Dealing with Guilt when Asking for Help

by - 05:08

If you are living with any sort of illness, physical or mental, it is very likely that you have had to ask for help on certain occasions. Even if you have spent the week in bed with a bad cold, you probably asked your housemates to make you a cuppa a couple of times. The difference lies when you are living with something chronic, the guilt around asking for help constantly can end up being devastating.

As someone who quite often depends on help from others, be it making me dinner, changing my sheets or helping me to the loo, the guilt I feel when asking for this help can often become all consuming. It is something I am still working on, but I feel that writing this post is one of the ways in which I can help myself towards letting some of that guilt go, and hopefully help someone else going through something similar.

Last week I dislocated my hip. This is the first time I have ever done this fully to my hip and it has been so tough. I ended up having to go to A&E with my boyfriend who is a 3rd year Engineering student. As you can imagine, a whole day spent in hospital means a lot to a final year student, and I felt terrible. The pain has meant that I have spent the whole week in bed, relying on help from my housemates for every meal/cup of tea/shower/room tidy. As you can imagine, the guilt has been pretty intense. 

When I feel guilty for asking for assistance, the first thing I do is try to figure out whether the guilt is justified or unjustified. I ask myself, have I done something to warrant feeling guilty, i.e. upset someone. If so, the next step would be to make up for this. However, more often than not, the guilt I feel is unjustified. Asking for help with something I would otherwise be unable to do is not something that I should feel guilty for. Even as I write this, I am thinking back over times where someone has gone above and beyond for me and feeling of guilt are creeping in, but running through the little justified/unjustified checklist can be really helpful.

If you are in a similar situation, imagine what you would say to your best friend if they were feeling this way and you were the one helping them out. What would you suggest to them? Probably something along the lines of, “this isn’t your fault” “you have nothing to feel bad about, I am happy to help” etc.? Well next time you have these thoughts, try and apply the same advice to yourself. You deserve the best, and you are not a burden.

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