There is something about watching heroes in the movies that’s awe-inspiring. Their boundless energy and strength allow them to save the day, take care of everyone’s needs and concerns and they never have to ask for help.
But what happens when the hero gets sick?
Many of you often play the role of the hero—whether you’re aware of this or not. You’re quick to offer your help to others in their time of need, insisting that it’s no trouble, and yet, you are unable to accept assistance when you need it most. This post serves as a quick and helpful four-step guide to understanding the strength of asking for help when you’re suffering from chronic lung disease.
The Four Steps to Asking for Help
If you’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or another chronic lung disease, you may feel as if it’s your fault you got sick. If you ask for help, you may feel that you’re adding insult to injury. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Toni Bernhard offers several tips on KevinMD.com, a website founded by Kevin Pho, MD, for taking the plunge and asking for help.
Step 1: Believe
The first step to asking for help is to take a leap of faith and trust that those who offer help are being honest. The truth is most people who offer you help really mean it, especially those within your inner circle. Your family, friends, co-workers or neighbors may have already offered their help to you, yet you may not be convinced of their sincerity. Why? Because they didn’t follow up with you at a later time.
Step 2: Make a List
The second step is to remember everyone you know, including yourself, is juggling multiple things on any given day and can’t remember everything—including their offer of help to you. It’s up to you to reach out to all of your loved ones who offered you help (just as they’ve reached out to you) and to follow up with them.
Step 3: Match First and Ask Later
Write down all the tasks you need help with and try to categorize each by the length of time it’ll take to complete. Ask each person on your list how much time they can set aside for you, and then match each person with a specific task he or she can do in the allotted amount of time. This allows people to help you without neglecting their own lives.
Step 4: Conquer Your Fear of Rejection
This last step comes from Laurent Gounelle's column on HealYourLife.com. The word “no” is like kryptonite to some people; the thought of even hearing the word fills some with dread and anxiety—or maybe you think everyone is too busy to care. The truth is not everyone on your list will be able to help for reasons that may be out of their control. It’s OK—they’re not rejecting you, they’re just unable to help at that moment in time. If you have a list of people, continue to move down the list until you find an available person. If you have the financial means, a personal assistant is another option. Don’t let the possibility of someone saying no deter you from asking for help.
Remember, accepting help does not mean you’re weak. In fact, it means you’re wise enough to understand asking your loved ones for help early on will keep you healthier for longer.
Are you a caregiver already helping out a loved one with chronic lung disease? Download the free guide, “Living with COPD: A Caregivers Guide” for helpful tips along the way.
Photo Credit:Ed Yourdon