When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?
I think it’s takes a lot within a person to ask for help, to truly ask for help. When they’re extended past the point of desperation and genuinely don’t know what to do. In a sense, I respect people who can so easily recognise they need a helping hand and can’t handle all the shit that’s chucked on top of them on a daily basis. It’s a kind of “Hey, I’m a human being. You’re a human being, let’s help each other out, because I can see that you’re struggling.”
When you’ve grown up in the environment I have, it’s not always easy to feel like you can ask for help, or even that you should. For most of my life, it was just me, my mother and my older sister. A strong trio of women, supported by my mother as the back bone. She represents struggle and success, having to leave her home and country in the middle of a civil war to save herself and her future family. The strength radiating off that woman is ridiculous and I’ve always wanted to emulate that within myself. My mother was, and is, in short a strong Independent woman. I remember her telling me in reference to a controlling ex boyfriend
“My mother raised me, I don’t need a man to raise me again.”
and it stuck with me. I know myself, I don’t need a man or any human being in general telling me what’s best for me, what I need to do, because I know myself a lot better than I tell myself I do.
I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find with this nature I don’t easily ask for help. I’m everyone’s mother hen, the person they turn to when they need advice, nurture, support. I don’t tend to show weakness, but not because I think showing weakness makes you weak. I genuinely think showing weakness makes you more human, it’s within us, there’s no point of trying to shun that out. I just don’t show weakness, because I’m not used to it. When my mum didn’t have enough money to put food on the table, she didn’t show weakness, she never let me and my sister know she was struggling, she just carried on. When she had to work three jobs and I had to live with my Grandma for years, just so she could save for a better future for us, she just carried on. I guess she just wanted us to have the best childhood we could and still remain kids, without having to worry about financial difficulties and where our next meal was coming from.
I was in an unhealthy relationship for over a year and I felt like I couldn’t ask my partner for help. Well no, he made it very obvious that I couldn’t ask him for help and it’s been very difficult transitioning from being with someone who doesn’t even view me as their equal, to being with someone who is constantly willing to offer you the support and care they know you need. It’s a new experience for me, sometimes it’s hard and sometimes I do shut him out. But his patience and consistency makes me feel a lot more open to exposing my inner vulnerabilities. He allows me the space and love to do this and I just wish my mother would have realised she also had the space and love to reveal her vulnerabilities to me and I would have supported her the best I could.
I wouldn’t have respected my mum any less if there came a time she said “I’m not coping very well.” or “I’m struggling.” I think I would have been a lot more comfortable around her. It’s like I view my mum as this type of super human, because she portrays herself as that image and she thrives in it. Even though we both are similar in that, I don’t always thrive off being the lone soldier. I know I’m not the best at reaching out to people close to me and saying “I’m not doing too well, I need you right now.” because I think when things are really bad I convince myself I can deal with it alone. I can systematically go through steps and solve any dilemma that comes my way, which is true most of the time, but when I fail I’m left at the end crying, wanting my mum, my best friend, my boyfriend to console me, to take care of me. I know they’ll all be thinking
“Why didn’t you just ask for help?” and I’ll be thinking “Because I thought I had it.”
In short, I think I have everything. Which isn’t a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. But I’m realising that it’s a lot better to hold yourself down, but still allow your loved ones to help you out on the way. It’s really about balancing the two. Knowing you got yourself, you can handle any emotional or physical barrier that’s thrown at you (the human body is great isn’t it?) but also knowing your loved ones are there supporting you as you go. If you need to fall back on them you can. YOU CAN ALLOW YOURSELF TO VULNERABLE.
I know it’s a process, but I’m half way there. I know vulnerability doesn’t represent weakness and showing true, raw, emotion doesn’t mean you’re any less of a human. In reality, you’re doing it right.