It appears that I am not alone when it comes to my inability to ask for help. Talking to other hidden supporters out there the pattern continues.
Asking for help is the very antithesis of Britishness. We must retain our stiff upper lip at all costs. Personally, I can be struggling round the DIY store with a trolley load of decking or battling a monstrous hedge root out of the garden, and I’ll quite happily wave off any offer of help with a “no, no, I’m fine, thank you”. Even when I had my child I insisted on proving to the world that I could cope, keeping the house clean and baby safe at the expense of rest and the few moments of sleep I could have taken. Why on earth do I do this? Why do I insist on pretending that I don’t need help when actually two hands would make light work?
Personally I believe that if I accept help I will be troubling the person who offered it, or potentially I might be viewed as weak. Plus I’m a bit of a control freak. So I carry on regardless as numerous pulled muscles and bruised toes will testify.
But what if those cuts and bruises are emotional, hidden from the world. Am I really doing myself or anyone else any good by not troubling the person who offered help and bottling everything up behind my stiff upper lip? Can I really support someone when I have no one to turn to?
No one likes to admit to weakness or to feel like they are a bother to anyone. Plus the stigma associated with depression can mean that you feel it needs to be a secret. One thing we all need to learn though is that when help is offered, it is genuinely meant.
Next time I am offered help, I will take it and receive it gratefully. Life is too short for mistaken pride.