Asking for Help as an Act of Self-Care
For much of my life, I was driven by an intense fear of failure that prevented me from seeking help when I needed it most. This fear of letting go resulted in over-responsibility, overwork, micromanagement, and misplaced resentments. I neglected my own self-care, which had a detrimental impact on my health and relationships. However, as I prioritize my well-being, I am realizing that asking for help is not only a form of self-care but also an acknowledgment of my own self-worth.
In my late 20s, I developed debilitating palmar-plantar psoriasis. Instead of slowing down and addressing the issue, I pushed through the pain and suffered in silence. I masked the symptoms with medications and unhealthy coping mechanisms, which ultimately took a toll on my body and overall well-being. My uncontrolled psoriasis served as a metaphor for a life on the brink of collapse, reflecting my passive participation and emotional immaturity.
My wake-up call came when I collapsed from a perforated ulcer, a result of living a life full of excess. As I lay there, half-conscious and in pain, I realized I needed significant help. This marked the beginning of my journey of surrender, where I learned that seeking help before reaching a crisis point is crucial.
Part of this surrender involves prioritizing maintenance, monitoring, and prevention. I've come to understand that I don't have to be in crisis or on the verge of burnout to seek assistance. It's about recognizing that everyone needs help at times and reaching out to the right people for support. Building a care team of experts, including physicians, therapists, and coaches, has taught me humility and gratitude.
When I seek help from my trusted team, I'm not giving up or giving in, but rather preventing myself from becoming depleted. It involves being a good listener, utilizing available resources and frameworks, and committing to a plan of action. Various behavioral systems, such as WW, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and cognitive behavioral therapy, have helped me understand the root causes of my self-neglect and regain my health.
Asking for help is not easy for me, as I'm a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser. However, I've come to realize that it is essential for my well-being. In the past, I gave away parts of myself to feel whole, driven by a deep sense of unworthiness. In recent years, I've been fortunate to receive the generous support and guidance from those around me, and I've learned the importance of simply asking and receiving help.