1. Ask - are there things where friends or family might be able to help? Don't assume what they will be able to do or not do. Asking is the only way to find out. To lower stress when asking for help, be honest about the need, but make sure people know they have the freedom to say no if they aren't able to help. If they can't help, they may know resources where you can find help. People in chronic suffering situations often endure more than they have to because they worry about about being a burden or are too ashamed to ask for help. Let this go; ask for help when needed. It's ok! Things that are easy for friends and family to do might be helping with meals, giving you or your kids a ride, helping with chores, accompanying you to a doctor appointment, etc. What else can you think of? Share below!
(Side note - it is important not to overwhelm family and friends with tasks outside their ability or time. Remember they have needs as well and you want to be considerate of that. Be honest about your needs, but make sure you have good communication with friends and family so they can be honest back about their ability to help.)
2. Research - If friends/family are not available, there are many resources out there that you may not know of. Don't assume doctors/experts will tell you about these resources (they usually don't know of them). Support groups and online forums are often a good place to start researching and don't forget the good ol' internet search. Also, did you know there are medical social workers who can help you find resources? Did you know there are charity organizations that help with a wide variety of different illnesses and financial situations? Did you know there are volunteer caregiving groups in some areas for those who don't have friends or family? Whatever your need may be, start researching! There just may be a group out there that can help. If you can't find a charity to help or if you are able to afford paying for help, then move on to step three.
3. Hire - sometimes when going through stressful times, we have to humble ourselves and hire someone to do the work we wish we could do ourselves. Research comes into play here also, however, as you want to make sure you hire reputable people who will be compassionate and professional. Don't rule out friends or family here - you may know someone who needs a few extra bucks. :-) In fact, hiring neighbor kids or teenagers to help with some chores can be a great way for them to earn some spending money while also learning life skills. This gives you a ministry while you're receiving help which will encourage both you and them. Things to hire out may be dog walking, lawn care, house chores, laundry, etc.
Whatever your need is, you are not alone. We just have to reach out to different sources sometimes in order to find the help we need. Don't give up!