Friday, July 29, 2011

Thoughts on Help - omg'dss it's long and rambling!

My therapist said to me two days ago, “You don’t accept help” or “You have difficulty accepting help.” Or did she say, “You have difficulty asking for help.”?

I’m thrilled to say we have a difference of opinion ‘cuz it can be traumatic to confront an authority figure. I get 100 points on the courageous-acts-scoring for daring to disagree! And, my therapist will figuratively pat me on the back for acknowledging my disagreement in two weeks when next I see her.

I definitely want help.

However, what you think is help may not represent help to me at all.

It is critical when you “help” that you and the “helpee” are resolving the same perceived crisis.

One person’s definition of help is another person’s definition of trouble, danger or abuse.

If I were a business person considering an opportunity, you’d expect me to analyze and decide whether it is of value to me.

As a consumer, it is my right to say, “this product meets/does not meet my needs”.

I am:
  • previously homeless;
  • currently housed only because a group is paying a third of my bills (I call that “me-accepting-help” on a monthly basis by-the-way);
  • not in the best of health;
  • coping with a lower than anticipated income due to unexpected circumstances still being dealt with; and
  • unable to meet my survival needs.
I am still a business person and a consumer, with the same rights when I assess *help* that is being offered to me.

Yes, I want help.  (I don't suppose you know anyone willing to come in daily and help me dry scrub Borax into the carpet and then vacuum it up in the evening for another two weeks, so I can finish dealing with my allergy to flea bites?  It's wearing me down. And I don't even have any animals in residence.)

  • The fact that I am starving is a symptom. When it happens repeatedly it becomes a pattern.
  • Resolving for the symptom does not solve the challenge.
  • Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results does not solve the challenge.

    Someone handed me some some spinach to eat as I left to catch the bus Wednesday.  It was important to that person to tide me over for that moment. Yes, I’m grateful. Yes, I needed it. Yes, I accepted it.  Yes, I munched it down.

    Yes, that solves the immediate symptom, however, the symptom is going to crop up again, and again, and again, and again and …. many agains.

    Does it change your brainstorming suggestions if I say, ”I’m depressed ‘cuz I perceive no change available to the pattern of me starving for a number of days each month”?

    Oh, the D-word. That changes things entirely, eh? Say the word depression and two things struggle to come out of people’s mouths:
    Are you going to hurt yourself or anyone else?
    Why don’t you take a pill prescribed by a doctor to stop the depression?
    Talking about depression in public is on a par with talking about death. It’s a social taboo.

    By-the-way, no, I’m not suicidal, no I will not take prescribed (or non-prescribed) pills or alcohol to mask depression. And I have a brilliant therapist, so I’m *safe*.

    However, even copping to having depression is yet another way to be stigmatized by narrow-minded people.

    Just like the word “homeless” brings about stigmatization.

    It’s also a social taboo to turn down an offer of assistance. If you handed me a loaf of bread, a package of sliced cheese, a package of hot dogs; a carton of milk, and a couple of oranges – you’d most likely feel you gave me healthy food and resolved my immediate dilemma.

    Two points:
    1. If I ate your offering I’d wind up unable to think (wheat, red meat & sugar); congested (dairy, wheat &; salt); blood pressure skyrocketing (salt); with mouth sores (orange); and with a headache and sticky, congested inner ears (processed foods & chemicals used on non-organic foods).
    2. Your offering does not help me alter the fact that starving is only going to happen again when my body signals it’s hungry as I have no means of obtaining healthy food for half the month.
    Yet, if I turn down your offering there’s a 90% chance you’ll look askance at me with an internal musing of “she just turned down help, she doesn’t want help”.

    Seldom am I asked, “What have you explored to resolve this issue?”

    Most often, I’m told, “Well, have you done this?, what about ________?, have you tried ________?”

    I am an intelligent, articulate person, used to solving problems. Yes, if I have a problem it’s not usually something I’ve just whipped up in my imagination. Chances are I have already found out about (or implemented) the first- and second- round of brainstormed resolutions.

    That said, there are some things I have to tell you "Treat me as if I were a Kindergartner while you are explaining this."  Trust me, if I say that phrase to you, I mean it.  I generally know when I'm not understanding something.

    The fact that issuance of my SSDI check on the third of August is caught up by a bunch of people who cannot agree on what is and isn’t important on a national scale is something I don’t have the energy to focus on. I'm too tired from Boraxing my rugs daily to give much thought as to what will happen if I don't get my scheduled SSDI payment on Wednesday.

