Take care of yourself versus (???) supporting others

I have been moving (hate it, but that ‘s not the point of this post!)

A few weeks ago (during the week I was getting stuff out of the one place another), I had a conversation about being willing to accept help from others / that we all need each other.  This is a fair point to aim in my direction.  I definitely don’t find it easy to ask for help, and if I once ask for help from someone and get turned down it’s doubly unlikely that I’ll ask again.  I have a pretty strong sense that there are certain things I need to do all by myself, and sometimes I even feels that asking for help is wrong.

At the same time I had a friend who was hospitalized (in the psych ward).  Having had my own struggles with depression, this is the kind of situation where I have a fairly strong sense of “there but by the  grace of God go I,” and spending days in a hospital ward sounds pretty miserable to me.  So visiting when I could seemed the only right thing to do.  But when I was heading out to visit him the first time, the same person who was all “you need to be more open and the let people kelp you more!” in the previously mentioned conversation seemed a bit dubious that I was spending time doing this during the move (never mind that I also needed a break from the misery of moving).  I was told that I might “need to take care of yourself first.”

This is actually a kind person, who I have seen be quite supportive of others, and this set of conversations floored me.  I have several thoughts (mostly in the form of questions) as the result:

How can I expect help from others if I have no willingness to put out any effort for them?

Kindness may can be hard (although it really wasn’t for me, in this particular situation), but what’s the point of the rest of life’s events and activities without it?

Only helping others when it is convenient is another form of isolation, just like not asking anyone for help.

Some of the common, glibly uttered thoughts about maintaining equilibrium and mental health are actually kind of messed up.