Do you ever wonder why it’s so darn hard to ask for help when you need it? And I’m not just talking about in Cancer Land. Many of us never like to ask for help for one reason or another. We prefer to think we can tackle it all and not just tackle whatever it is, but excel at it too. Asking for help makes us feel less capable, less independent, or less something. Why this is I’m not entirely sure.
For example, who isn’t familiar with the male stereotype of never wanting to ask for directions. ‘Cuz, asking for directions makes you less manly…there’s no logic to that one. And we women are no better. We are constantly running around trying to do it all while pretending there’s nothing to it.
Who are/were we kidding?
When you’re facing cancer treatment, it’s pretty much imperative that you ask for help with at least some things. It might very well still be hard to ask for help, but you will need to be prepared to do so anyway.
Treating cancer is a full-time job (from hell no less), so if you’re already working, running a household, raising kids or all of the above, it is literally like adding another job into the equation. You will
probably not have the energy to do them all effectively. The sooner you come to terms with this reality the better.
Of course, some cancer patients are on their own, but hopefully there’s a family member, friend or two, a church or a community organization you can call on for at least some assistance some of the time.
When dealing with cancer treatment (and I will add, for some time after as well), you have to put yourself first. And for those with metastatic disease, asking for help might have to be something you’ll need to do from here on out. And that is okay.
So how do you go about doing this?
Ditch the guilt. This time it is about putting your needs first.
Allow your friends and loved ones to pitch in more. They want to help anyway and allowing them to do so, makes them feel better about a scary situation.
If you’ve never been a list person (I am not), this might be a good time to re-think that and start making some lists. People, even loved ones, need specific things to do and possibly specific directions on how to do them, where to go and/or where to find certain things. Lists can make life easier for everyone. Plus, no one has to wake you when you’re resting to ask where you ‘hide’ the laundry detergent or what grocery store you usually go to.
Going along with the above, don’t expect your loved ones to do things exactly like you do them. This reminds me of when Dear Hubby would take over baby care way back when. I’d get nervous when he didn’t do things like me. But his ways worked too. Not one of our dear babies was ever dropped, went unfed or cried too long while in his care either. Other people are more than capable to take over tasks you have always done. Let them.
Prioritize. Some things need to get done. You can let the other stuff slide and it’s amazing how this turns out to be okay and for how long too.
A wonderful tip a reader shared was this one: “What was missing for me was a ‘point’ person. When I needed help, that person would find the right person to make it happen. Making requests of lots of people just is not easy for most of us, so having one really good and trusted friend to make things happen would be my suggestion.” Excellent tip. Thank you, Betty.
Remember there is no shame whatsoever in asking for help. Needing help is not a sign of poor character, weakness or whatever. Sometimes asking for assistance is a sign of strength. A truly strong person knows when help is needed to carry the load.
Not asking for help during cancer treatment can increase your stress, make it harder for you to rest and/or heal at a time when you need less of the first and more of the latter. Besides, there are no gold stars for doing it all. There never were.
So go ahead, ask for help. It’s perfectly okay for you to do so, in fact, it’s sometimes necessary.
Do you find it hard to ask for help?
What tips would you add?
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