Oh wow! Where do I begin with this topic? Help, I need somebody! This is so difficult for me. I am so independent. I am such an advocate for people with chronic pain and chronic illness that I lose sight of what I really need~HELP!
The difficult part of this topic is that no matter how independent, self-assured, and secure we are, there is always a time in our lives when we feel down, fall down, have a door close in our face, and go through a life-changing event. For me, pain is constant and daily, so I have learned to live with it as a part of my life which is good and bad. It's good for me because I have learned to deal with life as a person with chronic pain, meaning that I know how to make plans and choices that fit my lifestyle. It's bad because those plans and choices will likely change in an instant. When those plans and choices have to change due to extreme pain days, weeks or months, it would be smart to ask for help. However, the stubborn side of me will almost never ask for help. It's not that I don't want it or need it. It's not that I think people like family and friends should be able to read my mind and automatically know when my pain is so bad that I have to start canceling things. I always feel like it makes me weak. Silly isn't it. The reason I think this is a silly thing is because here I am living with several pain conditions daily, which makes any person that does this strong, but I can't find the courage inside me to ask for even a little help.
This week, I was so stressed out. I went off my fibromyalgia medication. The pain was severe. I was so tired and fatigued but couldn't sleep. We have a 3 1/2 month old. Need I say more? Actually, I will give you a little more info. My hubby, baby and myself all live 9 1/2 hours away from any family member. We mostly hang out here with the hubby's friends from work, which have in turn become my friends, and I have made a few friends of my own as well. I feel bad asking people from his work for help because I don't know them that well. I also hate asking friends for help because I would rather help them. So that leaves the hubby. I guess I got so stressed out from not asking anyone, including my own spouse, for help that I lost it. I told my hubby that I couldn't do any of it. It was too hard. I was behind with getting bottles made, doing laundry, running the dishwasher, going to the store, sending birthday cards out, making meals, and putting stuff away. I couldn't or wouldn't even admit that it's been months since I cleaned, dusted or vacuumed the house! I was wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row and hadn't showered in I don't know when. I needed help!
He literally said to me that he couldn't believe how helpless I had become! I was furious! I was not helpless, and yet I was because I wasn't asking for help! I don't know if I ever looked at the word that way before, but at that moment I did. I was helpless. I was not taking any one's help or asking for any one's help. I was helpless! He told me that he wasn't a mind-reader. He couldn't tell what I needed help with unless I asked for it. Ah! That is the secret behind asking for help, you see. Help doesn't just come to you. You must get the courage up and ask for it. He told me that he just assumed that I had everything under control and didn't need any help. He said that on the outside looking in, I appear to have it all together. Hmmm...interesting, to say the least. It's kind of like our pain conditions. We look just fine from the outside until we let people know!
I realized this day that I had it out with my hubby, after he called me helpless, and then I felt hopeless for a while until I really got my senses together. To ask for help will only help keep us independent. Here is where I'm going with this...If we don't ask for help while our world is crumbling around us, and we lose all sense of reality until someone has to literally take over for us, that is not the answer. If we see that the foundation is beginning to crumble, we should ask for someone to please help us to strengthen it again so we do not fall apart and lose everything that we ever were or ever worked to be. It's kind of like when you press the refresh button on your computer!