Asking for Help Is Never a Sign of Weakness
I’ve never been great at asking for help. Ever since I was a kid, I always thought that asking for help meant I wasn’t as smart as everyone else. I was also petrified to ask a question that others would laugh at. There wasn’t a certain event or moment that made me feel this way, it’s how I’ve always been.
Growing up helped lessen my anxiety somewhat, but I still have trouble reaching out for assistance. Whenever I need help, regardless of how big or small the task is, I instinctively feel shame. I wish I knew why. But that feeling became stronger and stronger as I started to experience the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.
I believed I could handle the weakness in my eye and face, but when the strength was sapped from my limbs, I had to ask for help. I needed it with almost every activity: getting up from a chair, going to the restroom, lifting objects, and anything else that required physical strength. I even needed help brushing my hair because I couldn’t hold my arms up for more than 10 seconds. Yet although I desperately needed support, I fought against asking for it.
I have refused help many times throughout my MG journey, but one particular event sticks out in my mind. I was on some heavy-duty medications and could do most activities without growing weak. Because of this, I was a little too arrogant. One day, I decided to jump down my back stairs with two feet. Like Icarus, I ended up flying too close to the sun. Apart from the wings made of wax, Icarus and I basically experienced the same thing.
The second my feet hit the bottom stair, my knees gave out and hit the pavement. I flew forward and slammed my hands to stop my face from skidding on the gravel. My sister, who was right behind me, panicked and tried to help me stand up. Embarrassed, I refused her help. As she stood right beside me, I dragged myself back up the stairs, through the doorway, and up onto the couch.
Why didn’t I let my sister help me? What did I prove by dragging myself across the ground? Maybe it was to show myself I could still do things on my own. Or, I might have been embarrassed to have fallen down. Whatever it was, I know I should have chosen differently.
Asking for help doesn’t mean we are weak or needy. To reach our greatest potential, we must rely on one another. If someone needed my help, I would never think they were fragile, I would simply want to help. Why is it so difficult to extend that same understanding to myself?
Although MG has created more challenges, it has also taught me many lessons. Learning how to ask for help is one I’m still learning. While I haven’t mastered it yet, I know I don’t need to drag myself across the ground anymore. The next time I decide to jump down some stairs, I’ll know someone will be there to help me without judgment.
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