The kind of help I haven’t gotten
Folks ask me how they can help in the best way. The biggest kind of help needed by far, is the decision-making and charge-taking variety. It is also the kind I have gotten the least of. Curious how this can be? Read on.
Yes, walking the dog and doing the dishes are great. Yes, dropping off food really helps. And if you have done either of those for me, thank you. And yes, please, continue. And yes, things that are trivial for you are not trivial for me now, not at all.
However, the kind of help that I am most desperately lacking is someone able to evaluate the situation as it changes and make decisions. Someone alert, aware, and capable. Someone able to delegate and coordinate. Someone that can decide what it is that needs to be done when other folks ask how they can help. Someone that can explain the tasks to others. (I frequently can’t come up with what would be helpful or direct anyone that offers to help.) Someone that can make phone calls and keep lists together. Someone that does not need consistent direction and instructions, while being able to accept any and all feedback from myself, however weak or tired I am at the moment, and however poor my expressive style is right then. Someone excellent at paying attention and observing all kinds of signs without the requirement of direct verbal communication.
Ironically, I am that person and more when I am well. The catch is that I am not well now.
You don’t really need to be me. You don’t really need to take on the full list of things, or know what the right action is every single time. But damn, having someone in charge of any aspect of my current existence would be so immensely helpful. The biggest requirements are the ability to pay attention to changing circumstances and needs as well as the ability to take charge of the situation, as opposed to distancing whenever issues come up.
I’ve kept trying to organize this myself. I can’t. I’m overwhelmed. I’m currently sick (coughing and losing further sleep on top of other things). I keep trying to figure out how to explain and express these things better so maybe someone in my extended friend circles can help with any aspect of this, and I am failing. I know this needs to be done/sorted/figured out. I know this would produce the biggest change in my life. And I can’t do it alone.
Every time I’m a smidge better, I don’t ask for this. Because hey, I’m a smidge better. I can handle the then-current situation okayish. And you’d see me mostly when I’m better, when I’m able to walk or have a conversation. So hey, you decide that I got this, and things aren’t that bad. Well. They are. Paying attention to what you don’t see is a special skill, and we humans are generally bad at it. There’s a lot to my recent life you don’t see.
Folks, the need does not go away because I have better moments. The need changes from more to less desperate and back again.
I am asking for help. Right now. For something I can’t really do by myself.
I am asking for help with a thing I can’t define well. I can’t ask “the right person”. I can’t ask at the right time. I can’t explain things well, negotiate on times and schedules, and generally be accommodating/reasonable/put together.
Really, the time I need help the most is when I am capable of asking the least. I need people to be checking up and coming by without me asking explicitly. I need the default assumption for the time being to be that I do need help, especially when I am not asking. I need folks not to wait for a clear well-articulated request. My agency can be satisfied by me saying “yes” or “no” to a proposed plan of action, but I can’t be the one doing the proposing or brainstorming.
Oh, and a few people have expressed surprise that for “someone as social” as, well, me, and for someone “knowing as many people” as I do, no one would step up into a role like this and set some things up, whatever those things may be. It’s true, folks. No one has.
I’m 5.5 months into this hullabaloo. I’m facing all kinds of decisions/choices/realities daily that are exhausting in and of themselves. Nothing is consistent, either, and that wears me out further. My energy oscillates. I do my best. Frequently, my best is staring at a wall and crying.
For the crying, I will take the comforting. I do need it pretty badly. And I also badly need socialization, gosh, all the socialization. And to be hugged and held (because touch is healing, dammit). I will also take all the help with chores (oh gosh, thank you all who have contributed). But I also desperately need someone or multiple someones to help me with the thinking and decision-making.
And no, you don’t need to know me well in order to try to step up somehow.