October 15, 2012

Asking for Help

Posted in The Bad Days tagged , , at 6:36 pm by Reva

I knew I’d have a lot of trouble getting going today and I was determined to be early because not only had I had a week of unplanned leave, one of my colleagues has just started annual leave and another was due back from three weeks leave.  I also had two students to work with.  I didn’t think it would be setting a great example arriving after them OR not having a clue what I could get them to do.

So in my usual fashion I planned ahead.  I showered last night so I had an extra 5 minutes in bed.  I laid out my clothes to save more time (I usually can’t think straight first thing in the morning so added bonus of not having to thinkabout what to wear).  I made sure I had a bag ready to go with my pager and name tag.  I packed as much of my lunch as possible.  I set an extra alarm ahead of my usual alarm (it’s amazing that extra five minutes to wake up can help so much).  I even made a start on my breakfast which is above and beyond my usual regime but I knew it would be a struggle.  What I didn’t account for was a terrible night’s sleep, a common problem for ME/CFSers but one I’ve managed to overcome in the past few years at least until last night.

My goal was to be at work by 8am because I assumed there’d be a long to-do list to write and get my head around.  I made it before 8.30, but not before the students.  I was pleasantly surprised that not only were they happy to keep themselves occupied until I got my head sorted, but one of their uni supervisors was scheduled to visit and observe them for several hours of the day (ie a few more hours to sort myself).

I was also surprised when their uni supervisor turned out to be the lovely girl who used to pick me up and drive me to my 8am biochemistry Lab when I was in my 2nd year at uni.  We never stayed in touch as we were doing different courses and had no other mutual interests at the time.  I’m not convinced I thanked her properly at the time as I know I was in a massive brain fog at the time (this was the same subject I failed).  It was nice to let her know that even after all these years I appreciated it even if she only had a vague recollection of swinging by the student residences at uni to pick someone up.

I don’t know about other people, but I have a lot of trouble asking for help.  Twice over the weekend I had people (friends) tell me off (kindly) for not telling them I’d been laid up all week, that they would have come to help me out.  I of course thanked them, but in my mind I knew that I probably wouldn’t change things.  I’m fiercely independent, my pantry is full of enough food to survive for weeks, my freezer full of leftovers and my fresh bread, milk and vegetables are delivered. While if someone came to me and offered to do something specific I might accept the help I don’t think I would put myself out there and ask someone to help me.

Today’s conversation, where I learned that something that meant so much and helped me so enormously at the time that it has stuck with me 12 years had not put the woman out at the time. She only has a hazy memory of the same event, which has made me question; am I too independent? Should I (should we all) feel better about asking for help?  And why do I have such a problem with asking? I know I don’t like to put people out, but what I perceive as putting someone out might be no issue if this conversation is anything to go by. What do others do when they need help?

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