As I’ve started relying more on people for things I used to do on my own, it’s become easier to ask for help without feeling like a burden. This toxic thought has been a challenging mental hurdle, but it’s one we all deserve to get over. With compassion, understanding, and patience, boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and our friends, family, and caregivers can start to feel like less of a burden.
I can’t say why other guys and I feel this way. If you don’t, more power to you. Because, if you look at it from a broad point of view (one could say a “Hawk’s-Eye View“), it’s not our fault we have this disease.
However, society produces this image of independence and doing it all yourself — whether through social media, television, or views of the “average” person. It doesn’t work so well for people like me.
I don’t want to be the person who takes away from another’s fun.
Getting help in the bathroom might make them uncomfortable. They probably won’t want to invite me back. What if being my friend is too much of a hassle?
These are all thoughts that enter my head when I ask for help. The problem is I’m focused on what someone thinks without even knowing their thoughts.
Forgetting what others may or may not think is the first step to overcoming our misplaced “burden” mentality. The next step is showing compassion for the person helping you. If you shower them with gratitude, they’re going to have no problem helping in the future. Receiving compliments is far from being burdened.
But if you do not show them appreciation and treat them as your personal butler, that’s going to be a problem. Caregivers, family, and friends have their own sets of difficulties, too. Making it feel demeaning to help you will add another difficulty. You may actually become a burden. Our emotional disposition makes a bigger difference than you think.
This step flows nicely into the next one, and they relate closely. Understanding is vital to a working relationship in which you do not feel like a burden. The old adage that “you don’t know someone unless you walk in their shoes” rings true here. When both parties in any kind of relationship are open and respect each other’s differences, neither will feel like they are holding the other back.
Finally, we all need a big dose of trust and patience. When I ask for help (if it’s not urgent), I trust that person will eventually get to it on their own time. And if the person knows us really well, they’ll help us without having to be asked.
Friends of guys with Duchenne need to have some patience, too. Things take longer for us, and that’s something you’ll have to get used to.
Both guys with Duchenne and those who help us in our daily tasks should keep these things in mind. Unfortunately, there are people who will view us as a burden no matter what. Roll away from them on your power chair as fast as possible. But the good news is most people love to help others. Asking for help should not be a burden; it should be an opportunity to get to know someone better.
Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.
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