I have a lot of trouble accepting help that I need but don’t want.
I recently started seeing a new therapist and she has to help me with the stairs in her home every time I see her. We spent the last session working through a lot of negative feelings that I carry around in association with my impairment: embarrassment, unworthiness, shame, frustration, and sadness. She said that a lot of people are grateful for help when they receive it, but that I get angry and defensive when people help me.
I said to her – as I have previously blogged about – that I always apologise to anyone who helps me. I apologise any time that I need help or ask for help. I consider needing help, asking for it, and receiving it Bad Things, and I feel guilty when people help me or feel the need to help me.
At the end of my most recent therapy session, I thanked my therapist for helping me down the stairs but forced myself not to say sorry when she did. I told her that I’d made sure not to apologise for needing the help. She said that it was a step in the right direction and gave me a friendly goodbye hug. I notice that I still apologise when I need help or get help from anybody but, in that moment, I stopped myself from considering help to be a Bad Thing.
Even if I did completely overcome my impairment, I would still need help from time to time. I have to keep working through all the negativity I carry around in association with Needing Help and to stop considering it a sign of weakness or a problem. I’m in therapy to get better, and shifting this paradigm can help me get better.