I think that a lot of people with chronic health issues have varying degrees of trouble asking for - and accepting - help.
For me, at least, it's not so much about pride or maintaining an illusion; I'm well aware of myself. I know that I am not a particularly strong woman, in any aspect of my life. I am often easily thrown down emotionally by one thing or another, I bitch when I'm uncomfortable, and I'm afraid a lot of the time. I don't hide my weaknesses - I don't have the strength or energy to waste on being anything but myself.
For me, asking for and accepting help are hard for reasons which developed a very long time ago.
Ever since I can remember, there have been people who reacted negatively when I asked for help I needed. So, I learned that asking was bad, something to be embarrassed about.
Often, when people did help me, it was with a lot of grumbling and resentment. So, I learned that, if people helped me, I was being a burden.
These people weren't strangers, either- often they were people who claimed to care about- or even love- me.
More than once, someone would start out insisting that they wanted to help, to be there- only to decide that the task they had taken upon themselves was too much for them. Inevitably, they distanced themselves.
So when I find someone who's willing to help me, and does so without complaint or impatience, it frankly leaves me stunned. It breaks my brain to have someone who sees me struggling and reaches out without reluctance, without me asking. Who treats me, the whole time, with kindness.
I find that I have no words for them to express why that means so much to me.
Even if I had the words at the time, I would struggle to express them, because I'm afraid that they'll be misunderstood, or make that person uncomfortable.
So, I'll take a shot at expressing them in writing.
Thank you. I will say that to you a million times, because I honestly don't feel that I can communicate it enough. I am so incredibly touched by your kindness, your patience, your willingness to help me, because it's something I am rather unfamiliar with. It means a lot, and counts for more than you realize.
Please know that my reluctance to let you help isn't because of you.
Please understand that apologizing for being an inconvenience is hardwired into me by now. So, too, is my embarrassment for needing assistance in the first place.
Please don't forget that when I say 'Thank you' over and over, it's because I can't think of what else to say, because this level of kindness, patience and compassion is alien to me. I don't know if I'll get used to it.
Please remember that it's almost a certainty that I will never expect your help.
But I will always be grateful for it, and happy that I have a friend like you.