I Really Hate That I Have to Ask for Help
I know I'm not breaking any news here, but many people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) struggle to not lose their independence in life. Things that were once simple become difficult, if not impossible, for them to do on their own. For a lot of people, the only thing more difficult than accepting their new physical limitations is accepting the fact that they now have to ask for help, and often. I know I've written about this topic before; about how difficult it was for me to overcome my pride and admit to myself that I needed help doing something. But today, I want to focus more on the emotional struggle regarding not being able to do certain things on my own anymore.
Asking for help isn't easy
When MS first started to affect my limitations, I hated the idea of having to ask for help. Asking for help doing something that I had always had no problem doing on my own. I think I worried that people would perceive my requests for help as a sign of weakness because I know that, in my prideful mind, I saw myself asking for help as me accepting failure. But looking back, I can now say that being able to ask for help is actually more of a sign of strength. I mean, think about it, it can take a lot of will-power to overcome your pride and not let it control you and the decisions you make. Luckily, as my MS progressed, and my disability increased, I was eventually able to overcome that nonsense and start asking for help in situations that I previously wouldn't have. But just because it's now easier for me to ask for help doesn't mean it's easy.
Couldn't overcome my tremors and had to wait for help
First of all, for perspective, this "situation" often starts with me realizing that I can't do something on my own anymore, which is emotionally hard enough as it is. For example, I recently found myself sitting down, staring at my open hands after dropping a screwdriver several times because I couldn't keep them steady. All I had to do was tighten a screw really quick, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't overcome my intention tremors. As soon as the tip of the screwdriver got near the head of the screw, my hands would start shaking so much that I couldn't keep the screwdriver in place. So now I had to wait for someone to get home so that I could ask them for help and then wait for them to have the time to do so. Of course, this meant I had a lot of time to just sit there and stare at my hands while thinking about how they're no longer working as they have for most of my life. To sit there and wonder if they would continue to get worse and cause me to become even more dependent on others.
The worst part of asking for help
But as frustrating as a situation like that is to me, I would say that that's more of a best-case scenario. What I've found to be the worst part of having to always ask for help is feeling like people are getting tired and annoyed with me always asking them for something. I doubt anyone would ever admit it, but I feel like my requests are frequently put on the backburner. That the things I ask for help with are placed on the very bottom of their priority list. Like my needs aren't important. Sometimes I feel like I'm a little kid again asking to go to the park only to hear that dreaded word, "tomorrow", but as any 10-year-old can tell you, tomorrow never comes.
Feeling like a nuisance and a nag
Now, for the record, I know that this isn't exactly the case, at least not for me it isn't. I understand that people are busy and sometimes easily overwhelmed by someone adding yet another thing to their to-do list and that it's nothing personal against me. I mean, I do get help, I've always gotten it, and I have no doubt that I always will, but again, I can't help feeling like my requests for assistance go straight into the "I'll get to it when I get to it" file. And so, that feeling of being a nuisance, a burden, and someone who is constantly nagging, combined with all the negative emotions that arise from me thinking about how I can't do something on my own anymore, really gets to me. The keyword here is "feeling."
Uselessness leads to depression
I hate feeling so helpless and so dependent on others. It's beyond frustrating! Knowing that not too long ago, I had no problem doing something on my own that's now beyond my capabilities. I know I shouldn't let my mind go here, but in those moments, I find myself feeling like I'm useless, which ultimately leaves me feeling depressed. I can't help feeling that way because it's just a feeling, not what I actually think. Again, it's a feeling. I hope I used that word enough to make it abundantly clear that what I feel is not what I think. Anyway, I don't at all mind asking for help anymore, but I really hate that I have to. Is that fair of me?
What about you? Do you have a hard time asking for help? Do you feel bad about even having to ask? Do you usually get the help you need, or is help not something you often receive? Share in the comments below!
How often do you use assistive devices to help manage your MS?