Life Rehab Resource: Ask for Help

ringo "helping" me do laundry

ringo blue “helping” me do laundry

“I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands.” ~ Avicii, song lyric from Wake Me Up

It’s hard for me to ask for help. I am the helper. I provide support for others. I fix all the problems, anticipate the needs. When I find myself overwhelmed, confused, unable to handle what is happening, I don’t reach out. I am convinced that I should be able to do everything myself.

Right now my life is difficult. I took on too much at once — a new project at work, a new puppy, a sick dog, and yoga teacher training. At the same time, I am still working with the grief from the loss of Dexter, and even Obi and Kelly before him, as well as deep sadness about other things. I’m also working with a therapist, trying to heal 30+ years of disordered eating, distorted thinking. Because I’m so busy, I haven’t been taking care of my body like it needs. I feel weak and tired, sluggish. I’m convinced I am failing, making a mess of things even though I am trying so hard, doing the best I can.

A few times on Facebook, I requested support. I was asking specifically about raising a puppy, needing to hear from people just how long things would be this hard. I’ve done it three other times, but am suffering from some sort of amnesia about how this works, and keep getting stuck thinking this is how it’s always going to be, that the difficulty will never end. But every time I post about it, ask the question, it seems like people don’t take it seriously and end up either joking with me or offering more general encouragement. This helps, but I am desperate for a timeline. When will this ease up?

So I asked for help directly. Stacy Morrison is an online friend. We’ve never met in person, but follow each others blogs as well as being connected through other social media, and have developed a friendship that way. We have a similar way of seeing the world and are working with similar struggles. She also just so happens to have a six month old puppy, a Lab/Terrier mix, so I knew she would still remember, be able to give me an answer. I reached out.

Her response was immediate, direct and compassionate. What she said didn’t change the specifics of my situation, but I immediately felt better about it. The support she offered made all the difference. And all I’d had to do was ask.

There is no shame in needing help. There is no shame in weakness, illness or sadness or confusion. There is no shame in being overwhelmed and not knowing what to do. We don’t need to hide our broken hearts, our struggle, our suffering. Telling the truth, being vulnerable is how we access the support we need, is how we heal. We can start by admitting we can’t do it all ourselves, that we can’t fix or handle everything that comes our way.

Go ahead, kind and gentle reader. Say it with me: I need help. Can you help me?

16 thoughts on “Life Rehab Resource: Ask for Help

  1. Rose

    First off, that picture of Ringo in your laundry hamper is ADORABLE! Don’t you love it when the pups do stuff like that, and you can actually capture the moment? 😀 And this is a lovely post, a good reminder that we DO need to ask for help, and, if we would just ask, we might just receive what we need. I am glad your friend could be there to ease your puppy concerns. I know I wish that I had received more advice when Kizzie was a puppy, but maybe I should have asked.

  2. Lisa Kaftori

    Dear Jill,
    It’s a great act of courage to ask for help! So great that you are allowing yourself to reach out. We’ve raised two Labrador pups and like human babies both we’re very different personalities. Our first Lab, Dylan, required lots of constant attention for about two months- he came home to us when he was 8 weeks old. After the first challenging two months it was smooth sailings and he was an extraordinary being in every possible way . With our second, current Lab, Max, it was more of a challenge.For various reason he came home to us when he was 6 weeks old- very young- and he was very needy. Not destructive at all but constantly wanting to be picked up and mouthing/ biting my hands with his razor sharp piraña teeth. ( I remember looking at my scratched , bleeding hands and crying and for a bit wishing we had not adopted him- he was such a handful.) Max cried in the car, barked at everything, needed to go out several times each night… Our vet had told us that for proper joint development he should only walk 5 minutes for every month of age so he was exploding with energy – it was crazy! This lasted for about 3.5 months. When he was 4 months old we brought our adopted son home and by that time Max was fine- it was as if he knew we needed help with the new baby and he was right there with us gentle as can be. With Max and. Gabriel is was love at first sight. 9 years later Max is fabulous- still going strong! So hang on! One thing that helped us was grooming- we had a soft brush that we would groom Max with every day- sometimes several times a day. This calm him down and for some reason was very different than petting which he loved but seemed to be a kind of play indicator for Max – like ticketing for kids. We also started play games- hide and seek with his favorite toys to give him extra mental stimulation. That helped engage him and also wore him out:-) Max was an adorable puppy so people didn’t take our requests for help very seriously either. Looking back I think friends saw the cute, happy puppy in my arms ( I am not the type who could resist picking him up when he was crying) and just couldn’t relate to the idea that he was anything but adorable. Bottom line, we all need help at various points in our lives and it’s okay for big hearted people like us to receive as much help as we give. You probably project a very strong, self sufficient image so people may have to shift their consciousness to understand that you need help and that it’s hard for you to ask… When I read this post my first thought was- even though Jill is feeling overwhelmed she is lovingly and very generously showing up to help her community… Love to you and lots of virtual support❤️

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Oh, Lisa — thank you. I couldn’t respond to this right away because it made me cry, the way you saw that I probably seem like I’ve got it together so people don’t realize I might not be handling things that well. You are so right. And sometimes, it’s hard for them to accept it when they do, when they typically depend on me to take care of things, look to me for support.

