How do you ask for and accept the support and assistance of others?

By SCLWKR Latest Reply 2011-12-31 18:53:01 -0600
Started 2011-12-27 17:42:48 -0600

Through out my life I was always thought to be "the strong one" by friends. While I loved being dependable, reliable and the "rock" when others needed help (its no wonder I became a social worker), what I lacked in my life was the option to be vulnerable and the ability to ask for and accept the help of others. Through life's journey I have been able to improve my ability to seek strength from others and answers when I had none. This required that I surrender my need for control and learn to trust that the people I have surrounded myself with continue to love me and stand shoulder to shoulder with me during my times of weakness and need. This was not an easy task as it required that I go against all the years of not letting myself be seen as weak or unsure. However, once I was able to surrender, I gained so much. I gave myself permission to be human and imperfect and to be open to the strength of others. My recent bout with diabetes has reinforced my new ability to accept the support of my friends, family and health care team. This gives me the confidence and optimism I need to fight the good fight against diabetes.
How do you ask for and accept the support and assistance of others?

12 replies

Caliafiosgram62 2011-12-31 18:53:01 -0600 Report

I know what you mean. In our house, the unwritten law was mother doesn't get sick. Whenever the kids would bring something home from school, my husband always caught it - not mom. So that's the way I look at my diabetes. I have to deal with it just like I deal with the M.S. Day to day. I've been over 25 years with the M.S and 15 years with type 1. We'll have to see how many more I can go.

Nick1962 2011-12-30 16:37:45 -0600 Report

Like most here I had to be the tough (yet sensitive) guy. I didn’t really have anyone who was in a position to help. The only person in a similar T2 condition wasn’t really attempting to control it, so I couldn’t compare notes. Also, like most here I had to develop my plans for me. My “help” didn’t come in formal forms, but I am still thankful to those who unwittingly provided it.
The support group my Dr. recommended was a joke. Nothing more than a few old(er) ladies whining and complaining about what they had to give up, and most weren’t giving up anything. This helped me learn about toxic help – no way was I going to become part of a coffee-clutch pity party, and frankly I had other places I needed to be Wednesdays at 3:00. Help #1. Thank you ladies!
Help #2 was a weight loss program I got snookered into with my chiropractor. Being a man and not wanting to back down from a challenge, I saw it through. I needed to lose weight anyway, and although it wasn’t directed at diabetes, it sure helped. I learned there is a big difference between treatment and care, and I make sure I take care of myself now because she went through a lot of her free time to get me here. I really owe her more than myself I think.
I was doing well with food by this point, still experimenting, but still didn’t have my head in the game.
Help #3 came in the unlikely form of a 28-year-old female engineer. My task for the day was to survey and asses a 50-acre tract of land for construction with about 8 other engineers and architects. For whatever reason I ended up paired off with this fresh out of college “dirt” engineer and spent most of the morning digging holes looking at dirt. This part of my job is one of the only times I can show up on site in shorts and a t-shirt because most likely I’ll end up in hip waders or rubber boots anyway. Because of the multitude of creepy-crawly’s here, many of us carry “bite sticks” – various pens with a prescription anesthetic mixed with some slight antidote for things like bee or hornet stings, spider bites, or in our case - fire ants. They’re not lifesavers, but they provide enough relief to keep you from spreading it until you can get real help.
We were just about ready to head back to the trucks for lunch when she said “hold on”. She stopped, pulled out a pen from her right pocket, proceeded to uncap it with her teeth, reach down inside her waders to her thigh (most people don’t do this in the open), wince just once and said “ok, better, let’s go”.
I asked her if she got bit, and she replied “naa, insulin”. I asked “type 1?” She responded yes and I raised my hand and said “T2 myself”. Her response was “kind of sucks right? You buying me lunch?”
And that was it, no commiserating, no comparing notes, just “I have it, it’s part of life, let’s get on with it” and that was all there was to that discussion. I’ve seen her several times since, and although the pleasantries usually only include the usual “hi, how’s it going, fine, you?” The unsaid question always includes “are you coping”. I learned this was just another of life’s little unpleasantries I had to deal with, and the more I worried about it, the more it worried me.
Of course joining DC has really reinforced everything I’ve learned so far, and brought me back on track physically and emotionally when I find myself slipping. There are a lot of people here, even though I may not interact directly with them, that I really look up to and have a lot of respect for. Both young and old. Having folks like that around is a great help, even if they don’t know they’re doing it.

pixsidust 2011-12-28 21:41:33 -0600 Report

I too have been the rock in my family
When you are others think that you will be Ok
why for after all you always are!!!
But sometimes you are not…

To let down the walls and allow vulnerability
is humbling…

I think to be truly strong you must be strong enough
to "allow yourself" to be humble
Its such a time for me.

