I’ve been on disability for approximately 8 months now, and I now consider myself a housewife and full time mom. However, executing my duties has been anything but easy and I find myself needing the help of others more than usual. With constant flares and one to two doctor appointments a week, I often ask for help on a regular basis.
But there are people who assume that since I’m now a stay at home wife and mom, I should be able to get everything done on my own. So when I ask for any kind of assistance, they are reluctant to extend a helping hand.
The common misconception is that I have so much time on my hands and I’m no longer “working” — so my life is a lot easier now.
Caring for two young children, along with keeping up a home, is a job in itself. I’m a mother, nurse, maid, cook, tutor, and so much more. Along with that, I’m dealing with constant pain and suffer from joint stiffness every single day. I currently see my doctor every week due to the severity of my conditions and I’ve been suffering from bad pain days more frequently.
Sometimes all I want to do is sleep. My oldest daughter is in school but I still have a 3-year old at home and she requires constant supervision. On bad days I wish I could take my medication and sleep it off so I’ll feel better once it’s time to pick my daughter up from school, but finding someone who understands that is hard to come by.
It’s not that I don’t want to take on my responsibilities, but I’m on disability for a reason and sometimes people tend to forget that. They offer to help in any way, but when the time comes they’re too busy. Or in many cases, I’m too embarrassed to ask for help for fear of what people may think because I’m constantly asking the same group of individuals.
Most people work and have their own lives, so being bothered by my requests for assistance is the last thing they want. But I’ve offered to help others even though I don’t feel 100 percent, so why can’t someone who has their health do the same for me? It isn’t as though I ask the same person every time or that I ask them to do everything for me. Sometimes it’s something as simple as watching my daughter so I can go to my doctors appointment.
But sadly, some of the people I do trust with my kids won’t even be honest about their refusal to help. They make up excuses or lies instead being upfront about it. I’m an adult and I don’t expect people to want to help me all the time, but lying to get out of it isn’t necessary.
I guess what I can’t wrap my head around is why some people claim they want to help in any way possible, when they have no intention of keeping that promise.
Stress and depression play a big role in my health, and it’s impossible for me to be stress free when I’m constantly looking for help because I can’t count on anyone. Then depression sets in because I realize my circle of friends is getting smaller and smaller every year because of my health.
If I had the money, I would hire someone to help me full time. But I’m not receiving anything from social security because my claim was denied and I’m currently appealing, so my husband is the sole bread winner.
So if you’re a friend or family member to someone who is ill and suffers from chronic pain, realize that they require a lot of help. Don’t offer to help if you don’t really mean it.
Put yourself in their shoes. One day you may get sick or reach an age when you may not be able to do things for yourself. If you want a good group of people willing to help out, then make sure you were among the helpful.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.