This is a 3 minute read.

‘Let me help you with that.’
‘Do you need help with that.’
What do you need help with?
You won’t be able to cope with all of that; I’ll help you.’
You can’t do it on your own. I’ll help you with it.’

At the beginning of diagnosis, I was in HELP HELL.

The biggest lie circulating the cancer community is that you will NEED help.

The word help (when repeated lots of times) starts to tell your brain that you can’t manage and you need help.

Anyone and everyone wanted to ‘HELP’ me and it made me feel like I wasn’t able to help myself. So I started to believe them. I started to believe that I needed help. According to a large number of people I needed to become part of online support groups and immediately be a part of face-to-face support groups in my community. I needed help and support – according to others. According to ‘cancer survivors.’

This was when I started spiralling. The support groups I spoke with were more about telling each other stories and complaining about how hard it is. Sure there are people sprinkling their positive energy, but for some reason there was always the story about how hard it was first then the story of how they ‘survived.’ What I realised is that if I was going to ask for help, then I would become a person who was always asking for help and getting caught up with people asking for help. Did I really need help or something else?


Back up is a term I used when people said to me that I need help and they wanted to help me. I would quickly pause them and reframe and say.

“Hang on, I don’t need help, I need back up.”

Say these out loud and tell me which one make you feel the most powerful:
I need help
I need support
I need a backup team

You are asking for the same thing. You want assistance or guidance. The word HELP implies not capable. The reason people don’t like asking for help is because it can make a person feel like they are not able or capable. So they don’t ask and then become a martyr later down the track and can become overwhelmed because they are doing it all alone.

The word HELP triggers the victim

Asking for back up is a skill.
Accepting that people want to reassure and provide assistance is a skill.
Acknowledging that assistance will be offered three times. If consistently, rejected the offers will stop.

This is about framing language so that you feel more powerful and less like a victim.

It’s a simple language shift that will take you out of the victim, rescuer, survivor cycle.