Unlisted: Asking for Help with a Chronic Illness

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On Wednesday, I touched upon the difficulty of asking for help. I am always so worried that I will be a bother or being more trouble than I am worth. Through observing others afflicted with the same sort of mentality, I realized it’s coming from a place of insecurity. I believe I am not worthy of asking others for help; therefore, I am too afraid to ask.

This insecurity prevents me from deepening my friendships and getting to know these friends better. I don’t know their hidden strengths because I don’t ask them to show me. Think of it this way: we protect some of the best parts of ourselves for the moments we help others. Other people are no different. They have facets to their person-hood that they aren’t showing because we aren’t allowing ourselves to ask.

When you need to ask for help, look at as an opportunity to get to know those who surround you better.

Is It “Okay” to Ask for Help?

Not long after our diagnosis, we are told by nearly everyone that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s easy for those not in our position to say that, but it’s hard to do. People offer to help us, and we thank them, but rarely do they offer again.

That silence is taken to mean, “I offered because it’s what I am socially supposed to do, but I am not sincere.” How often have you offered to help someone, meant it, but didn’t want to push the matter? Chances are, it’s the same situation with others. They are sincere in their offer but are afraid to push the issue out of respect to your condition. If a friend that you previously offered to help come up to you with a request, would you jump on it? If you are able to, you probably will.

Keep that in mind when you are afraid to ask for help: it’s okay to ask if someone previously offered because they are waiting for you to give them something to do.

Invisible Illness Does Not Mean Okay

When dealing with an invisible illness, people outside our immediate sphere of influence may forget we have a disease. If you are like me, you may try to manage the condition so well that it comes across as a surprise when you reveal your diagnosis.

With the invisibility comes a feeling of, “can I truly ask for help if I don’t look or act sick?” The answer is, “yes.” You can absolutely ask for help because everyone, well or not, needs help. You have helped friends move, you helped friends through a moment of grief, or you helped friends through a breakup. You asking for support relating to your invisible illness is just a different form of the ways you’ve helped others.

Do not feel ashamed when you need to reach out to others. Everyone has their down days. Everyone has their low moments where they need a boost. Your needs look slightly different from others, and that’s okay.


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