Giving help to someone with multiple sclerosis, or any other disability for that matter, can be fraught with difficulty for the well-meaning person. And that difficulty comes as much from our reaction as to any mistake on the part of the person offering to help.
Yes, we all like to do what we can, to maintain as much independence that we can and we have all met people who show an amazing amount of insensitivity; virtually forcing us to begrudgingly accept their interference. You know the ones, they don’t so much offer to give assistance as swing into action to give help before you have time to react.
Be honest, how often have you felt “put upon”, that the offered assistance was really unwanted and unwarranted interference? I suspect, more often that most of us would like to admit!
Additionally, many of us have often fought to preserve our much-valued independence and used, intentionally or not, a terse “I can manage” or “I don’t need your help” – probably said snappily.
In the face of such responses, it should be no surprise that so many people who could help decide not to do so. In fact, fearful of being given the proverbial brush-off, they often don’t even offer.
It really does not cost those of us who are disabled to be polite. We can all learn to treat with courtesy the people who want to give their assistance. That’s not to say that we always have to accept, far from it, but surely we can say “thank you” for the kind offer while politely saying that we are able to do it ourselves.
Saying “no, thank you, I can manage” doesn’t have to be rude or give offence.
Like cleanliness, you will find that politeness costs nothing. What’s more, it doesn’t hurt. No, really, it doesn’t.
50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.