Thursday, January 3, 2013

Asking for help

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.


angela said...

No very easy to understand. I had to ask my parents for help and it was so hard I actually broke down and cried. Got them here fast though. Lol

upnorth said...

Oh gosh, I can totally relate to this. I had such an awful experience at the airport this time round. I had to wait in a long line and almost passed out, all because of my stupid independence streak. Thanks for setting a good example. I hope you recover quickly from your travel.

DolceVita said...

Angela - I feel your pain, it's not easy at all!

Upnorth- Airports are just the worst! And thanks, I only wish I didn't set a good example more than once a year :)

Sally said...

Hi there.... Sally B here from the Fitbit forum.

I haven't tackled airports yet... but I've to fly in April for the first time since becoming ill with CFS. And - horror of horrors - I've booked a wheelchair for the airport!

My thinking is this: I only have so many steps in me for the long week end - and I darn sure don't want to waste them on a stupid airport! I'd rather have more steps to walk through the tulip fields round Amsterdam....

So I've warned hubby what to expect, and told him that it's simply a practical issue - I will not use up my whole walking ability walking long distances to terminals. He understands.

Of course I'm seriously hoping not to bump into anyone I know!! LOL ;)

Keep well..... xoxo

Sally said...

Just to add... I agree about the "asking" bit... I find it very emotional.

I prefer to do the pre-planning bit so that asking is avoided. I know at the time I will want to struggle on (because I'M FINE! ;) ) but if I plan a strategy in advance, it can be seen as "saving" for later....

So I am often dropped off places while hubby parks the car etc. And if I'm out for a day, I suggest before I leave that some-one else cooks dinner.

I think removing the asking away from the moment in which you need the help (as far as possible) makes it a much less emotional issue, and so easier for me to handle.

Works for me anyway!

Beauts said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog,there's so much I can relate to and asking for help is just one of those things. Why are we so rubbish at it i wonder.
Your mind set and approach to recovery feel very similar to mine :)

DolceVita said...

Sally, I totally admire that you are getting a wheelchair for the airport. It is something I wish I had the guts to do every single time I travel, but oh that stubborn pride. Maybe if I was going to someplace great like Amsterdam, and not just to my parents house, I might try to stuff it down ;) And regarding the planning, I try to do that too here and there, especially when I want someone to drop me off while they park the car. Makes life easier. But I should probably be much much better about it!

Beauts- I've enjoyed reading your blog too. Hopefully with our similar mindsets and approaches we can help each other out more in some way!

Rayzel lam said...

I wholeheartedly agree! I have always been a very independent, prefer to even learn on my own type of person- getting chronically ill was very hard for me- when I get very fatigued it makes me very depressed because there is so much I want to be do but then can't. I just found your blog while searching for info on the blood lyme culture- I'm having my blood drawn for it sometime this week. I've have CFS symptoms for about 10 years and diagnosed Hashimoto's for about 3 years and occasional adrenal fatigue issues. Glad to find your blog.