      And thank you for sharing your experience with your pups. I wasn’t writing as much with our first three, so I have to depend purely on my memory of how it was. I know all our puppies were hard, and Ringo is a different kind of hard. Being a Cattle Dog he is super smart and independent, and that level of intensity is complicated because we have Sam, who isn’t entirely well, needs special considerations, can’t just play and play with the puppy. One more month and Ringo will have had all his shots and we can all go on walks together, and that is going to make a BIG difference.

      Sending you so much love and gratitude. ♥

  3. dottiedoodle

    I’m so glad you found some help. Raising puppies is tough. We have our first, now a year old. We adore her, but have had some difficult times. Being able to go for walks was a huge step forward. Also finding a good puppy training class transformed our relationship with her. We were bottom of the class every week (cairn terrier, very independent) but always had a great time and came away laughing. We’ve just come back from a day at my in-laws house and she behaved beautifully. I wouldn’t have thought it possible a few months ago. So it does get better, all the time.

  4. Tricia noble

    Love you blog , , , , my daughter has had an eating disorder , from the age of thirteen. We have good and bad weeks , I could never see any good in the condition. She is now 22! And is now a mental health nurse, , , , and is helping others “……. Don’t get too busy ,,,,,,, everyone needs time too do nothing . Don’t answer me Take A Break x

  5. Mary Montanye

    I haven’t had a puppy in a long time, Jill, so can’t really help you there. But did want to tell you how much this post touched me. I am so like you regarding being the helper of others and struggling to ask for help on my own. So all I can offer is my cyber hugs and very real love. So glad you reached out. Oh … and one last thing … I’ve learned that when I get in this place you described I have to be brutal with my schedule. What can I change, drop, get out of so that I can my wants and needs (as opposed to those of others). xoxo

  6. Alane

    hi jill, that is such a cute picture of ringo. the highs & lows of raising a puppy. here’s my two cents: do not spoil ringo or let him get away with bad behavior. i’m living w/a spoiled 3 year old golden and although we love her dearly, her nickname is Naughty Belle (her real name is Katie Belle) i’ve gone back to keeping the leash on her in the house, making her sit/stay for everything…. the discipline and consistency is really important & easy to let slide. try not to… you’ll pay for it in the end. remember you are top dog! 🙂 xo xo

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Oh boy, Alane — trust me, we know that we really have to teach him now what we are okay with and what we aren’t. Cattle Dogs are very independent and can be willful, so you really have to make sure they understand they are in a relationship with you, not a one man show.

  7. Misty

    First, that is SUCH a cute pic of Ringo.

    Second, I would tell you 3 months for the majority of the kinks to be worked out in communication, potty training, better bonding.

    I will tell you a very big secret that until now, only my husband knew. I am a MAJOR dog lover. Yet, when we adopted our Pom, Loki, I was in so much shock over his energy, vivaciousness and general puppiness disruption of our happy home and older dogs that as I collapsed exhausted into bed one night, I actually pondered out loud if maybe we should return him to the couple we’d adopted him from (I am horrified to even be writing this). I would NEVER have actually done that, but I was so overwhelmed I was looking for an escape hatch. I will also admit that my constant stress over this situation stressed out my Sam completely. That is something I really regret but just did not see in the midst of my exhaustion at the time. Loki definitely picked up on my fatigue, my frazzled nerves – but to his credit, he never doubted my love for him. Four years later, I have a Pom who quite erroneously thinks I hang the sun and the moon every day. I am Mama and my husband is “Not the Mama”. He is Sam’s “Mini Me”, and he bonded so thoroughly with our pack that he seriously believes he’s a Border Collie. I probably have the only creeping, stalking, tail dropping, eye-giving Pomeranian on the planet 🙂 and I am so grateful that I have him. I will give you the advice my wonderful husband gave me that night: “You’re tired. Get some rest. He won’t be a puppy forever.” Hang in there, Jill. You are not alone. You WILL get through Ringo’s puppyhood, I promise 🙂

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Oh, Misty — I know exactly what you mean. And I am able to be gentler with myself about it now because every time we’ve had a puppy, the thought has crossed my mind that “we made a terrible mistake, we have to give him back.” What I know now when I feel like that, what I remind myself of is how much I love my dogs later, how it broke my heart to let Obi and Dexter go, and that I will feel just the same about Ringo. ♥


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