Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Please Don't ask Me if I Need Help

I am not writing this post because I think people don't care.  I am writing it for just the opposite reason.  I am writing this because I know people do care, but do not always know how to help.  I am also writing it because I know that many of us suffer from periods of anxiety, depression and just plain being overwhelmed, even if it is not a diagnosed condition. Sometimes, life is just hard and we need help, but in the right way.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I have a tough time admitting it in more than a humorous way.  I post a funny meme or I make some side comment to my mom about needing 5 minutes to cry in the bathroom with some wine, but rarely do I really vent to many people about how out-of-control I feel at times.

When I do get to my breaking point and I finally share my feelings, I am often at a point that I do not know where to go or what do to next. I often need help, but I am not always sure what it is.  I know that sounds crazy, but as a person who has had post-partum depression and suffers from anxiety issues, I cannot always see clearly.

I am also, like many adults, a person who has a tough time asking for help with things that I should be able to handle.  I do not mind asking my family to watch my kids here and there, and I can even ask a friend to drive my son to school or practice without a problem.  Beyond that, however, it can be tough to admit that I need help with regular adult things, even when I do.

When I am overwhelmed, if you ask me if I need help, I will probably tell you, "no." Sure, part of it will be out of pride, but part of it will be because I literally can't figure out a good way for you to help. So, as someone who loves people who need help, what are you to do? My suggestion is to be specific and tell me what you are going to do. 

If you really want to help, tell me you are going to drop off dinner or that you are going to take a task off my plate. Tell me that you know that I need a night free from driving so you are going to take my son to baseball. Offer to watch my kids for a few hour so that I can clean. Make plans with me for happy hour so that I can relax and do not let me cancel. And, if you are so busy that you cannot physically help, send me a text that says that you love me and you are concerned. Let me know you will pray for me.

As much of a control-freak as I can be, sometimes I need someone else to be in control.  Asking leaves me in control. Telling me allows me to feel responsible for one less thing.

By the way, this is not meant to be selfish or lazy, it is meant to encourage that person who wants to help but feels unneeded. I promise, you are needed, the other person will appreciate your help, they just do not know how to ask. So, when you have a friend who just had a new baby or a death in the family or anything else that may cause stress in their lives, be specific and be firm. 

By the way, this goes two ways. When I can, I promise I will do the same for you.