Asking For Help

Part of me feels strange when I tell people I have a chronic illness — it doesn’t feel real that I am very different in a big, foreign way — but the other part can’t really remember what it’s like to be normal. It almost seems like the rest of my life was a dream, and it’s mind-blowing that I used to be able to jump out of bed quickly without blacking out or that I could carry my own backpack from class to class. I can remember what it’s like to run, but I can’t recall the feeling of independence that should have gone along with this privilege. Needless to say, I have had to swallow my pride a lot the past four years, and ask people for help.

I remember feeling incredibly uncomfortable when my Master’s class went to the university library and we were told to bring our bags because we wouldn’t be going back to that classroom. I panicked a little on the inside, as my dad always walked me to class early and picked me up late so that I could be discreet about getting help carrying my stuff, but I knew I would be in pain for a week if I didn’t ask someone to take my bag for me.

My face got warm as I approached one of the only guys in the class. “This is going to sound really weird,” I started, “but would you mind carrying my backpack to the library for me?”

I could feel my body turning the bright shade of red it seems to love so much when I am uncomfortable. I tried to think of something else — anything else — that would make my autonomic nervous system cooperate, but I ended up just coming to terms with the fact that I looked like I suddenly got a terribly bad sunburn under the florescent lights.

“Sure, no problem,” he interrupted before I could go into my spiel about why I need help taking a fairly light bag from one part of campus to another. I explained my situation quickly as he picked my bag off the floor, and was relieved when we shifted topics to chatting about English-related topics instead of my personal problems.

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Since that day I’ve gotten [a little] better at asking for help. I still have trouble vocalizing when something hurts unless it’s an unbearable pain, and I try to be as independent as possible, which sometimes results in injuring my muscles and joints further. I try to remember that everyone has something they need help with, even if it’s not the same thing I am struggling with.

Many of my friends have even become so great at automatically helping without me even having to ask; this blog has been an amazing platform for raising awareness for twentysomethings with chronic pain, and I think people understand a lot more than they would without reading about the experiences I have on here. Thank you to each and every one of you for reading and caring about the stories I have to tell. It means the world to me to have support from friends, both in person and for this little space on the internet.

Today’s Lesson: I always joke to my friends to “channel Krista” when they want to avoid a guy making a move on them on a first date since I was kind of a pro at that back in the day. Today, I want to encourage you to pull a Krista and ask for help when you need it, even if you’re afraid to. Whether you have a broken heart and need a friend to talk to or need assistance with a physical task, people are always a lot more willing to pitch in and help out than you initially expect. We all have different things to offer the world and ways we love to serve, and I’ve often found that when people can help another human being it makes them feel good as well.

4 thoughts on “Asking For Help

  1. Krista, you are a great example!
    I’m so thankful for the chance to read your blog and you have no idea how close to home this rings for me.

    I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (my pancreas stopped producing insulin) when I was 8 years old. My parents taught me at a very young age to be independent and do not use my disease as a crutch…the unfortunate consequence is that I became independent in so many areas of my life and on some level that seems empowering, but it becomes crippling when you encounter things in life you don’t know how to handle.

    Asking for help is incredibly difficult. Bravo to you for having that courage to understand your own limits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, I’m so thankful you read my blog. Comments like these always completely make my week; thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life with me. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with diabetes… that seems like such a difficult illness to deal with and I can’t imagine how hard it would be at such a young age.

      It’s definitely important to have a healthy balance of feeling independent and being able to ask people for help when you need it. I hope you do ask when you need things! It definitely shows you how great other people are. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. People who are trained to work in public service positions are told not to offer help to people with disabilities, or to ask if help is needed first before stepping in to offer help. Therefore, it’s good to learn to ask for help rather than assuming it will be offered. J.

    Liked by 1 person

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