiently.


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