Are you good at asking for help?

A great line from a TV show (Star Trek) went as follows, "Let me help." A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over "I love you.”  The giving and receiving of help, is a very big deal to many of us, admitting vulnerability and asking for help is never easy.  

We all wish to be seen as strong and self sufficient.   IBS sufferers face a particularly difficult problem in regards to asking for help.  How do you ask for help with IBS?  It is a very embarrassing problem, and for many of us it is unpleasant to discuss the nature of our symptoms.

While we applaud those brave enough to discuss the frequency and classification of their bowel movements, for many it is beyond our ability to openly divulge these details.  The internet is often the chosen method of discovering about our IBS symptoms, as it maintains our anonymity. Thus our only real source of help comes from a screen.

While it can assist the lack of interaction ensures that it will never replicate the quality of actually admitting to some one that you need help.  A laptop can not put it’s arms round you when all you need is support.


For many sufferers the one of the hardest parts of their condition is that they feel obliged to suffer in silence.  We write this as we feel help is pivotal to successfully managing symptoms, we can not nor should not endure everything alone, it is neither brave nor wise to do so.

Asking for help is not a reason to feel weak, inadequate, or stupid. Remember, seeking help when you need it is a sign of strength, not of weakness. It's easy to deny you have a problem. It's hard to put aside your pride in an effort to fix it. As you seek help, you might feel bashful or embarrassed. Don't be, even if you're not seeking help for the first time. Think of it this way: asking for help isn't as embarrassing as failing at whatever's giving you difficulty.

Pride is the cardinal sin when seeking help. When you ask for help, you have to admit (explicitly or implicitly) that you can't do something on your own. It's an acknowledgement that you have your own personal faults and struggles. Remember that it's not a big deal! No one's perfect - everyone needs help at some point or another.

Going through life without ever admitting you need help is no way to live - people who are too proud to ask for help have to rationalize their stubbornness through increasingly complicated internal justifications. Don't be like them - suck it up and ask.

Who to ask?

If the person you choose to ask  is a friend, family member, or significant other, you have nothing to worry about!  Asking for help is a normal, everyday interaction between people who care for each other. Your willingness to ask for help (and give it back, when it's asked of you) is a sign of your closeness and intimacy. Asking for help can even be an affectionate gesture.

Even if your problem isn't a physical one, a change of scenery can be necessary. Personal emotional problems, for instance, aren't best discussed in cramped train cars or in your cubicle where someone can overhear. To avoid extreme awkwardness, discuss any serious problems you need help with in a private place.

We do not wish to patronize any sufferer with this blog, however we have personal and painful experiences of failing to admit we need help and then failure to act on that help appropriately.  We do not pretend that it is an easy thing to do for an IBS sufferer, made worse by that fact that you have no visible evidence of you condition.

IBS has shown a tendency to spiral into depression, when left unchecked.  If you have the courage to ask for help and admit that you have a problem there is a very strong chance this may be avoided.

How to Know when to Ask for Help

Understand your situation. Know why you're distraught or down, and what it is you're struggling over. This will help you understand WHY you are in such a deep hole

Figure out possible people that you could ask for help from. This could be anywhere from your principal, co-workers, or family members. If you see your options, this will help you make the difficult decision.

Find out how it could benefit you and how it could hurt you to ask someone for help. If the negatives overrule the positives, then maybe it 's a figure-it-out-yourself kind of situation. But if you find yourself liking the positives,you can just throw away the negatives.

Figure out how you would ask. This will help you decide whether it's best to ask, because you can play the role of the person answering. Think to yourself, "If someone asked me this question, how would I reply?". This is also probably how most people would reply, so don't be shy!

Make the decision. Remember, however, that talking about a problem will ALWAYS help, but if you feel strongly about not asking anybody, it is always your choice!

Please note:  All blogs and IBS Health articles have been written by IBS sufferers for fellow IBS sufferers.

We respect and appreciate all other opinions and write with the sole aim of providing empathy, support and ideas for others who live IBS everyday. We do not write cause offence.

While we have the shop and other sites, we have always ensured that we are ferociously independent and that our sites are free to use.

Back Help! “You are never strong enough that you don't need help.”   César Chávez