Asking for help isn’t my strongest suit. I’m much better at suffering through something then passive-aggressively complaining after. But when I stopped taking my prescriptions I quickly learned that had to change.
In the world of holistic health, nothing happens quickly. You restrict your diet and might not see the positive impact for months. You clean the heavy metals out of your system, religiously practice your physical therapy regimen, and meditate multiple times a day and likely won’t notice a difference for weeks on end. When you take pharmaceuticals, however, you can get relief [even if it’s just slight] practically instantly.
So, when I do something that pushes me into a pain flare, there’s not much to do besides wait it out. I can be extra strict about what I eat, get lots of rest, and spend as much time as possible practicing pain management techniques, but it’s a true test of patience. Needless to say, my goal is to limit these occurrences as much as possible. I could simply avoid activities that I think are going to push me over my limit [and sometimes I do], but part of my healing process is to live a life that is not dictated by chronic illness, and if I isolate too much for the sake of pain control than I need to reconsider my habits. Sometimes asking for help is the difference in my being able to do something rather than missing out, or keeping my symptoms at bay instead of being swept into a multi-day flare. And the earlier I ask for help, the better the results.
Lucky for me I have a handful of wonderful people in my life who truly want to step up whenever possible. Still, while they are fantastic at offering their assistance, they cannot read my mind and don’t have a clear picture of what’s going on unless I actually tell them. Dropping hints, no matter how obvious I think I’m being, is insufficient. And usually, when I start peppering these little remarks into the conversation I create conflict, either upsetting myself for not getting the reaction I want, or between the two of us as they feel they aren’t living up to my unrealistic expectations. It’s just a really bad situation all around.
While chronic illness has a way of making us feel like we exist in this world that is completely separate from everyone else, that isn’t true. My body definitely imposes limits on what I can or cannot do, but so does my mind. The responsibility to fight that inclination to say “no” falls on my shoulders, but when I allow myself to accept help from another I can lighten the load a little.
Image courtesy of Jean Jullien.