Asking for Help Isn’t Always Easy

Aging is humbling; it is about learning something new.

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Late last week I took a tumble off a retaining wall. I felt my right leg buckle. I reached for the air to hold me, however gravity had other thoughts.

Everything slowed down and went fast at the same time. I felt a sharp twist and the underside of my arm scraped along an unforgiving wall. Then a dull thump came as I arrived on the quiet ground.

If I could have, I think I would have laid there for a very long, long time.

Earlier I knew I had about an hour to get a few things done. Yet I ignored all the signs that chirped, shrieked and fluttered — Carolyn, you are getting tired. You still need to get back to work.

Instead I pushed through. Sometimes I do that. I get caught in a loop of should, must and keep-going.

There’s more and it surprised me.

While sprawled out on the ground assessing the situation, I was visited by two ghosts:

Fear and Failure. They viciously barked and growled.

“Get up!”

“Stop fooling around.”

“You are fine!”

Above all….

“Don’t cry.”

Fear and Failure drowned out each other with worry and admonishment.

“What if you broke your neck?

Hit your head?

Why don’t you ever think?”

For days, these two invisible entities battled it out. One on each side of me and both gutting my memory.

Oddly, I’m grateful they arrived because they propelled me back inside.

Although today, I’ve decided to rewrite the entire scene with a different dialogue.

Compassion arrived and immediately reached out a hand to help me up.

“Are you okay? Oh, my! You must be in shock and pain. Let’s get you inside and clean you up.”

“Accidents happen. I think you’ll be okay.”

“Leave the tools. I’ll come back and get them for you.”

“Please sit down. Here — let me take off your shoes and I’ll bring you some water.”

“And then I’ll take good care of you until you feel better.”

Compassion’s counterpart — Wisdom showed up as well.

“You did nothing wrong. That leg of yours is telling you, please go slower and learn to ask for help.”

Asking for support isn’t a weakness. We all need it from time to time. Letting others do what we can’t, balances the circles we can no longer carry alone.

All and all I’m okay. My pride is a bit scraped and bruised. I’m not as nimble as I was 5 or 10 years ago.

Aging is humbling; it is about learning something new.

It shook me up and slowed me way down. It brought me closer to what I can do and what I can’t.

Falling showed me how to be more vulnerable and even to ask for help.

Next time when my body says, “You’ve done enough.”

I’ll listen. She knows what’s true.

One final note Compassion and Wisdom told Fear and Failure to leave and to close the door quietly, because I needed to rest and write.

Carolyn Riker is a poet, writer and author. She has two books of poetry: Blue Clouds and This is Love. In addition to writing, she has a private practice as a highly sensitive mental health therapist. If you would like to read more of her words, follow her on Facebook at Carolyn Riker, MA, LMHC.

Dreamer. Poet. HSP. Empath. Licensed MH Therapist. 3 books published. 3X Top Writer. Love espressos & my chunky cat.

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