Today’s Tip: It’s ok to ask for help.
I have made no secret that life has been tough lately. If you follow me on Twitter or are one of my Facebook friends then you’ll know that the past six weeks read like a trashy novel.
There were two deaths in my family, one (sadly) was expected but the other was completely unexpected and has left us shocked and distraught. An elderly relative suffered two strokes within eight days of each other, the first minor but the second can only be described as catastrophic. Our dog, our darling dachshund Henry, collapsed out of the blue and was rushed to a specialist vet for emergency spinal surgery. Then I had a bit of a health scare. Oh, and the cherry on top of the shit-cake – my credit card was hacked and I have no access to my money.
We’ve been left with a legal mess (Note to self and readers: Don’t die without a will), a post-surgery dog that has a long and intensive (for us) recovery time ahead of him, we’re financially depleted due to vet bills and funeral costs (with legal bills still to come in) and we are also trying to emotionally deal with the situations.
I won’t go into the nuances and list everything that we’re trying to cram into 24 hours. It’s too much (and too depressing). But we know that we aren’t coping at the moment. We’re trying to do everything for everyone and it’s just not working. We’re run down, we aren’t sleeping, we’re living off take-aways and instant meals from a packet. Mentally we aren’t functioning anymore.
Yesterday, we decided we needed help with our dog. I contacted the local dachshund community asking if someone could foster him for a couple of weeks. And then I waited for a response. I wrote on Facebook how guilty I feel for not being able to do everything, for not being able to look after him properly right now and that I feel like a bad pet owner.
The response was overwhelmingly kind. One person told me I was showing strength, another told me I was brave. I don’t feel either of those things. I feel weak. I feel tired. I feel like an emotional wreck who cries at the drop of a hat.
I also feel like I’m doing the right thing. We both do, despite our guilt and the feeling that we’re letting down our boy. We need help, we asked for it and we’re going to receive it – a wonderful woman, a complete stranger who we haven’t met, has said she will look after Henry for us, even over Christmas. The dachshund community is like that, when help is needed help is given.
I’m 31 years old and for the first time in my life I’ve realised that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. No matter what the problem is someone will help – someone wants to help.
Asking for help has been scary – we expected to be berated for not being good pet owners, for not being able to deal with everything and we were frightened of being an obligation. Instead, we were met with kindness, generosity and support.
For too long I’ve been assuming the adult thing to do was to do everything and to cope, no matter what – brave face, stiff upper-lip and all that. But that’s a load of bullshit. Lots of people need help – whether it’s as simple as organising a babysitter for a night away from the kids, to people in need of emotional help in the shape of a psychologist – we will all need help at some point in life and it’s okay to ask for help. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. All you have to do is ask because sometimes, people can be pretty damn awesome.
Have you ever needed help? Have you ever asked?