"A healthy way of thinking and acting is to allow yourself to receive the help and love you need. You weren't designed to live alone. You have limitations on your strength and abilities"."---Michael Barbarulo
"My name is Christine and I refuse to ask for help."
They should have a 12 Step Program for people like me. I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one who could benefit from it. I hate asking for help and will try everything possible to avoid it. For me, asking for help is a sign of weakness. I'm afraid others will think "poor girl, she can't do it herself" or the famous "I just wish she'd meet a nice guy to take care of her". They probably don't think that at all but that's the kind of stuff that goes on in my head. I tend to over think things a little.
Most of my inability to ask for help is due to pride. I was so proud of bringing up Sara on my own, especially during her five years of treatment. I was on top of it all...work, doctors appointments, hospital stays, scans, providing non-hospital food and being there for her when she needed me. I was taking care of all that with little, or no, help and I was extremely proud of that!
It's a big adjustment for me now as I realize the things I physically can't do myself anymore (tie my shoes, believe me, I've tried)...or that I can do but it takes me three times longer (like laundry). For the most part I've adjusted and can do almost everything...it just takes longer and probably isn't as safe as it was before. Climbing a ladder, for example, I can do it but I can't hold on and grab what I need. Not to mention that my balance is thrown off a bit by uneven body weight...thanks to the hospital for pointing that out...never would have though of that.
There are times I've tried to do something without help and most of the time I am successful. Other times, however, no matter how hard I try I just can't do it. It's usually followed by a mini temper tantrum and then the meltdown and crying. It never lasts long but is the best reliever of frustration without resorting to drinking and yet another 12 Step Program. I try to deal with my frustration naturally :)
I first started thinking about accepting help, when offered, a few months ago when I got a new bed frame and mattress delivered to my house. It was left on my doorstep, while I was at work, and I managed to get it into the house. The box was sitting there unopened when I had a friend over. He offered to help me set it up and I declined the first time but when he insisted, I said "OK". We had it set up within minutes, and to be honest I was thankful, I could have done it myself but it would have taken much longer and there might have been some tears involved.
Later, when we were talking about that night, he made me think about accepting and asking for help in a different way. It's not all about me and what I can or can't do...it's about someone who cares and wants to help. They wouldn't offer if they didn't want to help and they wouldn't accept a request for help if they didn't want to. By not accepting a sincere offer I was, in essence, saying "I don't need you." Hmmm, I'd never thought of it that way before...but I do now.
It still takes some getting used to and I have to keep reminding myself but I am getting better at it. Just last weekend, when leaving from work on Friday night, a friend offered to help me set up for the craft show the next morning and I declined. "I'll be fine" I said. Later that night I was posting about the craft show the next morning and she offered again...and again, I declined. This time, however, I thought about it for a minute. She offered twice...if she really didn't want to help she would have thought to herself "Oh, thank God, I was just being nice...dodged the bullet on that one" and that would have been the end of it. I turned back around and said "You know what? Yes...please". The next morning she and her family were there waiting for me. What would have taken me at least 30 minutes was done in 10. Thank you Fay, I really appreciated your help and persistence.
One day I'll learn.
***Oh, and by the way...whoever wants to help...I need someone to climb a ladder and get my Christmas decorations down from the loft in the garage. Promised Mom & Dad I wouldn't try to do it myself :)