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Why Do Arthritis Patients Hate to Ask for Help?

Asking for Help Is Synonymous with Less Independence


Updated March 18, 2013

Why Do Arthritis Patients Hate to Ask for Help?

Arthritis causes physical limitations.

Photo by Lisa F. Young (iStockphoto)

It's Not Easy to Ask for Help

Sometimes people with arthritis need help -- but you may be surprised to learn how many people hate to ask for help. Why won't they ask? What is it that holds them back?

Think about it for a moment. Arthritis causes physical limitations that interfere with daily living activities. Usual movements that most people take for granted, such as reaching, bending, kneeling or walking, can be affected. Decreased range of motion in the joints make certain tasks harder to do.

If you want something done, you either do it yourself or ask for help. People with arthritis who cannot do some tasks are forced to ask for help -- and most hate having to ask. It's obvious that people would rather be self-sufficient, but in some instances, when they can't be, many arthritis patients would rather do without. Interestingly, the type of person who hates to ask for help is usually the first in line offering to help someone else. They just resist asking for the help that they need.

Forum Members Share Feelings About Asking for Help

We asked our forum members this question: There are many occasions when you need the help of another person -- for big things and things not so big. Do you find it easy, difficult or impossible to ask for help? Here's what they had to say:

Ask for help? HATE IT! I don't like admitting I can't do something. I think that started when we first married and lived on my husband's family ranch. It was all men (real cowboys) working there, except me and my mother-in-law. They jumped when she looked at them, but I had to prove myself and fight off the harassment. Since then, I've been very independent. A[n] "I-can-do-it-myself" kind of person. To admit that I need help was my first hurdle. Then I have had to learn to ask. That's been harder. It's like admitting failure or giving in to the disease. Sometimes I just can't ask, and I'll do it and then pay for it, or I'll let it go until whatever it is gets so bad it can't be ignored.

I hate, hate, hate to ask for help. I think, in part, because my family does so much for me already, I just don't like asking for more help. Plus, it infringes on my independence when I have to ask. It's always for something that any able-bodied person my age should be able to do, and it bugs me that I can't [do it].

I don't think others really understand the personal toll rheumatoid arthritis takes on a person -- their feelings of being useless and "less than." My body is raging a war inside of me that others cannot see. One of the reasons I hate to ask for help is because it reminds me of what I can no longer do -- without hardship -- the pain and fatigue can be very depressing.

For me it is a problem with receiving. I am a very giving person; however, the minute people try to give to me, I put up a wall. It is something that I have been trying to work on within myself. I really put up the wall whenever I am sick. I never knew I did this until my pastor pointed it out to me. So yes, I hate to ask for help, and there are only three or four people in my life that I feel safe enough letting them do things for me. I usually do not have to ask them, though -- they just jump in there and do things for me. I am blessed with good friends.

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