Finding Strength in Vulnerability: It’s Okay to Ask for Help
If you’re anything like me…a self-subscribed control freak…asking for help can sometimes feel as painful as root canal. My inner voice continuously shouts at me “I can do it myself!” However, I am beginning to learn that it’s alright to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength and self-awareness.
Early in the year I experienced something that could have completely gone downhill if I didn’t accept the help offered to me.
Subconsciously I made the decision to suffer in silence. I knew something wasn’t right with my body but chose to “deal with it” on my own. As in not really dealing with it at all. When I finally couldn’t take it anymore I went to the doctor’s office and was surprised to find that I had neglected my body so badly that I could no longer function in the way I had wanted.
Thank God it was nothing terminal and that with the right meds and major life changes I could turn things around. I was eager. I was determined to get my life back on track. I couldn’t wait to become the new me.
Unfortunately, things didn’t start off the way I’d hoped. Despite the new meds I was getting sicker every day. It was to the point that for two weeks I couldn’t eat or drink much of anything without throwing up. I felt weak and completely drained.
Even still the control freak in me was determined to fix it all on my own. But with each passing day I became even weaker.
Then one day, as was becoming my daily habit, I logged off from work at 4:30 and went straight to bed. A few minutes later, in my haze, I heard a noise at the front door. In a weakened state I called out. My youngest son shouted back. He had the key and was trying to open the door. But because I was in bed “for the night” I had put the chain on, which prevented him from coming in. Needless to say, neither I nor my home was in any condition for company. And even though I felt embarrassed I had no energy to pick up the things strewn around on the floor as I dragged my deteriorating body to the door.
When I finally opened the door I was surprised to see my oldest son standing there too. Being that he lived two hours away I knew they meant business. And was in no mood for my continual stubbornness and denial. My oldest son had spent the last few days trying to convince me to go to the hospital, while I kept telling him I’d be fine. That my body just needed to get used to the new meds.
He informed me that they were there to take me to see a doctor and that I was going whether they had to carry me or not. It was clear that neither of them would take no for an answer. And I did what any strong, independent person would do. I broke down and cried. It was clear I couldn't go on the way I was and that I needed help. I was so grateful and relieved that my sons decided to take over.
I convinced them to let me take a shower first and off to Urgent Care we went. After ordering some tests, I was stunned to hear them say that I needed to go to the Emergency Room. Without hesitation the boys scooped me up and took me to the ER. Once there more tests were conducted. I was horrified to hear that not only was I badly dehydrated but that my numbers were completely out of wack. The numbers that should have been high were dangerously low and the numbers that should have been low were off the charts. The doctor immediately informed me that they were admitting me to the hospital. And that if my numbers didn’t quickly get into line of what they should be they would move me to the ICU.
I just laid there flabbergasted. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How could I have let things get so out of hand. The look on my sons’ faces was devastating. I think we were all thinking of the night we lost my husband. I couldn’t put my family through that again. Besides I had plans. I had things to do. I had just been promoted at work. I had started writing a new book I wanted to finish. And I had grandchildren I wanted to see grow up to be the fine men and woman I knew they would be one day. I had a life to live. And I was determined to live it.
So, like any other spirit filled person I lay in that hospital bed and prayed. I asked for forgiveness for letting things get so out of hand and for not taking better care of the body I had been gifted. I asked for continued strength and determination to turn my life around. And then I did something I rarely, if ever do. I asked to bring me help…bring people in my life that could and would help me with this new chapter.
In no time at all, my prayers were answered by way of a new doctor; new meds; a physical therapist my son found that would come to the house to help me get my strength back. My sons cleaning out my fridge and my pantry of all the crap I had no business eating (and drinking) in the first place. My daughters-in-law with words of encouragement and a list of healthy food ideas. A friend, whose husband was just starting to go through the same thing. Encouraging him helped keep me on track. My granddaughter, who kept encouraging me to go out so I wouldn’t hibernate (which is my reflex reaction when things get tough). And my girl, Sadie. A spit fire of a puppy who keeps me on my toes. And because of her I am closer to my goal of walking 30 minutes a day.
I’ve realized that asking for help is not only okay but also an important and healthy part of personal growth and well-being. Here are a few reasons why.
· Asking for assistance helps us realize that we don't have to face challenges alone - We are social beings who thrive on connections and support from others. It's natural and necessary to rely on one another for assistance, guidance, and emotional support.
· Asking for help allows us to tap into the collective wisdom and knowledge of those around us -
Other people may have valuable insights, expertise, or different ways of approaching a problem that we may not have considered.
· Asking for help can save time, energy, and resources - When we try to tackle everything on our own, we may struggle or waste time trying to figure things out.
· Sharing our burdens or concerns with others can provide emotional relief and comfort - Bottling up our emotions or trying to handle everything ourselves can lead to increased stress, anxiety, or feelings of isolation. Asking for help allows us to express our vulnerabilities, receive support, and build stronger connections with others.
· When we ask for help, we demonstrate trust and vulnerability - It creates an opportunity for others to contribute and build a deeper connection with us.
Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength and self-awareness. It shows that you value personal growth, collaboration, and the well-being of yourself as well as others. So, don't hesitate to reach out when you need assistance.
In the meantime, at the time of this publication, I have lost over 60 pounds and my numbers are just about where they need to be. I still have a ways to go but I am determined to be the person I am meant to be physically, mentally, and emotionally. And the next time I’m offered assistance I promise to at least think about it instead of automatically saying “no.” Thank You Lord and all those who helped me even though at first I was determined to do it all on my own.