What’s Your Help-Seeking Strategy?

After he had been fortunate enough to have survived a heart attack while in the Emergency Ward – where else would you want to be? – I was delighted to hear my husband, Roberto, telling a friend he was glad he’d trusted his feelings the night before when he asked me to call an ambulance. After 34 years together, this was music to my ears! Finally, feelings, albeit physical, were being given their due!

Rather than toughing it out and minimising what was happening, he had paid attention to his body and responded accordingly. And although I didn’t get to bring him home the next morning as expected, we were so grateful for the pain that was the warning sign of what was to come, the help we had accessed that was readily available to us, and that he is now feeling better than he has in a long time. How blessed we are!

As a couple, our capacity to see the funny side of things has gotten us through multiple challenges. So, as we sat together in the hospital laughing, Roberto told me that when the pain was at its peak, he said as loud as he could “I’m not going to die today!”, an intention I am so grateful he was able to fulfil. I mean we have a ‘contract’ that says when we leave this world together in about 30 years, it will be holding hands as we fall into a deep, peaceful sleep. So this would definitely mess with that plan!

On a more serious level though, I am sharing this not only to thank you who’ve been so supportive over the past month or so but also as a reminder to pay attention to the warning signs, especially when you’re not sure what they mean, and ask for help… sooner rather than later! At all times, and particularly in the current climate, where our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing are at risk, it is imperative that we ‘start noticing and responding sooner!’ This is the mantra I recommend my clients apply to issues of concern, whether it be in their relationship and family lives, at work or play.

So now, what is your help-seeking strategy? What do you do when something doesn’t feel right, is causing you pain, or is not okay; physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually? Do you tough it out and keep it to yourself, ignore it and hope it will go away, or pay attention, put up your hand and ask for help? Does your strategy give you the relief you want, and if not, what could you do differently? Whether from family, friends or professionals, help is there and it is a shared responsibility to give and receive it! So, if what you’re doing isn’t working for you then try something else. And if you’re a parent or interested in the wellbeing of our youth, you will find this article about the Help-Seeking Patterns of Young People informative.

I was so impressed by the staff of Gold Coast University Hospital for their level of care and their positive attitude. They validated Roberto for taking preventative action soon after he returned home from hospital, reminding him that this was a time of readjustment, always to trust his gut, and to seek help when in doubt. It would seem sage advice for all of us in these ever-changing times. Whatever the issue, if you trust your feelings, trust your gut and do something positive about it, you will not only help yourself, but no doubt, lighten the load for all who love you.

July 8, 2020

Perhaps the signs we least want to acknowledge are those which indicate that our physical wellbeing is compromised. Pain and discomfort are the body’s way of telling us that all is not well or that there are changes we need to make in our lives. If we ignore the symptoms in the early stages and don’t take responsibility for our wellbeing, things can potentially worsen and develop into illness and disease. By paying attention and recognising the warning signs we will be in a much better position to seek the help we need and minimise the harm that might otherwise eventuate.

Chapter 25 – Warning Signs Travels with Buster – A Journey of Unconditional Love


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