Woman helping another woman finish a climb up a cliff.

Help, I Need Somebody

I often hear some of you that have COPD say that you have no help. I believe people when they say this, but I also know that sometimes we need to ask for help. I, for one, am not good at asking for help. So, I am sharing my story in hopes it gives someone else the strength they need to admit they need help.

I was comfortable living on my own

I was highly independent and strong-willed until April 2019, when I got ill and was diagnosed with COPD. In my mind, asking for help was the equivalent of openly admitting that I was weak. At that time, I had lived alone for twenty years and had what I considered an essential role in my community. Being fiercely independent was my modus operandi.

Asking for help might make me look weak

When I came home from the hospital with oxygen, my main goal was to get strong enough to go back to work and live my life as I had in the past. But the fact is that life as we know it can change on a dime. No way did I want to confess how hard the day-to-day basics of my life had become. When I look back at that first year, I realize I just closed my eyes and pushed real hard. Quite frankly, I forced myself to carry on dangerously hard. I got up every morning, grabbed my portable oxygen machine, and drug myself to work. I hid my weak moments from those around me.

Along came COVID-19

By March of 2020, the COVID pandemic had hit, and everything was changing. I continued to work until June, but it had become evident that I needed to retire for physical reasons. Not long after the pandemic hit, my significant other and I decided to cohabitate. It was a great decision, but as we began to muddle through the experience of our life together under one roof, my independence began to backfire. It became vital to our relationship that I learned to lean on others.

I was wearing myself out and not accomplishing what I needed to, but simply too stubborn to say the four words that could make it all better, "will you help me?". Somewhere along the way, I began learning that life can be so much easier if I seek out some help and support. I started trusting other people with my truth. The truth is that I function better when I am open to asking for and accepting a little help.  We all need a little help sometimes.

It never hurts to ask

So, if you are like me and are out there struggling, thinking you are stronger because you are self-sufficient, I encourage you to ask for some assistance when you need it. Sure, there is the possibility that you will get turned down or no one is around to help you, but you will never know unless you ask. Sometimes, someone out there would love the opportunity to lend a helping hand. 

If you can't get the help you need from a friend or a family member, reach out to your local senior's center or a medical professional. Being self-reliant isn't always a sign of strength. It might just be stubbornness.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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