Friday, June 24, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

It's OK to need help.

But sometimes it's hard to admit it and accept it, ya know?

Last week, D did an activity in the Activity Room and when he was finished I took him back to his apartment. He was tired and was going to take a nap. I asked if he could manage getting into bed and he said, "Yes," so I said goodbye and went back to the Activity Room.
Five or so minutes later, I looked up and saw D through the window/hole in the wall. He waved me over. And when I got to him, D said, "I hate to admit it, but I need some help." Seems every time he laid down, his legs were slipping out of bed. He needed a little boost to get them up more on the mattress.
So I lifted his legs up onto the mattress for him, and everything was fine.

Except, I knew D was feeling bad.

His body is aging, and he can't do all the things he used to do. He has trouble walking. He has aches and pains and often needs help. But he doesn't like to ask for it. He doesn't like feeling "helpless." He feels like he isn't 'good enough' or 'man enough' because he needs so much help.
We've talked many times about needing help, and I have tried to assure him it's OK. But on this day, I spent more time trying to come up with examples of times I've needed help. Wanted let him know he isn't alone.
There was the time I broke my knee when I was seven months pregnant.
And my brain surgery - sure needed help in the hospital, and for many weeks after I was home.
But those instances didn't seem to me like they would be comforting to D. Because they were temporary. (Boy, was I glad!) And D's circumstance is not. Besides, those needs were external to me, and D's struggle is with his own body.

Then it was as if God turned a light on in my mind.
I realized I, too, have a struggle within my own body. I, too, have no control. I, too, didn't want to ask for help - felt embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn't 'take care of myself'. I, too, was facing something which wasn't just going to get better with time. But with the encouragement of some wonderful friends, and the support of my amazing husband, I went to a doctor and sought help.
I found a name for the struggle within me. Anxiety and Depression. And I started taking medicine (Didn't want to admit I needed that help!) and learning strategies to change my faulty thinking and self-talk.
And now? I don't burst into tears on a whim. I feel like my emotions are in check, rather than dependent on what someone says to, or about, me. I am able to let so many things roll off my back, when before they would have pinned me to the ground.

I didn't want to ask for that help, but I am sooooooooooooo glad I have it!

The interesting thing is, D and I haven't talked about this instance since it happened. It just hasn't come up. I have been considering how easy it is to encourage other people it's OK to need help, while I have been reluctant to accept it, myself. And all that has me wondering if God didn't just orchestrate that little scene so He could get me to realize it's OK for me to need help, too.

HE's good like that.



Patricia/NYC said...

Yes, HE's GREAT like that! :)

Karen, you are so wise...I love your perspective! You always give me pause to think & reflect & I thank you for that!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

gianna said...

Oh, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo with you. I want everyone else to understand that it's okay to not be perfect and yet, I HAVE to be perfect. (or at least mildly perfect!)

And the anxiety depression thing--right there with you (at least post partumly) so I understand that a little bit too.

I love you, Karen!
You are so precious!

Irritable Mother said...

Patricia - You know from where the wisdom and perspective come, right? All glory to GOD!

Gianna - We're in good company. :o)
I love you, too!