Learning to ask for help!
2 June 2023
By Zahava Robb
The first day I had to ask for help is the day I realised my limitations. There's nothing I can do to change this – I said to myself: “welcome to your limited body - the era of love and self-acceptance starts from today!”
It took some time to accept that I needed help. Despite all of my desires to live an independent life, there are quite a few situations in my life in which I need help. Luckily it didn’t take too long to figure this out, although there were certainly some challenges for me along the way. As a girl with physical limitations it wasn’t until I understood I could ask for help that my life became much, much easier.
So what actually happened? What made me realise I should stop being ashamed of asking for help, especially from strangers in public? At home I got all the help I needed - there were my parents and my brothers and sisters who helped with what I was having trouble with – outside the home it was another story.
This internal struggle I was in, to ask or not to ask for help, is quite common for people like me; how to balance the desire for independence, with the need to seek help when needed.
During my youth I really liked going to the beach, especially on Saturdays. As I was unable to sit on the sand on my own, I used to sit in the girls' locker rooms where they had benches for sitting. From time to time I would leave the locker rooms for a walk on the beach - I liked to walk on the sand close to the water's edge. On one occasion while I was walking, two children came running out of the water and ran into me. I fell to the ground and was unable to get up.
At one stage I found myself lying on the sand between two men who were playing paddle ball above my head. At least several hours passed – I was getting sunburned, dehydrated and very uncomfortable from the position I was lying in.
Why did I wait, you must be asking yourself? I was ashamed, yes, I was ashamed to ask for help. I didn't have the mental strength to ask for help, and from two handsome men who were playing near me, or from anyone who passed by me at those moments. The truth is that what I did do was pray that someone who knows me and knows that I can't get up on my own from the ground and will help me.
You got it right; no one I knew passed. Eventually I turned to one of the men who was playing with his friend and asked for his help to get up from the sand. He looked at me as if he didn't understand why I was even asking him for help. I explained to him that I was disabled, having had hip implants three years before, (they didn't see the scars because they are on the sides)
Of course he helped happily, and asked why I didn't ask them before, because they saw me fall but didn't understand that I was disabled. They were so engrossed in their game and thought I was just a spectator who decided to continue sitting and watching them.
The universe has the natural tendency to arrange things in the best way for us, and this fall came to teach me the most important message that has accompanied me since then to this day; it is not a shame to ask for help!
And for everyone who has some kind of disability, and you are parents of children with disability, help them learn to be independent in their lives, because independence is an important thing, but what is more important is to teach them not to be ashamed and to know how to ask for help, because asking for help when we need it, is independence in its entirety In the sense of the word, this is mental independence with which we also internalise the fact that we have a disability and there is nothing wrong with that.