You would expect those closest to you to best understand your limitations. They don’t always. I suffer from arthritis among other things. Pain is a daily – minute by minute part of my life.
Many of my family members treat me as if I’m just being lazy when I am unwilling to do certain activities. One of my sisters always has her family events in her basement. This is fine for everyone except me because I cannot do stairs. It hurts that she is so inconsiderate of me, but at the same time, I don’t want to demand the party be in another part of her house because it is her house.
Cooking has become very difficult. I can’t stand at the stove long enough to watch items cooking. This means my husband is stuck cooking. More than that though, I need to have items packaged in a way that is easy for me to grab and go. It sounds ridiculous but to make a sandwich by the time I’ve gathered all the items to make the sandwich I’m almost in tears from the pain. To gather items for breakfast and lunch during the week, I look for simple solutions like poptarts (not a health solution).
I don’t mean to complain – the people in my life have the best intentions. I can sit and do nearly anything – cut things up, package, season, mix, and so on. However, walking around to gather or standing to cook is painful.
Most people just go through their morning routine and if they forget something it is just a run back to get it. What I do is plan out my steps – literally, I plan every step of what I will do because the more steps I take the more pain I’m in. If I forget something, I gauge whether it will be worth the pain of retracing my steps to get the item – especially if I have to go back up steps.
I wish I could do all the things I used to. I miss taking hikes, cooking, doing all the everyday things I used to. Sometimes I feel stuck in the recliner. I often feel like a burden when things need to be done or I want things done but can’t do the tasks myself.
In the past, if I wanted a room rearranged I would just do it. Now it is impossible for me to do this type of task on my own. I’m a take charge type of person, if I don’t like how something is I just fix it. Sadly I can’t anymore so I have to ask. This makes me feel like a burden on those I have to ask. I’d rather do without than ask. If I don’t ask then people won’t look at me as lazy. If I don’t ask then I am not beholden to people. And yes I know if I don’t ask then it won’t get done.
I’ve gotten good at telling people what I can do but I’m not very good at telling them what I need help with. Is this because I’m stubbornly independent? Is this because of the reactions I’ve gotten from people in my life? Probably a bit of both. If I think on this logically I know people are willing to help but there is still that voice in me that says do it yourself or let it go.