A LITTLE EXTRA HELP

  Don’t be afraid to admit you need help with not just your mental health, but also with everyday tasks. It’s a hard job to fight an illness of the mind. It takes a lot out of you mentally and physically. It becomes hard to take care of your physical needs as well as your daily tasks, such as cleaning your home, filling prescriptions, making meals, going to work on time and so on. It’s hard to admit you need extra help. We all want to be independent and we hate to admit we can’t do it all on our own, but there is no shame in needing help.

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   Before I met my husband, I tried to move out of home a few times. First time I moved in with a friend and her husband. I was responsible for myself. It started out we were going to share the grocery bill and food, but my friend started labeling her food and telling me I had to buy my own groceries. My friend started complaining I wasn’t doing enough to help out around the apartment. The truth is I found it hard to keep up with cleaning and managing daily tasks. I had a hard time remembering to take medications and even what side to park my car on. I also made bad choices.

   To my friend and her husband, I was lazy and useless. I even overheard her telling someone I couldn’t cook or do anything right. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do those things, but I found it a struggle to take care of things while dealing with my mental wellbeing. It was during my first recovery. Even though I was emotionally stronger, I still had to take care of my illness. Recovery did not mean I was healed. My friend started putting mean notes up, accusing me of not doing things right and treating me bad. I fell apart and had to move home.

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   The second time I left home I moved in with a girl whose parent lived below us. She did her own thing and I did my own thing. I’d forget to eat meals, I’d forget to take medication, I would miss appointments, I would mess up my work schedule and so on. I also did not take good care of myself physically. When I started slipping into my sickness, I began to struggle even more with daily tasks. I met a guy and, in time, I moved out and in with him. Things got worse.

   The guy turned out to be abusive and I slipped deeper into my illness. I called off from work a lot and I couldn’t take care of his home and myself. Once again I moved back home. I told my parents I was only going to stay with them until I could get my own place, but my parents thought it would be best if I didn’t move out. We discussed that I needed extra help.

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   I stayed home with my parents while I worked on my illness. My parents helped me with the daily tasks I struggled with. They made sure I took care of my physical needs, also. They provided emotional support. They kept me from spending too much time alone dwelling on my sadness. They helped me with daily chores.

   I lived at home until I met my husband, Lou. He gives me lots of extra attention and he makes sure I take my medications and I get them filled on time. He texts me each morning so that I don’t over sleep and I make it to work. He remembers my work schedule better than I do. He refuses to allow me to go to work sick and makes sure I get to all my appointments. He also goes to all my appointments with me. He keeps my psychiatrist informed on how I’m doing.

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   I do things on my own and I also take care of my husband, but he gives me extra help. I’m not useless or helpless. I just need some assistance with a few things. I get forgetful.

   Mental illness is an internal battle and a constant battle. Even in recovery, I have to fight to stay well. It takes focus and concentration to keep well. I have to continue to practice my coping methods. Sometimes my mind wanders into negativity and when that happens I concentrate on how to turn my thoughts around. My mind is always busy. It’s hard to admit I need help with everyday things, but I’m not ashamed of it. My husband loves to give me the extra help I need and I love him for it.

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   In a way I’m independent and in some ways I’m dependent on my husband. I may not ever be able to live on my own without someone to help me, but I’m not ashamed. It’s okay to ask for extra help with not only your illness, but with everyday things. Since I’m willing to ask for and accept help, I stand tall within the light.

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