I hate asking for help, I don’t really know why, but I do. There is nothing wrong in asking for help with something, in fact it can be seen as sign of wisdom in knowing where your own limits are. And asking for help this time doesn’t mean that you need to ask for help all the time, nor does it mean that you will never be successful at what you need help with this time. I understand all of this logically. Emotionally I just can’t seem to get myself to the same place.
Maybe it’s because the emotional side of me sees asking for help is a sign of vulnerability. Or perhaps it goes deeper and some part of me sees request as an admission of failure or defeat. And sometimes, when I find myself in a situation where I have no choice but to ask for help, it opens me up to all sorts of questions that I’d rather not answer.
The thing is life has a way of throwing you what you’d rather not have, such as illnesses or circumstances that require you to ask for help in order to accomplish something. It can be something as ordinary as getting the lid off of a child-proof medicine bottle (hello hand issues thanks to lupus) to learning how to cope with a life-altering diagnosis or circumstance. It really doesn’t matter if it’s something “huge” or something “little” the fact is that when you cannot do what needs doing, it’s an issue.
Now clearly, as much as I dislike asking for help, when it comes to getting into my medicine bottles I have to get help. Because I do not want to have to go to the hospital and require even more help. The hospital and most medical settings these days make me feel less than. I feel less than capable, less than healthy and yes sometimes less than human. And no, it isn’t anyone’s fault. Other than the voice in my head; the one that tells me that I am wasting medical professionals’ time and expertise. The voice that loudly tells me that once again I’ve become a failure.
The strange thing is the voice never says anything of that sort about another person. When I see other people struggling or receiving help, I do not think they are failures. I do not see them as less than human. I recognize that their situations may place them in vulnerable situations, but it takes strength to have to deal with everything. I admire the way they find a work around to do things for themselves.
It’s only when I look inward, towards myself, that I hear this harsh, judging voice that tells me I should be able to do this on my own. Even when my blood work shows I’m in a bad flare with kidney issues or facing yet another medication change. And I must remind that voice that there are things that today I simply cannot do while I then list off my accomplishments for the day if I can.
How does chronic illness affect you? Does it leave you vulnerable, afraid to ask for help because of what might be said or how you may be treated? Do you share that same voice that I have in my head?