Thursday, February 7, 2013

Asking for Help


It’s difficult to ask for help. Have you noticed that? I try not to ask for help very often. I tell myself I don’t want to be a bother to others. Surely they have enough on their plates without me asking them for something in addition. I tell myself that it’s not that big a deal and that it will be quicker and easier to just get it done myself. Sometimes I even tell myself that I’m the only person who will be able to do this particular task in just the right way.

It isn’t a healthy habit, not asking for help. I know that I get tired and worn down. Sometimes I end up feeling very sorry for myself. Sometimes I become angry or resentful of the people around me for not helping, even though I haven’t asked them to help. Sometimes I just can’t get everything done that’s on my plate and things start to slip, or at least aren’t done as well as they need to be done.

Breaking my ankle has been a very humbling experience in terms of asking for help. I’ve had to ask my doctor to fix my ankle and prescribe pain medication and excuse me from work so I could heal up. I’ve had to ask my co-workers to cover all my usual responsibilities at work including seeing my patients. I’ve had to ask my husband to wash my hair and help me get dressed in the mornings. I’ve had to ask my mom to come and stay with us to take care of our daughter while I had surgery so my husband could take care of me. I’ve had to ask other family members to come and bring food and spend time with us so that my husband could get a break from taking care of my daughter and me and get out of the house on his own a little.

What I’d like to remember about this time is that everyone I asked for help said yes, of course they would. No one seemed resentful or angry or put-upon. They just cheerfully stepped up to the plate and helped out. The other thing I need to remember is that everything has gone very well, even with me stuck on a couch unable to go to work or clean up around the house. Meals have been served, laundry has been done, the house is reasonably tidy and work is clicking along smoothly. In the future, when I am hesitant to ask for help, I need to remember that not asking is just my own nonsense. Life took advantage of a broken ankle to show me that asking for help works out just fine.