Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good-bye Miss Independence

This blog is dedicated to my dad who passed away September 28, 2009.

As I was growing up my dad would often have these sweet father daughter talks with me. In these talks he would stress to me " Michele, it would be nice to see you married some day but.... you never know what may happen in life, so you must learn to be independent!". Then different discussion topics would follow that line. I would be told of the importance of getting a good education, making good career choices that pay well, how to change a tire or the oil, the evils of credit and the list could go on but I'm sure you get the jist. I loved these talks, and was fortunate to have them follow me into adulthood. I would often get them in a letter, with newspaper clippings and his opinion on topics he thought I could use his advice on. Thanks dad!

Because I valued his opinion, and for the record I followed his advice. I went to college, and I have a good job that supports my family, and he was right, my husband left and I had to support my family on my own. I love being independent, and I'm glad I had my dad as a role model. I can't remember a time when my dad ever asked for help, you either do it yourself or pay someone to do it.

I can remember as a young mom trying to take on the roll of supermom. Work full time, clean house, dinner at 6:00 soccer/dance practice, attending college, laundry, try to be a good wife, I did it all. If I couldn't do it all in a day I would sleep less and catch up at night. I was exhausted but never asked for help. No wonder my husband left, he was probably bored because I was doing it all.

As far as I'm concerned no-one could do my stuff as well as I could. Asking for help in my eyes meant that I would have to admit that I can't do it all, and that I am a failure. I always felt that if you asked for help people would think you were a leach. A leach was surely something I had no desire to become. I'm sure you know the people I'm referring to, those people who ask for help and suck you dry. Offer them a hand and they'll take an arm, licking their lips and scanning your body for their next meal. I definately didn't want to be one of "those people". Finally, I didn't want to burden anyone else with my responsibilities.

Well God must have been looking down on me and laughing, because nothing was going to change my attitude. I often think God gave me POTS to rid me of my independent, prideful, self absorbed attitude. I needed an attitude adjustment, and getting POTS did just that. There are so many things I can't do on my own anymore, and I either ask for help or it doesn't get done.

Asking for help isn't as demeaning as I had envisioned it to be. I've learned that Miss Independence was often doing it all alone. Miss Independence was often tired and resentful. Asking for help means that I get to do things with people instead of alone. Getting help allows me to use my energy on my family instead of using it on exhausting tasks that have little value in the long run. I've learned that allowing others to help me makes them feel good , as I know I feel great when I help a friend, so why not ask.

I will say I'm not 100% on board yet, it's still very hard to ask for help. I've struggled with being pushed in a wheelchair at Disneyland, having meals made for me, asking my kids to help more around the house, having a co-worker put up my bulletin boards or getting help with grocery shopping. Grocery shopping has been the most difficult. My dad and I did the shopping together until I left my parents house at 23. I loved shopping with my dad, my dad and I had our biggest laughs while carting our groceries through the store. I loved when he would give his best chinese accent in the oriental food section, then quickly go into his Spanish accent as we passed by the tortillas. But since I've been diagnosed with POTS it is probably the most exhausting task I have now, but the one I'm least willing to give up. As I am writing this I believe I have the answer to this problem, I think I'll ask my darling daughter Megan to shop with me or maybe my handsome son Sean, maybe I can pass on some of those joyful experiences I had with my dad on one of them.

Good-bye Miss Independence, Hello Miss Dependent, life's tasks are meant to be shared!

Always inspired,


  1. I am with you 100%. I don't like for people to know I can't do something! I am bad to make an excuse and push on and it's like my mind will lock onto a task and I keep pushing even when I know I should have already stopped and taken a rest... and then I crash and feel stupid for pushing past the point of no I was forced into asking for help since the silent migraine caused the stroke symptoms... forced because I literally could not do anything for myself if it required speaking or walking. Since all of this I now ask my mother in law if she minds giving me a hand around the house, and guess what... SHE DOESN"T MIND AT ALL!!! lol Pride is a big thing to overcome! Before these recent problems I knew deep down that I just could not keep up with the housework and the kids and everything in between but I was too stubborn to ask for help and basically we lived in chaotic Now I call someone, swallow my pride and say, Can I borrow you for some It's much more freeing once you realize that those who love you would love to help you!

  2. Michele...That was excellent and so close to home...Yet even in reading it and having it right before my eye's..Pride has been a huge issue in my life, for reason's i won't go into, but i have always' put my pride ahead of what really is best for me, it was my defence i guess, i can do it, i can manage, i won't have to owe anyone anything, i wont be looked down upon and just my sheer need to prove i could do it all on my own..Yet on the flip side i was the one that always' gave a hand, jump out of my bed at 2am if needed, which became quite often, always' the one who could be relied on to fix thing's up, no matter what exspense it came to me & my immediate family, i did this for so long, then i became ill not with just Autonomic dysfunction (in the severe form), Dercum's Disease, yet another very rare one, pituitary tumour, indeterminent thyroid leshion's and so much more, to much to list..Like many other's life is tougher than i could ever have imagined it could be, i have asked why so many time's,"but there are no answer's "why".I spent 3 hour's in an MRI machine today & was repeatedly asked if i was ok, of course my answer was yes, but no i wasn't and the whole time i was stuck in there, i kept thinking how much more of all this do i have to take, when is enough enough, why me, where has my life gone, what lesson am i being taught and after reading your blog..My outer family are so use to me being the strong one, it's not just me i did way too much, they can't accept me being sick & not being the one there to fix everything, which still to this day stop's me from saying HELP i need a hand, my incredible husband & two children need your support, as since i have no longer been able to fix or run for them, they have gone for the hill's and are no where to be found!! Some people just don't wan't a sick person in there live's, they are too busy with life, but you know what, "i am glad i was there for them all", every single time they needed help, because that is still part of me no one can take away and i have my wonderfull husband, daughter & son and i cherish every minute i have with them & a very special team of people i have met through this disease, whome i have met & become friend's with & know just how hard it really is & understand!!
    Your dad was precious and his memorie's will live on through you forever Michele!
    You have a gentle & kind heart!!!
    Well done & thank you for giving me some well needed insight, into myself it made me talk about some thing's i find very hard to open up about..Your a gem :0) Tracey!!!

  3. Hi Michele

    it's amazing how we all feel the same things. Circumstances may differ but the emotions and thoughts are the same. Independence wasn't just my middle name. It was also my first and last ones too. I was always the one that others came to for help, whether personally or professionally. Even in my family I was the parent to my parents even when I was a little kid. After a while it becomes expected that I'd be miss fix-it helping everyone else, especially in my family. Even now if I ask for help from my parents they will let me know in no uncertain terms how much helping me will inconvenience them. I think that has definitely shaped how I view asking for help now. I still find it really hard to ask. I have good friends who would help if I asked but I still hate to feel like I'm burdening them. Every now and then I do ask, so that is improvement on my behalf. Hopefully I'll get to a point where I don't feel so bad about it. Your Dad sounds like an absolute treasure. I'm so glad you had him in your life. From someone who didn't have that relationship with either parent, I say just treasure every memory.

    Michelle :)