One of my favorite reads is Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, a book about being vulnerable and how it greatly impacts our living. One huge issue I had with being diagnosed with lupus was being able to speak freely about lupus and my feelings of not being able to complete tasks that I once was able to. Culturally, I was raised to mask emotions resulting in me being scared to share my true feelings and ask for help. When I was in an abusive relationship I was scared to admit to my family about the situation I had gotten into. When I finally moved back in with my parents I was scared to tell them about the overwhelming stress my ex was placing on me. When my lupus began rearing it’s ugly head, I was scared to tell people closest to me about the pain I was experiencing until my body completely broke down. A lot of hurt I experienced that could have been resolved had I been more vulnerable to my own feelings and emotions.

To be vulnerable you must be willing to expose your feelings, starting with yourself. In order to be able to share how we feel with others, we must first be able to acknowledge and accept our own feelings. Emotional awareness helps us to talk about feelings more clearly and move past difficult feelings more easily. Once we are able to recognize how we FEEL then we can move on to asking for what we WANT or even NEED.

I don’t know what stage in your chronic illness journey you are in but I know for myself, when I was first diagnosed I lived a pretty self sufficient life. I was able to come and go as I pleased and take care of my child on my own. I did not need to ask for help. Then here comes along lupus like a big purple monster and knocks me off my feet physically and mentally. I had days where I could not get out of the bed or lift my arms to comb my hair. Even with a supportive family, I was scared to ask for help. I did not want to expose myself as someone who is weak or unable to care for themselves. So I pushed myself to limits my body could not handle and I ended up worse. I soon became unable to walk to the bathroom, I could not take my kid to school, I was unable to unlock my youngest from his child car seat. This is not the life we want for ourselves!

My purpose in sharing this is to show the impact of exceeding our limits when we are afraid to ask for help.

So you’re probably wondering now, ‘how am I supposed to ask for help’? Here are some tips to help you effectively ask for the help that you need.

  1. Clearly communicate. We often assume that our thoughts and needs are obvious to other people. We wait for someone to notice our telepathic plea for help and then get frustrated when no one does. Asking for help can only be productive when you communicate your request as clearly and concisely as possible. Once you voice your request, you must also be willing to negotiate. Let them decide how much support they can offer and try to find a mutually beneficial solution.
  2. Do no apologize. Don’t minimize your need with phrases like “I hate to ask…”. Regardless whether its admitted or not, everyone needs help sometimes and it’s nothing to be ashamed of—but apologizing makes it seem like you’re doing something wrong by asking and casts the task at hand in a negative light.
  3. Make it personal. In a world of microwave satisfaction with texts and social media, I know the first thing is reach for your phone to send a message. I know it is easier to send a written request for help, but guess what? It’s also easier to turn down one.

I hope this post helped you in some way. Leave a message and subscribe to get updates on new posts!

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