Posted by: naiadis | February 27, 2014

Asking for help is okay

I’m learning, the older I get, that asking for help is okay. It’s difficult to do, for any number of reasons, up to and including not wanting to ask for charity.

What is this stigma we have against asking for help in our society? And for giving it? Considering how greatly American society is supposedly influenced by Christian values, how the hell did things like helping those in need become so taboo?

I’m learning, too, that the guilt I feel when I cannot help those who are asking for financial help, is not only useless, it’s irrelevant. I know, from experience and I’m being reminded of it lately, that those who are asking for help are genuinely grateful, break down in tears of shock and gratitude and relief when any amount of help comes in. They are not by and large sitting around and wondering sullenly why people won’t help them. They know — or at least I know — that times are rough for *everyone*. The frustrating thing about our communities being so wide-spread these days is that it’s nearly impossible to help those we care about in any other way than prayer, energy work, and financial support. We can not pop on by to take care of chores, or give our time in other ways, and that’s frustrating.

We will be caught up with digging out from the surprisingly high vet bill (and yet, not nearly as high as it could have been, I realize!) in the next month or so. We’ll no longer be behind on those things that we let slide because, hey, vet! And, as of this morning, it got one bottle of medicine easier, because I swallowed my pride and asked for help. (I won’t embarrass you publicly, but you know who you are and you have our gratitude!)

Ask for help when you need it. Don’t waste time feeling poorly when you cannot help. Help when you can. It need not be any more complex than that.

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Responses

  1. I have struggled greatly recently (since about December, so very recent) with the knowledge that I can no longer freely send money when people need it, buy a gift because they said, “I’d love this, but no, it is not affordable,” or buy merchandise just to help them make their bills. Up until December I did that without much thought and with a lot of “things” arriving in my house that were not particularly needed.

    Since I’ve stopped working I feel guilt from 2 directions – the first when I spend on what some twisted part of my brain has labeled “non essential” and the second when I can no longer help with money everyone who needs it. I struggle hard. The guilt is lesser because like you said, irrelevant, but still it pains me to delete the Kickstarter requests, ignore many donate buttons. People became accustomed to me giving (*I* became accustomed to me giving!) and I liked doing it because I remember having a box of pancake mix and no syrup being the only item in my kitchen. ~sigh~ Where am I going with this? Nowhere. I hear you. You are correct. *love*

  2. Reminds me of this quote, “Another myth that is firmly upheld is that disabled people are dependent and non-disabled people are independent. No one is actually independent. This is a myth perpetuated by disablism and driven by capitalism – we are all actually interdependent. Chances are, disabled or not, you don’t grow all of your food. Chances are, you didn’t build the car, bike, wheelchair, subway, shoes, or bus that transports you. Chances are you didn’t construct your home. Chances are you didn’t sew your clothing (or make the fabric and thread used to sew it). The difference between the needs that many disabled people have and the needs of people who are not labelled as disabled is that non-disabled people have had their dependencies normalized. The world has been built to accommodate certain needs and call the people who need those things independent, while other needs are considered exceptional. Each of us relies on others every day. We all rely on one another for support, resources, and to meet our needs. We are all interdependent. This interdependence is not weakness; rather, it is a part of our humanity.” — AJ Withers, Disability Politics and Theory, p109

    I just think our country’s supposedly “plucky individuality and bootstrappy self-made blah blah” is bullsh*t. Even entrepreneurs benefit from the public good – taxes pay for police that protect their offices and factories; what is the difference really if you need meds, or BusinessPerson X needs police? It’s still help, and it’s still interdependence. <3

  3. A big YES to this post! (And thank you to the amazing person whose donation took care of Corbie’s meds for the month of March!!)

    PJVJ, I share your frustration with not being able to give as I would like; I used to make over 50,000 a year and happily donated to causes and people whenever I chose, but now I make considerably less, and it is a continually waning number as I pare down my hours at my day job due to my invisible illnesses, and all of my “spare” money goes into the business I hope will keep me afloat in the future.

    Heather, the idea of rugged independence is completely a myth, and one of the most dangerous ones our society has fostered. People who truly cannot afford to give ought not be shamed (as they sometimes are), but at the same time, asking ought not be a stigma (as it often is).

  4. It’s no easier to ask for non-financial help. I found that out this past December while my mom was in Hospice. Folks asked “what can we do?” but it was so HARD to say what we needed! Some friends then put together meals and such, and others donated little items that were clearly for ME to be able to take care of myself…ease the stress and pain somewhat. Not everyone has money, but gifts of time and work are often needed more.


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