September 7, 2017
I am horrendously bad at asking for help. I am the living version of the phrase ‘it’s easier to do it myself’. I’ve known this for about 10 years now, and whilst I’ve had pockets of time where I’ll really face into it and get a grip I’ve never managed to nail it. Pre kids it had much less of an impact (although at the time it was every bit as stressful as it is now) but now we have two small fry in tow it can really derail things.
My head runs at a thousand miles an hour. I have several lists on the go at any one time because if I think of something I need to do / buy / write / read etc if I don’t make a note of it I can guarantee during a night feed I’ll be wracking my brain for what it was, all the while not noticing that the little has done with the milk cafe about 15 minutes ago and I could now be back asleep. I always work better from a list – holiday packing, general house admin, supermarket shop, books I want to read – if it’s documented I’ll do it. Eventually. Maybe.
The problem is, when you try to do everything yourself (for no reason other than I think it’s quicker) you can cripple your energy and shut other people out. I’ve been pretty independent since I left home for uni all those moons ago, but I’ve never really accounted for life getting more complicated and perhaps the need for drafting in a bit of help. I have an incredibly supportive husband who, when I do talk and share the load, listens and takes on whatever I need him to but as you may guess that means I actually have to start by sharing what’s buzzing around in my (sometimes) foggy brain.
I have the support network there, I just have to use it. I’ve created this (false) picture in my mind that because we don’t have any family locally and our friends are all busy with their lives that it creates more hassle and drama to ask. I’ve been pretty narrow in my view of ‘help’ being somebody coming round to have the kids, or help with jobs (which is still lovely and massively appreciated by the way!) but my needs have been a little less ‘practical’ than that – I actually need to spend less time living in my head and more time living out loud. The help that I’m needing is to talk more.
Over the last couple of years I’ve sashayed my way down the introversion end of the introvert/extrovert scale and I’ve shut down my chattier side, taking most of my energy from myself and a small group of friends. That was a big change for me who had previously been pretty loud, loving of parties full of new faces and relishing the opportunity to be a social butterfly whenever I got the chance. I know why it’s changed, and I’ll share that in more depth with you in a dedicated blog post soon.
I’m super comfortable with my introversion – I find big groups of people energy zapping and a bit anxiety inducing now, but I’ll always try to give those situations a go too. What I’m not OK with is that this newly found introversion has made me even worse at asking for help. I’m not saying that goes for all introverts, we’re all unique after all, but definitely for me it’s been an unintended consequence.
Blogging is going a long way to helping me get out of my thoughts but I’m making a commitment to myself – the next time I think ‘I’ll just do it myself’ I’m going to ask for help. It’ll be baby steps because my inner control freak will battle it but I’m going to do it. I might be winging it, but I’ve got a smashing group of people around me to bounce off!