Ask for Help! A blog post by Vanessa King

Annamarie Dillon | July 07, 2015

It gives us great pleasure to share the fifth blog post in the series for rare disease caregivers entitled, "Building Resilience" by Vanessa King.

An important resilience tactic that we can overlook is asking for help. Resilience isn’t only about developing our own capacities, it’s also about recognising when help would be useful and asking for it, drawing on the skills, knowledge, experience and love of those around us. Science is showing however that there are benefits from seeking help from others, beyond the obvious.

Asking for help, helps us and others too
Sometimes asking for help isn’t easy – as carers we may be too busy or tired to take a step back and recognise that we might benefit from a bit of help or we could be reluctant to ask because of pride (‘I don’t want people to think I can’t cope’) or not wanting to impose on others (‘I don’t want to bother anyone’). Or maybe we’re comfortable asking for expert, professional help such as from such as doctors, but not for more day-to-day things for ourselves.

But perhaps we should think differently. Recent scientific research is showing that helping others is an important source of wellbeing – not just for the recipient of that help but for the helper too! So we should think of asking for help not as a burden on others but as an opportunity to boost their wellbeing! It shows that you value what they can do and it can help build your relationship, which is good all 'round!

What help would be helpful for you?
Leaving aside situations that need specialist help, what help would be most useful? Are there things that you find challenging or hard to fit in? It could be for small things like filling in forms, getting the shopping or tidying the house. Or someone to step in for an hour to allow you to take a short break. Or maybe you want to learn a new skill, find ideas for different ways of doing things or track down information.

Don't wait until you are at breaking point, it's resilient to proactively ask! Who do you know who might be able to help? It might be another family member, a neighbor or friend. What do they really enjoy doing? How might this be helpful for what you need? Patient associations and other carers are also good sources of information, ideas and resources.

The guide attached has some further questions that you might want to reflect on.

Importantly don’t forget to show your appreciation. A simple thank you goes a long way for those that help us. Be sure too, to say specifically what it was that was helpful and the positive impact it had for you.

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