Yesterday I went to an all day meeting and because I wanted the greatest degree of mobility I could have, I arranged to take my power chair. Somewhere along the decision making process I came to the idea that Joe would just drive me there and make sure I got in and from there I would rely on my colleagues for any help that I needed. After all the only things I would need were: help raising and lowering the foot pad, getting things in and out of my bag and holding doors when necessary. Not terrifically intimate needs.
I spoke with a couple of my team when I arrived and everyone, to a one, was more than willing to help. They were both kind and supportive - I couldn't have asked for a better response. So what I'm writing here today is not about them, it's about me.
I had a helluva time asking for help.
I ended up asking 3 times in the day for assistance. For my maximum comfort, I would have needed to ask for assistance about, maybe, ten or twelve times. But I simply couldn't ask, and therefore only asked when I really needed help. I had a strong internal battle with this.
I know that asking for help does not diminish me. I know it doesn't. But why then, does it feel like it does.
I AM NOT DIMINISHED ... screams my mind.
I feel completely diminished ... whispers my soul.
In those three times I asked for help, I saw that the help was given willingly, without much comment and without any, thank God, fanfare. It was just given. But I found myself looking to see if the willingness was real, if the task was even slightly bothersome, if afterwards I was viewed or treated differently. It was real, it wasn't bothersome and I wasn't treated differently. But I felt different.
In all that I realized the absolute vulnerability that comes with asking for help. Besides the obvious worry about vulnerability in the moment of receiving care, there are all the social ramifications of being someone who needs assistance from someone else. How am I seen to others? How do I see myself?
When Joe picked me up and asked me how the day went, I didn't tell him any of this. We ended up having other things that needed talking about - and I knew that I needed to think this through.
I am disabled.
I need help sometimes.
Those two things, for me, are givens. But clearly I'm not at peace with that - I thought I was, I am comfortable in getting help from Joe. However asking for a bit of simple assistance from people wanting and willing to give it ... that was sheer, almost, torture.
I guess there's growing yet to do ... RAH!