During your life you will likely spend the majority of your healthy years offering help and your energy to others. You’ll have lived through adolescence, you’ll know with years of experience what it feels like to depend on someone to provide for you. But what evolution, growth, and acceptance should evolve inside us as we begin to need help ourselves, and ask for it as adults? Do we know how to accept it? Will our ego allow it?
If anyone wants to understand the depressed mind, know that there is already great guilt associated with a depressed person dragging someone else down. Depression makes even simple favors difficult requests to ask. Depressed people purposefully create distance because many times they prefer to insulate themselves from happy people in the hope that whatever is bothering them, whatever has triggered a new and fresh piece of hell to erupt inside them, will pass quickly. To the depressed, there is a feeling that time slows down. I’ve described onset depression as trying to walk in chest-deep, wet cement, or very thick liquid. Along comes a friend or loved one able and willing to give you some help, and we may want to shoo them away temporarily. They think we’re just moody, and we’re certain we are doing them a favor.
Do you accept help well?
The writing of this question stuck in my throat. It’s so deeply ingrained in my makeup that I don’t know how to ask for help, hence accepting the offers of well-intended friends is also a challenge. When someone offers to help me it’s because I’ve been discovered. They’ve missed my annoying FaceBook posts, or they’ve detected a reduced number of calls, emails, or texts. These caring, terrific humans want to reach out, and I was never shown, nor did I learn well how to accept help on my own, with my dignity still left intact. Why is that? I’ve seen great movies. Anyone who has read just a few of my blog posts know that I enjoy good movies. So why aren’t contrived scenes of precisely measured offers of help enough to let me mimic the actor’s scripted and graceful receipt of help when it has been offered?
One friend suffers such anxiety that even trying to set a day and time to meet for lunch causes him to freeze up. Imagine for him, how tough it would be to allow someone inside his world long and fully enough to explain what would be helpful. These people believe it’s easier in every sense of the word just to do everything yourself, not explaining yourself, and keeping closed the door to the real darkness with which they must coexist. It’s like asking someone on a date for the first time over, and over, never gaining confidence, never gaining acceptance that your friends may want to bring you out of a tough hole if they could.
Friends who are worthy, family that really care… they don’t keep score, and they don’t count the cost. There are loving ways in which they seek a bond with you to demonstrate their entanglement. The entanglement we know is Quantum Mechanics, the proof that humans are interconnected and wired to care about each other. I’m grateful every day for my entanglements, and even for the tough ones, those people who are seemingly cold, or calloused, insulating themselves from my intentions. A long time friend, someone who has been a role model for me once told me the cold ones hardest to love are the ones who need to be shown love the most.
In our lives there may come the day that we can no longer do things for ourselves, independently and with precision. Doesn’t it make sense then to develop some skills around accepting help with grace?