I have been told by more than one person that I am not good at asking for help. When I am really struggling and in emotional pain, I tend to turn in on myself and avoid others. I also don’t contact friends who I know are there for me. And sometimes, I struggle on with things that I am not particularly good at when I could just ask someone to assist. Why?
A very interesting article by Van Vleet and Helgeson, (2019) argues:
Accumulating evidence indicates that communal coping is beneficial for individuals with chronic illness.
This study examines attachment as a moderator of communal coping with persons with type 2 diabetes. What on earth does this mean in ordinary terms?
Attachment is how we relate to ourselves and those around us. And our attachment style determines our behaviour. The Behaviour school 2020 helps us understand this:
What is Attachment Theory?
Attachment Theory is the single largest predictor of success in your relationships, whether they are romantic, familial or platonic.
There are four types of Attachment Styles, all with different characteristics:
Do you often flip-flop between hot and cold, sometimes confused about how you feel towards your loved ones?
Do you find that your romantic partner or loved ones pull away frequently?
Do you find yourself fearing commitment and constantly craving space and freedom?
Do you find you can effectively communicate and feel vulnerable in your relationships?
Often, if we have had a tough start in life, then we will find difficulties in our adult relationships, especially the intimate ones. I own it; sometimes I run away from others. I am fiercely independent and am fearful of getting hurt.
I was interested to read about evidence for ‘communal coping’ with terminal illness. I haven’t read much on this, but I think it means that when dealing with terminal illness and I would argue Covid, we often deal best with this by getting support from the wider community. And recent news articles have shown this to be very true. I saw a lovely news article about a running club where people are running for their own mental well being and running (excuse the pun) a prescription collection service at the same time.
However, the good news for us all is that hope is central to all this. I am writing this blog because I am on my own hope adventure with Hope holding my hand. I am determined to change. So I am planning to ask for help more and share my pain more and accept help when it is offered.
The recipe of hope for today is to look at the attachment styles above and consider your own. If you, like me, struggle to let others in, then give it a go. Be brave and ask for help. If people have let you down, give them another chance. And if you are considering ending life, then please please ask for help. If you are at the end of being able to cope with physical or emotional pain please call a helpline such as The Samaritans (116123), or Mental Health Matters (0117 923 2741) There are wonderful articles on websites such as MIND also. You are not alone.
I am a rock; I am an island: Implications of avoidant attachment for communal coping in adults with type 2 diabetes (Van Vleet, M, Helgeson, V.S.) Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, available at : https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407519832671#abstract, accessed 07/06/2020
The Personal Development School 2020, available at:
https://attachment.personaldevelopmentschool.com/ accessed 07/06/2020