A lesson I learned the hard way. I feel like I talk about those a lot on here. Pretty much all the time. Like, I went back to look at past posts to link to as examples of this, and almost all of them would work in some way. So, I'm going to choose the one that both took the longest to learn (I still don't think I'm there yet...) and has had the biggest impact on my life.
Asking for help.
I've written about how complicated this is before, and I was almost certain I'd explained the moment when I finally started to get that it's okay to just ask for help, but I can't seem to find it. So, I guess I'm going to tell you now.
In the summer of 2010, I pretty much bottomed out. It was the worst flare I've ever had. It had been coming on for a while, of course. A really long while. But I ignored all the signs and insisted I would be fine. That I just needed to keep moving forward and eventually I would pull myself together. Obviously, this is not the most helpful way of thinking, but it seemed entirely reasonable at the time.
So, I went on a road trip with my Aunt and Uncle down to Nebraska for a family reunion. The trip had been planned for a long time and it didn't even occur to me to say that I wasn't feeling well enough to go. Packing was pretty rough. I had to do it in fits between the constant diarrhea, regular vomiting and having to lay down because I was too exhausted to stand up. I have no idea how I made it to the train station and out to my Aunt and Uncle's in the burbs, but somehow I did it.
When I got out there, they were both immediately concerned. I must have looked like death warmed over and I was in the bathroom every five minutes. They tried to get me to talk about, but I just sort of said I would be fine. We left for Nebraska the next morning.
I don't want to go into a whole bunch of detail about the trip. I was pretty miserable. I mean, the reunion was great. It was fun to meet all those relatives. I just wish I had been well enough to enjoy it.
Anyway, we got back to my Aunt and Uncle's house. I remember I woke up the next morning and could barely stand. I spent the entire day sleeping on the couch. It was the next day that my Aunt said either I needed to call a doctor or she would. She said it much nicer than that, but that was the jist. I got on the phone with a gastroenterologist's office that afternoon and made an appointment for the next available time.
The day before my appointment, my Aunt and Uncle drove me back into the city and dropped me off, saying if I needed help getting to the appointment or anything, just to call. I nodded and smiled and thanked them, but was not planning to call. The office was right off the brown line. Surely I could manage.
I don't remember why I left the apartment that afternoon. I was going to get something from the store, I think. Maybe dinner. Although, I wasn't really eating solid food... I have no idea. What I do remember is having to throw up in a garbage can on my way back because I couldn't make it to a bathroom. That's when I finally broke down and called to ask my Aunt and Uncle to pick me up and drive me to my doctor's appointment the next morning.
That's when I started to get it. It's okay to just ask for help. You're not a burden. You're not pathetic. You're not less of a person. You just need a little help. I mean, I'm not saying that I'm now a master of asking for help. I'm still working on it, but it's getting easier. And the thing I'm learning is that if you ask for help just once, you're going to be a lot better off down the line and probably won't need help, but if you put it off, the need just gets more intense.