The last few weeks I’ve been ill. So ill, that I had to relinquish my need to do everything for myself. You see, I’m not great at asking for help and regularly get bothered when others try to help me ‘without my permission’! However, when I found the simplest of human tasks a major difficulty (ie, breathing), it’s a bit easier to accept the goodwill of others. It happens almost every year now, but this year dragged on a bit too long for my comfort. And this resulted in me being a grumpy man!

The best thing for me to do during all this was to relax and let my body rest and recover. But that was a contradiction in my mind – how can I relax when my retired parents are having to travel down to my home to look after my kids while my wife was working?!? Huh? How? But, I had no choice. I could barely walk to the car to get to a doctor. I felt like sleeping half way through the ten minute journey to his surgery. I certainly slept when I got home after a ‘gruelling’ one hour trip outdoors.

I found my reliance on others to do my job very hard, and still feel weak at the thought of what had to happen. When I regained some strength and could participate in family life a bit more I was still angry at my body’s weakness to do basic things I need it to do. I was uncomfortable that this meant I needed the help of others. I got grumpy with my wife and kids over simple things and tasks. The kids were great through it all. My wife was great. Our parents were brilliant help at a moments notice. The only person that struggled through it all was me! I hated needing the help of others. I still hate it, and I don’t know why?

It brought back a memory of my life several years ago, when I was a student. I shared a house with the girl who is now my wife. I was studying for one last exam while she was finished all of hers. After several hours of cramming information into my exhausted brain I needed to take a break, and came down to the kitchen to have lunch. When I entered the room I was presented with a toasted sandwich from my caring and loving housemate. Instead of saying thank you, I got grumpy with her. She looked at me with a puzzled grin while I clarified that I could have made it myself, that I didn’t need her to do it. I was coming down to do it anyway. She’s a redhead, so she quickly told me what to do with the sandwich! 🙂 Thankfully, she got over it easier than I did, because years later I’m still acting like that fool.

Why do I generally struggle to ask for help? Why do I struggle to ask for help even when I’m too ill to do it myself? Why do I have to emphasise my ability to do it myself, when others take the initiative and do it for me? I don’t know. I had several weeks lying in bed where I could have analysed it more. Unfortunately, all I could do was try to keep breathing. Thankfully, my family helped me to achieve that. Obviously, their willingness to care for me is stronger than my ability to ask for that care. They hopefully see more in me than a grumpy man. I hope my kids will learn this trait, rather than pick up my one. And now that I can breathe easily again, I’m asking myself the questions to help me understand why I avoid and resist the support of others. Have you any input?

Before I move forward, just let me say “Thank you” to my family.