I believe I’ve mentioned before how I don’t like to be weak. I’m not very comfortable with letting people help me. I need to be the strong one, the one who has it all together, the one who can do it all. I nearly killed myself with this neurotic belief. Literally. My body became terribly sick, my mind became filled with anxiety and depression and my soul was empty. I was falling apart in every possible way. It was literal fear of death that finally got me to my primary doctor a couple of years ago and it’s been a long road towards health ever since. And I still have a way to go.
During all this I haven’t asked for help. Not really. I mean, I’d request help occasionally from my husband here and there, and I went to my doctor when things didn’t seem to improve or got worse and I asked friends to watch my daughter so I could go to said doctor’s appointments. The reality was I went to them all grudgingly and I continued to try to uphold this myth that I had it all under control, that I could handle it all. I didn’t need help, I was fine.
I wasn’t fine. I was a fucking mess. (Pardon the language, it’s fitting here though). I was a train wreck waiting to explode. Seriously.
Slowly I convinced myself to ask for help from my husband, from my doctor. And I got a bit better and then better again and then I’d get sick again and then I’d see this specialist and then that one. And slowly my health would start to improve and then a new symptom would pop up. And so the cycle went.
I had gotten to the point that for a couple of months in a row I was in such pain that I was within seconds of begging my husband to wake our daughter take me to the ER in the middle of the night. I finally went to see my doctor again, she sent me to yet another specialist and now we are on yet another path filled with medical interventions that we all hope will help.
One of those interventions was surgery. It’s been three weeks post-op now. I’m into the painful part of my cycle and so that combined with surgery recovery leaves me in a lot of pain, with little energy. Which means my house continues to be a total chaotic mess, and it is very hard for us all to live in it. Not that our house has ever been close to anyone’s definition of pristine, but usually it’s at least a more ordered form of chaos.
I’ve already mentioned in a previous post how I’ve learned to be more vulnerable with my husband thanks to this surgery. There’s more to this new vulnerability story though.
A couple of days post-op I was lamenting to a dear friend how I wanted to change our formerly-known-as-the-Art-Room into a Fort Building Room. This was going to take some work and energy, neither of which I really had. I wanted the room to be cleared out by the end of the month, but I didn’t see how that would happen, felt like it might never happen. My friend, bless her, said in so many words, that I should just ask my friends to help – that everyone would jump at the chance to actually have the opportunity to help me.
I thought about it. I considered my options. Then I bit the bullet and asked a couple of my closest mama friends if they could come and help me clean out this room. These beautiful women said yes. I am blessed, truly.
Two of them came over today with their kids and while their kids played with mine, we mamas set to work. We made a HUGE amount of progress. Filled two bags brimming full of recycling, two brimming full of garbage, a bag for the thrift store and both mamas walked out the door with a bag full of art/craft supplies for their homes. Next week we should be able to finish the room. Together.
Asking my friends for help was one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever done in my life. It’s not that I haven’t relied on friends in the past. I have friends to whom I owe my life. And I don’t know that I’ve ever actually asked a friend for unreciprocated help prior to a few weeks ago.
This vulnerability thing is pretty amazing. I’m getting my needs met, by me and by those who I love and who love me.
We made a lot of progress today and I’m worn out from it. Exhausted. I hurt, physically for certain. Psychologically and spiritually too – accepting help from others is a personal paradigm shift and my whole being is adjusting to this shift. I’m grateful to my friends. I know that if I’d asked more friends they would have been here to help too. I just wasn’t in a place to ask more than the ones I did (and my childless besties, please know I needed folks with kids to keep mine occupied and entertained and pass off the overabundance of art and craft supplies to).
The healing continues. Opening myself up, accepting love and care, listening to my body and resting. All of it is part of the healing process. I’m filled with gratitude: gratitude for these beautiful people who are in my life, and gratitude to myself for wanting to live so badly that I’m healing the past and letting peace and joy into my life. Gratitude for the lessons I’m learning. Gratitude for life.