Two hands clasped together in a helping gesture

Life with Psoriatic Arthritis: Why Is It so Hard to Ask for Help?

Over the past twenty years, I have learned how to share my life with chronic pain. Not just from psoriatic arthritis but my other chronic illnesses as well.

I have discovered that by modifying my favorite activities, I can still do a lot of the things I used to. To my surprise, I find joy in the freedom that a mobility aid has gifted me. But, to this day I still struggle to ask for help.

Submitting into asking for help

Ask anybody who knows me in real life and they will confirm that I am as stubborn as a goat. That doesn’t mean that I will never change my ways, but it usually takes me longer than most.

I am sure that part of my stubbornness is fueled by the lack of control I have over my body - specifically because of my PsA and fibromyalgia. Another reason might be the comfort I find in doing things my own way. One thing that is certain is that by asking for help, I have to admit that I need it.

Put your pride aside & ask!

Every time I catch myself resisting the urge to ask for help, I ask myself “What would I tell others to do?” I would tell them to put their pride aside and just ASK! I have taught my children to work hard, but I also remind them that successful people rarely succeed by themselves, that everyone at some time or another requires assistance.

One of the hardest requests for me to make is to ask for a ride. Driving is still an important part of my independence. And although I have no issues with driving at the moment, it hasn’t always been this way. There have been periods of my chronic life in which I had to rely on others to leave the house.

On the flip side, I used to loathe asking for help with housework, but over time I have learned that not asking for help is more painful than swallowing my pride and asking my husband to take over a household chore. Accepting assistance helps relationships. Time spent together working on a chore or project is a time you wouldn’t have the energy for. You certainly would have exhausted all of your energy doing it alone.

Psoriatic arthritis: A work in progress

I will admit that I have improved at asking for help. With that said, there are still areas that I need to work on. Lately, I have been questioning my own motives when someone offers assistance. When I am quick to say “No thank you” or “I got it”. If I decline it's because I want to test my limits and I am okay with that. However, I need to recognize if my decline is because I don’t want to relinquish control or just a plain refusal to accept help.

What I keep reminding myself is that there is a difference between needing assistance and being needy. Asking for help to avoid increasing my pain is a sign of strength, not weakness.

What is an area of your life that could be improved by asking for help?

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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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