If I asked you which three words you find most difficult, how would you answer? Some may say, “I love you.“ Others may say, “there’s no cure.” But “I need help” are the three most difficult words for me to say, maybe because I’ve never been one to ask much of anyone. Most often, I was on the giving side before my pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis — after all, I worked in nursing before then.
Having talked with many PHriends and PH caregivers through the years, I know I am not alone in dreading those three words. Many of us were teachers and nurses before our PH diagnosis. My family and loved ones often say, “let me know if you need anything,” although they know me and know that, often, I won’t ask for help.
I have talked about this on multiple occasions with my therapist, and am reminded that I need to put myself first and allow others to assist me. (I’m also learning to say “no”!) This continues to be a work in progress. I’ve read several articles about why some struggle with asking for help — it’s often the fear of looking weak. Too often, I fight that perception. If I would just ask for help, life would be too simple, right? This is far from the truth.
Will asking for help make me more dependent on others? Will it make me weak? Many would say that asking for help makes us stronger. In the book “Brave,” author Margie Warrel declares that accepting help demonstrates bravery. Warrel says that we tend to shut down and not allow others in at times when we need help the most. Yes — guilty as charged! Thanks to PH, I often feel as if I need to work harder to prove that I am “enough” and independent.
Allowing help not only helps me but the helper as well. I try to remind myself how good I feel when I help others — maybe others feel good when helping me, too.
An April CNBC article has some of my favorite tips for overcoming this difficulty. Two lines have stuck with me: “People have their own worries to take care of, so yours aren’t significant,” and “Another practical strategy is to reframe your request so it’s a conversation, rather than a transaction …”
Which three words do you find most difficult to say? Do you struggle with asking for help? Please share your comments below.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.
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