    Constant hopelessness wears you down in any situation in life.

    It’s one thing to ask for help, it’s another to have to ask for it continuously.

    I am not the only person this is true for.

    Listen to those who are homeless.  Listen to the 99ers.  Listen to the elderly indigent.  Listen to the youth indigent.  Listen to those with low-income.  Listen to the middle-class who are becoming low-income.  Listen to the upper middle-class who are becoming middle-class.  Listen to the upper class who are afraid of losing their way of life.

    Listen to anyone. Actually listen to them. Put your work, your next meeting, your next telephone call, your next social media interaction, your next entertainment moment on hold for 15 minutes. Just be with someone and encourage them to talk. Listen.

    I hear my friends and associates saying to me, “talk to us” and “why don’t you ask me for help?”

    What would you have me ask you for and how often would you have me ask it?

    Money every month?  Food every month?  Rides and helping me schlep stuff for my advocate and personal endeavors at various and sundry hours, particularly at night when the buses to my local area dry up and the one-mile walk from the nearest stop becomes very dangerous?

    If this particular lack of food was a one-time thing I could ask for a couple bags of groceries to get me through the next few days; or $200 to get me through the next 30-days foodwise.

    It’s not a one-time thing. It’s been 4 months and will continue for I don’t know how long.

    What kind of help do I need? I need to finish dealing with the impossible things I learned as a child and have carried into adulthood. I do that through an excellent Wellness Program at a shelter. The therapist who facilitates these programs is worth her weight in gold (or fresh food, depending on what you value most).

    I know some of you are persistent about “what can I do to help?” So for you, I'm putting up a list of what I physiologically need at the bottom of this post. (The food I need EVERY month, the items are one time deals.) If you read something that you feel attuned with, then you can connect with me about it.

    That's the most effective way I can think of to let people know, otherwise I'm constantly talking and dwelling on it.  I've got to say, I'd much rather be putting my focus on finding ways to smile because the frowning is changing the structure of my face, and except for my severe periodontal disease and poor eyesight, I pretty much like my face.

    What do I expect from anyone?  And what do I expect to be able to give to people?

    I love that you care. I love that you are aware. I love that you make time. I love that you listen to me. I love that you let me listen to you. I love that you spend your energy and time to express and interact with me. I love that I am on your radar.

    I love that you consider whether or not to take the time to write out your thoughts on this diatribe and post said thoughts in the comments section.

    Remember this – I’m housed.
    I’m not sleeping on the streets and in danger of skanky people traversing those self-same streets.
    I’m not directly confronted by the cold and heat of each day without any protection from it.
    I can go to the bathroom when I feel like it as long as I have something to wipe myself with. TMI?
    I can take a shower or a bath when I feel like it.
    If I don't have any clean clothes because I cannot afford the quarters for the laundry machine, I can wash an outfit by hand the day before.
    I have a place to be where no one else can come in unless I open the door.

    In comparison to a huge portion of the global population, I am well off.

    And I am grateful for being in the position I am in.  Even if it's miserable.  It's another opportunity,

    :) Here, have a smile, I have some hidden away for times like these.  It's always good to have a stash of smiles.

    The list for those of you who want to know what I need:

    • Raw shelled Sunflower Seeds, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts
    • Dried: Organic Adzuki Beans, Large Lima Beans; garbonzo beans/chick peas
    • Dried, textured soy protein
    • Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta (Gluten Free)
    • Ancient Quinoa Harvest Supergrain Pasta (Gluten Free)
    • Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
    • Yellow Corn Grits/meal (for making polenta – not the denatured white grits)
    • Chia seeds
    • Dried goji berries
    • Cold pressed extra-virgin kalamata olive oil
    • Fresh uncut pineapple
    • Fresh organic:
    • Apples, key limes, bananas, celery hearts, red onions, green onions, blueberries, whole unpitted dates, grapes, papaya, peaches, plums, raspberries, carrots, cranberries, figs, watermelon, avocadoes, cucumber, tomatoes; potatoes; yams; parsnips
    • (No oranges, lemons, mangoes, strawberries, cantaloupe)


    • Periodontal Care (I estimate six-figures easily, since every tooth in my head has to be pulled and replaced so I can breath without flinching, eat without wincing and chew regular celery stalks for their texture rather than having to food process it so I have a chance of digesting what I ingest.)
    • Chiropractic and massage therapy for my disabled arm/leg issue.