Frustrated woman with cleaning supplies surrounded by speech bubbles

Did I Actually Ask For Help?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw, decorated playwright.

For a person with a degree in journalism, working in the magazine publishing business, you’d think I’d be better at communication. I can’t tell you how many times I need help with psoriatic arthritis and don’t receive it. I get so frustrated and angry, but after a little self-reflection, I almost always see that it is my own fault. I often find myself realizing that I never asked for help in the first place. Like the quote above, I have the illusion that I asked for help, but the reality is, I didn’t.

Independence is my pitfall

Any time I start a cleaning project around the house, I try to pump myself up. I tell myself, “I’ve got this!” and inevitably, I overextend, overwork, and in a nutshell, overdo. It’s like I have this ultimate challenge to do the whole project myself and nothing is going to get in my way. Well, nothing, except this chronic disease called psoriatic arthritis.

I push and push and then a few hours in, I hit my pain level of 8, which is usually a 12 on a normal person’s pain scale. Then, due to the pain and frustration, I scream and throw a tantrum like a toddler who has no idea what she wants.

And then, my emotions turn into anger – anger that I didn’t pace myself, anger that I couldn’t complete the project, and anger that my husband never even offered to help me.

Deep breath

Oh, wait, he did. I think I forgot to mention that. Usually, about the time I’m pumping myself up, my husband offers to help. I say no because, well, at that moment, I’m Wonder Woman and can achieve anything. Of course, I can clean out the closets all by myself. Of course, I can! What I fail to recognize – Every. Single. Time. – is that even Wonder Woman needs help.

Ask for help

Sometimes I have that conversation with myself, and it usually goes something like this:

Me: I can’t believe no one is helping me!
Inner Voice: Did you ask for help?
Me: No. I shouldn’t have to. They can all see that I’m struggling.
Inner Voice: But, you like to be independent. How do they know you need help?
Me: Well, they should just know by now.
Inner Voice: Maybe you should know by now to actually ask for help. They aren’t mind-readers.

Like the George Bernard Shaw quote above, I think I communicate my needs clearly, but really, I do a poor job. When I stop and consider the circumstances, I usually find that I’m the one at fault.

Not all help is physical

If I need help, I need to first ask for it, but then I also need to make sure I let them know exactly how they can help. Sometimes I need an extra hand with chores, but other times, it’s a hug, or someone to listen to my struggles, or even just a good laugh. It is my responsibility to communicate those needs. Only I know what I am feeling and what will help me get through the day.

And, to be honest, some days, I don’t even know that much. Some days, this disease has me so topsy-turvy that I do feel like a toddler who cries for a glass of juice and then screams when it’s in the green sippy cup instead of the blue one.

Learning to communicate my needs better helps everyone in the long run. I get less frustrated and friends and family actually get to lend a hand and feel like they are making a difference.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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