I have given my family, friends and even strangers
the helping hand of utilities paid, clothes, and even food.
I just do as I feel God leads me.

Now I am unemployed and feel the pinch of finances
My severance package money is tight
I went to my first food pantry.
I felt like crying for a moment and then delighted
in all God's provision and how good it is.
I think it Ok to learn humility.

I love giving, helping and doing. I feel good doing it.
When you ask for help, you allow someone else the chance
to feel good, rewarded and blessed in being the giver
Everyone deserves a chance at that
Once in a while we too can learn to be humble
Its OK…

Caroltoo 2011-12-28 15:51:23 -0600 Report

Like Sherrie and Renee, I was the rock for my family and learned how to be a pretty self-suffient little island.

As I became a therapist, I realized that I kept encouraging others to be open and vulnerable. I recognized it was a skill I also needed to learn also, so I made a conscious effort to share more of the inner me, not just the surface stuff.

Even so, I still find times when I isolate and don't ask for physical help, but I am much more likely to verbalize my concerns and share in the emotional support others can give me. As with all things, it is a continual growth process and each day presents a new beginning.

SCLWKR 2011-12-28 15:58:54 -0600 Report

Carol, I like your assertion that it is a growth process. As I like to say, "I am a work in progress."

Young1s 2011-12-28 12:12:34 -0600 Report

That's a tuffy. My family and friends are very supportive of me but I have a hard time asking them for what I may need specifically. Call it my foolish pride but I've never been able to do this without feeling like I'm being a burden. So, I'm very grateful for when they recognize the need and the help is offered but I always feel uncomfortable asking outright. Now that I'm in therapy, I am learning how to be honest with myself and my feelings and man is that hard. But, hopefully, I'll be able to work through this issue and learn how to ask for and accept the help that I need without feeling guilty in doing so.

TsalagiLenape 2011-12-28 12:03:21 -0600 Report

Just do and see what happens. I personally dont have anyone anymore their choice. Nor am I going to ask them now. Time will come and they will see how it feels to be left out and have no one to ask let alone trust anymore. May they be blessed by Creator.

dietcherry 2011-12-28 11:26:11 -0600 Report

Wow this is one of those tricky things in life. It leaves our soft underbellies wide open!
I grew up feeling isolated from others because I was the only diabetic in my entire school system. I erected a wall to protect myself from the teasing. I became bullet-proof and self-reliant at a young age but in doing so, I didnt learn how to lean on others for support. Stiff upper lip was the name of the game.

Im like you Sherrie in that Im the one my friends/family come to in times of trouble. Im everyones therapist and I really enjoy helping them work through their problems.
We all serve a purpose in each others lives and this is my purpose and I accept it as such. I find that in helping others it helps me even more so. Ive learned to learn from others mistakes cuz I will not live long enough to make them all on my own! ;)

But seriously it took me years into adulthood to show my underbelly and you know what I found out? People love to help! I had been denying them the joy of helping ME! And it is a joyful moment to make a difference in someones life however small it may be! Its just one more way in making those you love happy so as granniesophie said just do it!

granniesophie 2011-12-27 18:41:16 -0600 Report

Just do it! The worst they can say is no. You find out who your real friends are pretty darn fast. Family doesn't have to help either, if they don't desire to, it shouldn't been an obligation for them, but I sure as heck would do everything I could to help out a family member who asked for help! Maybe not everyone would, but what does that say about their character? Everyone will need someone at some point-I'd hate to be the one left out when I asked because I was the one unwilling to help when I was asked. It's a two way street.

SCLWKR 2011-12-27 18:50:31 -0600 Report

You are one smart cookie! Oops! sorry about the cookie reference. You can tell what's on my mind today. {{hugs}} Sherrie