You Don't Have To Do It Alone
Where are my independent people at? Ever since I was a child, I’ve been the self-reliant and independent type to never, and I mean never, ask for help.
It’s a character trait that has proven useful in some areas of life and detrimental in others. The time in my life that really highlighted the not-so-great aspects of being so independent was with my chronic hepatitis C diagnosis.
Even before receiving the diagnosis, I was already trudging through the health screenings and process alone. I didn’t want to burden anyone and I wanted to feel capable of doing this on my own.
I thought I was strong enough to do it all alone.
I wouldn’t share my concerns with anyone and got blood work done under the guise of a typical blood panel. My Dad, brother, and close family didn’t know anything was even happening until the day I came home with my diagnosis.
I had kept everyone out of the process for weeks as I scheduled appointments with doctors, ran tests, and carried the weight of what could be on my shoulders. It was lonely but it was what my independent streak led me to do.
Sharing my diagnosis with others
When I finally shared the news of my condition, I had a handful of people trying to step in and help. Hearing their concerns and opinions was endearing but also overwhelming.
It was the exact reason why I chose to go it alone in the first place. I could handle it without them. But did I truly want to?
The answer to that question was no and I only realized that once I decided to let my stubborn streak of independence slide. I asked my aunt to accompany me to an appointment to discuss treatment options and was surprised at how much better I felt.
To have someone by my side felt nice and helped when discussing all the details with my doctor. Another set of ears to hear, another perspective to ask questions, and another person there to look out for me.
Setting boundaries while giving information
From there on out, I decided that I didn’t want to take on this health journey alone. I started to confide in close friends and family members with boundaries set.
I asked that they please respect my decisions on treatment and lifestyle factors and not push their opinions on me. I also made it very clear that I didn’t want to feel ‘weak’ or like they had to take care of me.
It took some time but we all found a balance in this new way of living.
Whatever the hardship is in your life, whether it’s a hep C diagnosis, divorce, abuse, job uncertainty, mental health, etc., I urge you to let someone in. There’s no need to play the strong, independent role and go it alone.
You can still be a strong, independent person and ask/accept/seek out help. It’s actually one of the strongest, most brave things that you can do.