Ask For Help

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Erik: What was most challenging about learning to ask for help when things got tough, and how did that breakthrough moment come about?

Hattie: You know, I had some things happen in my life growing up where I just kind of tried to trudge forward. I didn't want to make it harder for, you know, my loved ones or my parents or my friends - whoever it was. So I always - I never would ask for help. I felt that strength to me was never asking, having to ask for help. Like that in my mind growing up was what I equated to being a strong person and that's all I wanted to be.

And then I learned very quickly when I went through my divorce and I felt like I couldn't get -  I just didn't know how I was going to like put one foot in front of the other or how I was going to breathe or what I was going to do when I separated from my ex-husband. I didn't tell anyone until it was final. what had happened, because I wanted to protect him and wanted to, you know, and I continued to like go to work every day and to pretend everything was fine. And when people finally found out they said to me, "Hattie, I'm so sorry! But if anyone will be ok it's you. You'll be - you'll do great. Let me know if there's anything I can do but if anyone can make it through this it'll be you." And I really didn't feel that way at the time. I felt like I was going to die - of sadness or a broken heart. And it was really hard for me. I thought what have I done in my life that people don't realize how hurt i am right now or the fact that I'm not - maybe not going to be ok. But I was. And I got out of bed and I moved back to New York and I started my life again.

Then the real  turning point was I was climbing and got in an accident. I dislocated and shattered my left knee. I was with my cousin and her boyfriend at the time and I said to them when they asked me if I was hurt, I said, "I think I hurt my leg, but I'll be ok. I can walk out. I'll be fine."  Because I knew it was after dark and there was no tree clearance and I couldn't be airlifted. I walked out four miles on it - on a shattered, dislocated - I mean I put my knee back in place ,but it was like no bone left. And as a result I ruined my left leg. I went to the doctor. He was like, "Honey, after what you've been through give birth to 10 kids. You won't feel it." He's like, "I don't know any crazy lunatic who would walk out on a shattered knee and not say anything and not cry." I should have just in that situation told my cousin and her boyfriend that I was really hurt. I didn't .I didn't ask for help because I thought that would be the strong thing to do. As a result I ruined my leg. And that was actually the point in my life where I realized that it actually takes a lot more strength to admit weakness and to ask for help then it does to put up that facade.

I was so stubborn and kind of weak in that. I couldn't just couldn't just cry. I couldn't just say, "I'm really hurt. Like get me out of here." I destroyed my left leg. It took me three years of like insane crazy physical therapy and four surgeries to even get it back to normal again. And that's just because I couldn't ask for help.

Now when I see people who, you know, can cry and ask for help, I think that that's a level of strength that I really admire. I'm not there yet but I'm getting there. I'm working at it.