It’s Not a Crime to Ask for Help When You Need It
“Do you need help?”
The question came from a 30-something woman after I’d finished loading some cartons into the back of my SUV. I automatically replied, “No thanks, all done.”
But lifting and loading isn’t an easy job for me. My upper body strength is good, but my legs are weak and offer no help to my topside. In addition, I’ve slacked on my exercising, so I’m not as strong as I try to be. I wish that young woman had come by five minutes earlier and made that offer. I would have taken her up on it.
I can’t count the times I’ve turned down offers of help over the years. Dozens? Fifty, maybe? Usually the offer would come as I was lifting my lightweight scooter into the SUV. Sometimes it came after a minor fall or when our car wasn’t parked nearby, making for an uncomfortably long walk. “Thanks, I’ve got it,” “I’m OK,” and “I’m slow, but I’ll get there” were my knee-jerk responses.
Writing at HuffPost, Erin Joy Henry sounds just like me: “If someone offered me assistance, before even pausing to think, my answer would always be a firm ‘No thanks, I’m okay.’ … I wasn’t comfortable with others going out of their way for me, or offering their care. I’m okay, always, really!”
I can hear myself saying those same words.
What’s the problem?
An article at Exploring Your Mind suggests that “this may be because of some unconscious mental block. Or it could simply be because they have difficulty recognizing that they need to change.” Part of the problem may be denial.
Both articles probably apply to me. If I look at myself honestly, I see someone who for many years has denied the impact of my MS. I’ll bet the same is true for many others with MS. For example, how difficult is it for us to finally decide to use a scooter, or even just a cane? Yet, once we do it, we’re happy we did, and we wonder how we ever got along without it.
It takes acceptance
It was important to me to show how self-reliant I could be. It still is, but some of that self-reliance is slowly slipping away. My friend and fellow Multiple Sclerosis News Today columnist John Connor discovered this happening to him a couple of years ago.
“So, yes, I’ve become more receptive of asking for help and not feeling guilty. It’s not any fault of ours, we’re just dealing with the cards that life has dealt,” he wrote.
Henry says she was able to begin accepting assistance when she realized that helping makes the helpers happy.
“If a person is unable to be vulnerable or ask and receive, you are actually depriving people around you the opportunity to do something that will make them feel good about themselves too,” she wrote.
That’s a good way for me to think about it. It’s time for me to graciously accept some help from family, friends, and even a stranger in a garage.
You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.