Can’t I do this myself?

Your question:
I was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and I am really trying to face up to this condition and maintain my independence. But there are days when I know I need help. My family is telling me that I am being stubborn when all I am trying to do is be a Fighter. When is it time to ask for help?

Gary Answers:
Fighters may have a reputation as the ideal role models but they aren’t always good at seeking out support unless someone shows them how much worse things will be if they don’t.

Fighters often view themselves as so in control of their situation that they can handle every aspect of it on their own, including not only making decisions about their treatment, but also continuing to do all the “heavy lifting” in their daily lives, like self-care, transportation, and home maintenance. Does that sound like you?

Since you received your diagnosis, you are most likely concerned your relationships with the people around you, what you want them to know about your condition, or whether you want them to know at all.

Have you asked yourself what you can expect from the people in your life? You may be talking to yourself about the care and concern you will receive from some of the people you are closest to, your partner or other family members, and how their involvement will help you with the challenges you may encounter. Or, you might already be feeling guilty about any burdens you feel you will be inflicting on the people in your life.

No matter what area of your life you need some help in, opening yourself up to your friends and family, as well as the wide range of professional and voluntary services that are available in your community, can make all the difference in your treatment experience and your ongoing adjustment to any necessary lifestyle changes.

You are being hard enough on yourself when you deny yourself the opportunity to reach out to people who can, and will, offer you support.