Skip to content

What I (an Autistic ADHDer with PDA) Need To Be Able To Ask For Help

I’ve been told for most of my life that I need to learn to ask for help.

I tried so many times, but it just resulted in getting re-traumatised in various ways.

Today however, I asked for help in a big way for me, and doing so meant I actually managed to avoid a meltdown.

The reason I was able to is because of the connection @OhMiaGod and I have built together over the last year and a half-ish.

It took a long time to actually ask for help with ANYTHING to start with, but over the last few months I’ve found myself being able to do it more often.

Asking for help isn’t just a one time thing to get used to either.

There’s different issues with asking for help with different things.

Some of the work is unpacking internalised ableism and capitalist propaganda.

Some of it is learning what you actually need.

But most of it is finding someone you can trust.

Notice I didn’t say ‘learn how to trust someone’, which is something I’ve been told too.

I know how to trust someone.

But to do so, I require them to prove that I should.

I used to think that was an awful way to think about it, but I get it now.

I think there is nuance around the difference between trusting someone in specific contexts, and trusting someone with yourself.

I can trust someone to look after something for me.

I can trust someone to do a specific thing for me. Or many specific things.

But to be able to ask for help, I have to trust them with me.

Every bit of me.

I have to be able to be vulnerable around them, knowing I’m not going to get hurt.

They have to understand me and what I need.

They have to understand not just the thing I need help with, but also why, and what kind of response I need from them.

Some examples of types of responses (some which work for me and some don’t):

Straight to business
Emotional support
‘So proud of you’
Making a joke of it

Some other important things that they need to understand:

How to say they can’t help when they can’t in a way that doesn’t trigger my trauma.

What I need reassurance on, and how to do that.

How to spot and point out things that might help me that I maybe haven’t noticed.

This is all just my own personal experience of course, and I think it’s very relevant that I am an autistic ADHD trans person with chronic pain.

Trauma from how I’ve experienced life because of my identity is why I am how I am when it comes to asking for help.

And anyone who has told me that I need to learn to ask for help in the past without considering this, has probably contributed to reinforcing why I can’t do that.