- "I’m not okay"
- "I’m in pain"
- "I’m having brain fog and I feel like my brain doesn’t work"
- "My joints/tendons are flaring"
- "I don’t know how to ask for help"
- "I’m worried you will judge me if I tell you how horrible I am feeling"
- "I’m pushing through anxiety"
- "I’m scared you are tired of hearing me be honest about what is happening to me"
I am guilty of using "I’m fine" when I’m not. When I do that, I am robbing the people around me the opportunity to help me, and more importantly, I am robbing myself of a good life. I am putting myself further into isolation. I am sabotaging my recovery by bottling up how I am really feeling.
I admit, I was not someone who easily asked for help. It made me feel weak. It made me feel inadequate. It made me feel useless. Then I would sink into further isolation because I was so hard on myself. And then I would be in more pain because stress aggravates my physical health. It became an endless cycle.
I made the decision to reduce my stress by divorcing myself from stressful people and situations and to surround myself with people who inspire and encourage me, and who are willing to help me. I made a conscious decision to turn "I need help" into something positive so that I wouldn’t have to sink into the desperation of "I’m fine". "I need help" is no longer a weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
In my position as President and Executive Director of Quinolone Vigilance Foundation, and as someone who was severely injured by Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, I am very fortunate to work with a great team. I have learned to delegate responsibility without feeling guilty about it, and as a result, we get a lot done.
The same goes for my personal life. I have wonderful people in my life who feel helpless about what I go through and they see me struggle.
How am I changing "I’m fine" to "I need help"?
- I realize that asking for help is not a weakness. I am choosing to turn it into a strength. I make the choice to make asking for help into a strength. I realize what my limitations are and that benefits my health and my sanity by recognizing that.
- I have learned what I need help with and who is best suited to help me with it. People are more eager to help than you might think. I have come to realize that it is just as difficult for the people around me to watch me suffer as it is for me to go through it.
- I have learned how to say NO – even to myself. Taking things on that will cause me more pain, frustration, anxiety, and a decline in health is no longer an option because I value myself too much to accept anything less. Having Fluoroquinolone Toxicity does not make me less of a person; only I have that power and I will not allow that for myself any longer. Accepting help makes me feel better physically and emotionally because I’m not hard on myself from the frustration and I am not causing myself further injury by trying to do it myself. Putting myself in a position that could cause more injury and frustration could set me back for days, weeks, or longer. I learned that the word "No" isn’t the negative word we think it is. Giving yourself the power to say "No" only means that you value your health more than pleasing people.
- If someone I love became disabled and was embarrassed by their disability, I would do everything in my power to help them. I realize now that I don’t have to be hard on myself for something that I would never want for someone else.
- I no longer hold myself to the standards of my Pre-Toxicity life or dwell on what I can’t do anymore. I realize I can’t do it and that’s okay.
- I realize that I have more support than I ever gave anyone credit for. By saying "I’m fine" when I wasn’t, I was effectively creating my own prison. Changing that to "I need help" was the answer to my freedom. I don’t have to be isolated or frustrated because we’re in this together. Not to sound cheesy here, but there really is strength in numbers.
- There is no such thing as "All or Nothing". Once I freed myself from that mentality and I challenged myself to reach higher than my illness and limitations by allowing people to help me, I found myself less stressed, less frustrated, and I was able to be more productive while staying true to my strength.
So, how about it? How about we say "No" to "I’m fine" and put power and strength behind the words "I need help".