Days like yesterday happen sometimes - you feel rubbish in your mind and body and every task becomes a huge problem. My chest infection still hasn't cleared so I can't take my proper medication; the result is that I'm back to pre-diagnosis symptoms. It's annoying, but over recent weeks God has given me the grace to be dealing with it well. And then yesterday happened.
I'm very thankful for a faithful friend who, after hearing my dramatic account of yesterday's traumas, asked me this morning, "How did you deal with it?" For me, that question showed me the key to whether I go to bed having had an Awful Day or not.
The reason that I was so stressed by how I felt was that I was trying to do it alone. Despite overcoming many fears (and a huge amount of pride) about asking for help this year, there are still moments when stoic endurance seems best to me. My friend's question made me realise that I didn't deal with it. Refusing to get support meant nothing could change yesterday afternoon.
But today I realised I could be different. Having slept little overnight and still feeling physically rotten, I texted my mum, mother-in-law and two good friends, all of whom have helped look after the Little One today. I've been able to sleep, rest and eat properly. I've also been able to think through yesterday's events and what they mean for me.
Another thing I'm learning it's that letting people help you can benefit them as well as you. As I've let my mum and some close friends do my hoovering, look after the Little One and give me lifts, I can feel our relationships deepen. When I'm at my most vulnerable, I'm also most real. And who doesn't want a real friend? Spending extra time with people also gives us more opportunity to chat about how they are. I hope I can be a good friend by listening, and hearing about their lives helps me become less focused on my own issues.
So, it wasn't a great experience, but here's what I'm taking from my Bad Day:
- Ask for help when you need it. There are wonderful people who I trust and who I know want the best for me.
- It's not always a big deal. While a task might involve pain and difficulty for me, it is probably easy as pie for someone else. So asking them to do it for me isn't as big a deal as I imagine. Cleaning the bathroom might be a marathon to me, but I need to remember my perception is a little warped at the moment.
- Warning signs. It's not OK to be unreasonable with the Little One. Losing it with him is a sure-fire indicator that it's time to ask for some help. Barking crossly is not allowed!
- When the boot's on the other foot... When someone asks me for help, I need to recognise the privilege this is, and honour their request, if I can.