The Difficulty of Asking for Help
Despite chronic migraine and lots of personal ups and downs over the last year or so, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate. I’m close with my family; my sister and my parents all live in my neighborhood, which is actually really wonderful. My neighborhood is fervently supportive of my community-centric business, and I have thoughtful, funny, and kind coworkers on my team. I even have a second, very part-time gig as a health writer, and the colleagues I have at that job are conscientious and so lovely. And don’t even get me started on my friends: I have hit the jackpot with friends over and over throughout my thirty-eight years on this earth; my heart warms at the thought that pals I had as a little kid are still in my life, and I’ve added a ton of clever, empathetic, fiercely loving friends to the roster over the years.
The benefit of a support system
Knowing all of the above, you won’t be surprised to learn that I have a tremendous support system. Even apart from my continual problems with migraine disease, my people show up. They often write cards, send texts and emails, initiate dinner dates and walks, and do so much more to make sure I remember that I am cared for and loved. When migraine has me flattened, I know I can call on them.
Misconception: I will annoy my loved ones
Still, there’s something that nags at me. Despite knowing both intellectually and emotionally that my loved ones would truly value helping me out during tough times, I have trouble asking for help, especially if I have already sought help from those same people recently. Somehow, even though I know there is no truth to the following misconception, I worry that I will annoy them, that I’ll cash in my chips and they’ll feel bothered by requests for help.
Knowing I'm not really alone
When I flip the situation around and imagine a chronically ill friend writing the above paragraph, I can picture myself standing up emphatically, saying, “Are you kidding me?! It is a great honor of my life to be present with you, to run errands when you need that, to go for walks with you, to hold space for you when you aren’t ready to talk but need some emotional support.”
I know my friends and family would much prefer that I ask them for help than suffer alone, trying to do it all myself.
Yet I still have trouble asking for assistance.
Why do I still hesitate?
This problem is especially perplexing to me because of what I outlined above: I have always had amazing people on my team. I have never been burned, and I haven’t ever had someone I love tell me that I am asking for too much or asking for something too often.
So why do I hesitate to ask for help? Is this the mark of a fiercely independent entrepreneur? Does it have to do with being a woman in the twenty-first century? Does it have to do with some subsconcious worry about being seen as less than reliable due to my illnesses and the proverbial hiccups that accompany them?
Do you ever have this problem? How have you learned to ask for help when you need it?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?