Let’s establish two things:
1.) We all need help
2.) Asking for said help can be hard for some people.
Here’s a surprise, I’m one of those people. As a person with a disability, we’re kind of trapped in this narrative of “You can do anything, you’re so inspirational” by society and “You can do that, you’re just being lazy” by our parents. It’s sucks.
Help means two things to me and I bet a few other disabled people as well. The first meaning for me is everyone’s meaning, probably: when you fall and you need someone to help you get up, ie: crash on your couch, lend you cash, give you rides or talk about your shitty ex.
The second meaning of help is a bit unique to folks with disabilities and that help is simply called; livelihood. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, leaving the house, etc. Now, I don’t care about the livelihood help, I have to live and function. However, I do care about the other kind of help, which is unfortunate because I’m a millennial and our grandparents fucked everything up so we need A LOT of help. Therefore I shouldn’t feel bad about that! But I do because I also need the other kind of help.
Livelihood, for most people is autonomous and for me, that rests in other people’s hands. And I decided that if I can’t have bodily autonomy due to disability, I want “help” autonomy, I want to do it (read: everything I possibly can) myself, because if not I’m giving over complete control. So when my best friend offered to help me pay for graduation, I told her I couldn’t let her do that. When another friend was coming to spend the weekend with me, I cried in therapy for 45 minutes about how I was going to tell her that she didn’t have to help me, when I dropped stuff that weekend. The thing though is that none of that is realistic; friends help each other and I’d be straining a good thing if I forbid them from doing so.
I never want to feel burdensome to anyone, ever. Not because I need physical help and not because I’m having financial issues, but the thing is my friends nor the people hired to help me ever called me a burden. I was brainwashed to think I was one and unlearning is an admittedly a long ass process. I still get anxiety when I need to ask for the help we all need, which means I still have quite a bit of unlearning to do and that’s just fine. If someone offers help, it still takes me time to figure out the gracious enough response to send and accept the help and that’s also just fine.
Whether you’re like me and don’t want to ask for help for reasons that have to do with your pride or you just want to know that only you can take credit for you, Look at it like this:
You don’t need help all the time, you do some kickass things by yourself. No one is superwoman so you can’t do everything on your own. You’re not meant to, do you know how lonely of an existence that would be?
So relax, accept help from the people you know want to help you; even if it’s just baby steps.