Living with one disability can be a real bitch let alone living with several. I’m known for my ability to turn any difficulty into a positive but I’m human.
As a human being who also lives with anxiety and depression, my brain often goes negative first and it’s from there I find my way to the positive.
Yesterday is a prime example. My wife wanted to go to an arboretum with the boys and I and I was having a flare up that made me want to stay in bed. I saw the disappointment in her eyes as we rarely get to do things she wants to do. So I got myself moving and off we went.
I used my wheelchair to get around and I became tired quickly in the humid air. I kept trying to muscle through it as thoughts of, “I don’t want to slow anyone down,” “I don’t want to be an inconvenience” entered my mind.
I felt conflicted as I really needed help but was making myself feel guilty. Until I heard a voice from behind me ask, “Do you want me to push you Dad?”
My 15-year-old Aidan saw me struggling. I responded, “Do you mind buddy, I’m starting to get tired?”
“Not at all.”
I felt such a relief.
Something about being offered help in that moment felt better than asking for help. My ego was protected, I suspect.
After a bit, I took the reigns back, until we approached an incline in the path. With collar bones that like to partially dislocate I knew it was unwise to try and muscle my way up.
I asked Aidan if he wouldn’t mind helping me up the hill?
I helped a bit so it wasn’t too hard on him.
It felt like a team effort and I expressed my gratitude to him for his willingness to help out. He seemed eager to help but unsure as to when to do so. His willingness made it easier to ask.
As I reflected on the day and the guilt I created early on. I realized that had I continued to selfishly protect my ego the whole time, I likely would’ve been miserable and I wouldn’t have had those special moments with Aidan that came via his helping out his old man.
I was reminded that there are many ways to model strength. One of them is a willingness to ask for help.
It’s like I teach in my Resilience Warriors Program. Vulnerability is an act of courage because it invites someone to join you in a very human moment and trusts them to support you there.