Friday, July 26, 2013

On the Subject of "Help"

On and off today I have been trying to write this blog in my head. I have had things to do, so I couldn't just sit down and write it. A part of me is unsure how it will come out sounding, and I really don't want to offend anyone who has wanted to offer me something they think is helpful - because that is so not my intention. I could just not write what I am about to write, but that doesn't feel right to me.

I feel like I need to say something. Maybe it will help someone somewhere in some way.

Last night was a bad night. I was not in a good place. It happens. These days it happens more than I certainly would like it to - but it happens. I have learned not to bury it or deny it, but indulge in it. I have found that it often helps me process it a lot quicker.

The "problem" comes when I share publicly. When I share publicly there are those who want to help and say things that aren't exactly helpful. Some people are coming in in the middle of the "show" and don't know much about me or what I have been through in the past year. Some have been around the whole time, but may not have kept up with all of the episodes. There are a myriad of people in a myriad of places when it comes to their exposure in relation to where I am in my experience.

I understand that. And.

I am reminded of someone who I used to subscribe to years ago. He was diagnosed with cancer, and basically told people, "I am where I am. I have tried many things. I appreciate you wanting to help. But please just let me be." He didn't quite say it like that, but that was the message.

At the time I was learning about "the power of the mind," blah, blah, blah, and I believe I wrote him, trying to be helpful. I cringe now when I think about it. I think I did the very thing that I don't appreciate. He didn't know me personally and I didn't know what he had gone through, what he knew/didn't know, what he had tried, didn't try. I had no idea what it was like to be dealing with a cancer diagnosis and imminent death, but I still reached out. I somehow thought I had something to contribute.

I never heard back from him after my message.

There seems to be an on-going thing that has happened more than once in the last year. It has to do with the idea of HELP. I had someone tell me once that I should accept help, however someone wants to help. Sorry. But I don't necessarily agree. If someone offers me something that I do not think is helpful in some way, will create more work for me in some way, is more of a problem than a help, then me making them feel good for my accepting their "help" is counter to what they are trying to do in the first place, don't you think?

I have not once resisted someone helping me in a way that *I* think is helpful. I have taken help where it suits me. It would be nice if those who offer help would offer it to me in the way that I need it, or if offering something that I decline, at least respect me enough when I say, "No" without making it about me having issues about asking for help, or taking an offer for help.

I would imagine you only have to look back on your own life and think about the times that someone offered you help - especially of the unsolicited kind. It hasn't always been welcome or appreciated or fit with what you wanted and needed, has it? It probably suited the other person more. But maybe there were times that you took it, just to be nice, or to not create any problems - and it created more work for you. I know there has to be at least one time that happened - and likely a lot more.

Someone who is dealing with cancer has many unsolicited offers of perspective and "help." They are already dealing with a lot, and it takes a lot of effort to deal with the extra things that come their way. A "helpful" suggestion for me to do "x," is not as simple as it may sound. It takes effort. It takes energy. It takes a whole lot more than I have on the average, given that I am functioning in survival mode. I really can barely do what I need to do most days.

Being sick is a freaking full-time job, and at the moment, if I was to be rated, my job performance would be sub-par. I would be fired. So much is going on. Even the simplest of things aren't so simple, and they add up.


Why do I tell you this? Because I am hoping that in some way you might see something for yourself and someone you may care about - even if that someone is a stranger.

Help is welcome. I have listed several ways that people can help, not all of which mean donations. However, donations are the biggest and best possible help because if I could stop worrying about how I am going to get from month to month, I can start living instead of existing. Much of my anguish comes from the in flux, and largely unknown, nature of my life geographically, physically and financially right now.

I don't always want to be re-hashing where things are. However when I have my moments, I have my moments. I don't need solutions. I don't need suggestions. If anything, an ear is good. Asking me what I need is good. Trying to tell me how to be - or how I should think - or what to do, isn't so good.

Thank you for caring. I appreciate it. If I can take you up on your offer/suggestion, I will. At the same time, I don't think there have been too many times in the last year  that someone who wanted to help me has said, "How can I help you?"

In the same way that I ask for your respect if I don't take you up on an offer you extend, I promise to respect you if I tell you how you can help, but you don't feel you can do it. It seems only fair.

Thanks for listening.

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  1. People do mean well but they can overdo it with their constant attention. Thanks for sharing. Anita

  2. I think that unless someone has been through your situation and seen or responded well to something that works, they really aren't in a place to tell you what to do. On the other hand, like Anita stated, most people want to just help and they don't know how so they offer the best way they know how, just as you did to that man a while back. I'm sure it is with the best of intentions. And I agree that tehy should be understanding if you do not accept.

    I do not know your full situation but I do hope that peace finds it's way to you through it all, even in the slightest of moments. I do not know you but I send you loving thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing. It's good to let people know what you need/do not need. This is good.


  3. Thanks Anita and Missy. I wholeheartedly agree with you that people have the best of intentions. I think part of the "problem" sometimes is that no one wants to say anything for fear of hurting someone's feelings - and then an issue is left undressed. I only wind up saying things these days out of necessity. It sometimes takes more energy that I have to interact with people's best intentions, and the fall out from their reaction to my response to them. I also figure if someone is willing to say it, maybe it has a chance of helping others.