Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do Ask, Do Tell

There has been alot of hullabaloo lately about the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy in the military.  Personally, I think everyone should be accepted for who they are.  That isn't what I wanted to write about today, but the title just kind of came to me, so I went with it.
What I do want to focus on is speaking up for what you need.  People don't ask questions because they feel embarrassed, think they will look stupid, etc.  Generally, if one person in a group has a question, others probably do too, but are also afraid to ask.  If you speak up, and ask your question, not only will you not look stupid, you will look attentive, intelligent, brave, etc.
Two areas where people have trouble speaking up are with their doctor, and with their loved ones.  People go to the doctor, and don't mention some of their problems because they are embarrassed.  Why do you go to the doctor?  Because he knows how human bodies function.  It is his job to figure out what is wrong and how to make it better.  He can't do his job if you don't speak up. When you go to the doctor, ask your questions, and be open and honest about how you are doing.  If you give the doctor the answer you think he wants to hear, rather than the truth, that helps no one, and may lead the doctor to give you the wrong treatment. Sometimes people do speak up about an issue, then don't let the doctor know that they don't understand his reply.  If you let the doctor know you don't understand, you not only help yourself, but you also help the doctor know he needs to be clearer with his patients, and his other patients will benefit as well.
With loved ones, sometimes we may feel like we complain too much, so we say we are fine when we aren't. How can others get an accurate understanding about your issues if you don't tell them?  Of course, remember that there is a difference between telling and complaining or whining.  Part of speaking up is asking for needed help.  Being 'strong', and doing more than you should do can increase your pain or other symptoms, then you are more likely to suffer and want to whine.  Instead, ask for help.  People usually want to be of help, but they don't know what you need if you don't tell them.  For more thoughts on asking for help, read my post titled  'Its Okay To Ask For Help'. For ideas on 'How To Explain Your Illness To Others', read my blogs with that title, part 1 and part 2.

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