Happy New Year everyone! So happy 2012 has passed, may 2013 be a better year for all of us :)
I flew home for 4 days right before the New Year to see my family. It's not my first flight home since I've moved (first was Thanksgiving) but I flew down by myself without my boyfriend, which was a first for me (we flew back up together, long story). I was SO nervous to face the airport by myself, I worried about it for almost the whole week leading up to it and felt nauseous most of the day of the flight. I had no idea what to expect, long lines, chaos, who knows. The beau was quite wonderful and looked up TSA info on getting through security lines for people with a disability and made me call the airline to get more info on boarding and such, when I was refusing to. There wasn't a LOT of info, but it made me a little braver to stand up for myself and my needs. Can I just say, I HATE all of that. I want to do things myself, I refuse to be wheeled anywhere (people keep suggesting this), I don't like to talk about my Lyme and CFS, and I don't like drawing attention to myself. I'm very stubborn. But I also realized I don't want to feel more sick than I have to, so I swallowed my pride and asked for help. I told the person at security I had a medical condition that prevented me from standing in line, and he let me bypass the security line. I told the attendant by the gate the same thing and they let me pre-board. It was so nice! And it made the airport trip much more manageable. I also sat on my carry-on suitcase whenever I had to stand, which probably looked weird, but what the hell.
Maybe it's coincidence, or it's just people realize how much they miss their independence after the fact, but it seems like a lot of people with CFS, ME, Chronic Lyme, etc all used to be very independent and had/have (to our own demise) a strong sense of self. The hardest lesson I have learned (other than staying within my limits) is asking for help. And I can't say that I've actually "learned" it yet, I only do it under extreme coercion heh. Why is it that I find it so hard to admit I need help and ask for it, even minor things? Yes, it will probably get me a few looks, draw some questions but in the end I'd like to think I would get the help I need to get through the day with at least a tiny bit less fallout. And if we're out in the world, there may even be a legal obligation for others to help us ;) Maybe I'm too naively optimistic; I haven't actually tried it enough to know, but I can hope!
I've forced myself to ask help from roommates, family, coworkers, my boyfriend. Every time I do it, I feel like I'm tearing away a piece of my soul and it hurts. It sounds overly dramatic, but it's hard to understand you've had your independence taken away. In the end, I'd like to think that these moments I buckle and ask for help will help save my energy a little, will help me heal a little bit more, and when I'm better I will be able to repay everyone a thousandfold. We'll see I guess.