Episode 74: The Beetles Wrote This Song For You

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“Help… I need somebody…”

Do you remember the Beetles song? 

I read the other day that Lennon wrote the song as an expression of the stress he was feeling due to the group’s quick success as a band. It was a song from his heart. He was overwhelmed and knew his lifestyle, as it was, wasn’t sustainable. John Lennon took a look at his life and knew he needed a change and he couldn’t do it on his own.

When was it that you realized you were over your head with caregiving and why is it so hard for you to ask for help?

Write that down if you want… take a moment to think about it. When was it that you realized you were over your head with caregiving and why is it so hard for you to ask for help?

Let all of that anger and frustration come out first. I know it’s there. I’ve had the same thoughts. I know how it feels to be angry with the world. Asking why this has happened to me? This isn’t the life I thought I would be living. I don’t know if I can keep doing this. No one asks or cares how I am doing. Everyone wants to offer help for my loved one but I actually need help too. 

Let that all out. Dump all of those words into a journal or record them into your phone. Don’t let them circulate in your mind anymore. You need to read them or hear them. That way you’ll begin to process those emotions in a different way. 

Then, when you’re done with that, I want you to come to the main questions. 

When was it that you realized you were over your head with caregiving and why is it so hard for you to ask for help? 

Feeling Threatened

I know that the moment you become a caregiver everything is turned upside down and you find yourself overwhelmed with all the things you need to do to fight this threat in your life. The threat of cancer, the threat of a traumatic accident, the threat of disease, and disability. Your brain automatically goes into survivor mode and you find yourself unable to concentrate, unable to function in life, or do anything else. All you are focused on at first is what needs to be done in order to figure out what the heck is going on. How do I keep my loved one alive?

But at some point, you have a break. You have that moment when for maybe just a second you take a breath and realize you can’t keep doing things like this. Without you having a chance to notice, your life is completely different YOU are completely different. 

You realize you can’t do this all on your own. 

That was when you found yourself at a fork in the road. You had the awareness that would allow you to continue on with doing it all on your own or try to figure out how to get some help. 

There are lyrics in the song “Help” that say

“When I was younger, so much younger than today

I never needed anybody's help in any way”

We all remember those days. When life felt so much easier because looking back at it now … looking back at your pre-caregiving life… whatever you thought was hard then feels like nothing now after all you’ve gone through. If you think about it, Lennon was acknowledging that he’s changed. His life is different and he is different.

The second half of that verse is:

“But now these days are gone, I'm not so self-assured (but now these days are gone)

(And now I find) now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors”

Lennon realized that he not only needs help but that he is open to receiving that help.

Opening up the doors to receive help

That’s the next step. Knowing you need help and being open to being helped are two different things. Being open to having help means you have to let go of some of the control you think you have. You have to be open to people doing things a different way. You have to be open to things not being perfect. 

It takes energy to ask for help. You need the energy to handle the personal dynamic between you and the person you are getting help from. You need to find the energy to figure out what you need help with. People who care about you might not necessarily know how to help you. That’s why so many times we hear 

“Let me know how I can help” 


“Call me whenever you need something.” 

To a caregiver, that means nothing because it places the burden on us to figure out what and who to ask for help. We can’t change how people offer help but we are in full control of when and how we ask for it. If you’re a caregiver you should know that things don’t happen when you are passive. Not only do you have to advocate for the person you are caring for you also have to advocate for yourself. 

Finding the courage to ask

The hardest part is… asking for help means you have to be vulnerable. You may feel like you should be able to handle everything. You actually may have not asked for help as an adult before and don’t really know how to do it. Or you could see asking for help as a failure on your part to be able to cope. 

Let’s just remember that the person you are caring for has a full team of people who are helping and who are specialized in what they do. Not ever did you think - we can handle that surgery on our own, or we can run those blood tests at home… I’ll figure it out. That is unheard of. You probably emphatically asked - who can help them? Who’s the best surgeon that we can find? 

So why wouldn’t you do the same thing for yourself? Why does it feel so hard or wrong to get together a team of your own?

Our lives have changed

The next verse of “Help” by the Beetles reads:

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways (and now my life has changed)

My independence seems to vanish in the haze

But every now and then I feel so insecure (I know that I)

I know that I just need you like I've never done before

If that isn’t the most precise and beautiful verse to characterize what we all go through as caregivers I don’t know what is!

Our lives have changed without us even being able to have the luxury of witnessing that change. Because of that change in our lives, we become different people and at some point, we might find that we don’t exactly like who we are. There comes a day when you actually… really look at yourself in the mirror and do not recognize who you are anymore. Or maybe you had one small second to realize you aren’t very happy. 

Looking back on your life as a caregiver,  you probably can see how you have lost some of your independence. Having this strong sense of duty towards the person you care for you probably let go of a lot of who you are. When we are overwhelmed the last thing we think of doing is to continue our weekly coffee dates with a friend or taking those walks that used to really help clear our heads. You let go of playing or singing that music or reading that pile of books you were excited to have. We lose ourselves in caregiving, especially in the beginning, and because of that, we are filled with insecurities. We become a mess. A bundle of stress and anxiety mixed in with overwhelming worry and feelings of inadequacy because we have been thrown into a role we are not trained for and have no experience to pull from to help us.

Lennon realizes this is where he is and then he says, “I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.” That line brings tears to my eyes. Here is this man writing this song from his heart and being truly open and honest with what is going on in his life at that moment. He doesn’t close himself off to the people around him but he instead says, I need you!

You have to find the courage to be open and vulnerable enough to be able to ask for help. However, you have two choices. You can continue as you are… angry that no one is really helping you and trying to do it on your own. Or you can let go of some of that resentment and anger towards the world, let down some of that armor you put on to try to protect yourself, and ask. for. help.

What do I need help with?

When I work with caregivers this is a process we go through early on. Sometimes you just need someone that can support you in reaching out to your network of people to ask for help. Oftentimes we are so overwhelmed with things that we can’t even think of what we could actually get help with. However, you need your own support team. Sometimes that support isn’t from what task they can do for you but to just be able to be there to help you work things out in your head. Someone that can support you just by listening or just by being around. There are people who are better suited to help out with tasks. You have to identify what they are good at or the types of things they like to do before asking them to help. There is someone in your life that loves mowing the lawn or shoveling snow just don’t ask them to be the person that bakes you cookies if that isn’t something they know or like to do. 

Once you get yourself to a place where you are ready to ask for help then you have to carefully think of what you need help with and who can fit that role. Sometimes that might mean you hire someone to do it because, just like a surgeon, they are skilled at that one thing. Once you have the tasks figured out and identify who you would like to reach out to for that specific task. Then you need to figure out how you are going to ask for it. 

Asking for help is a big roadblock for the caregivers I work with. Asking for help means that you are opening yourself up for disappointment and rejection. It doesn’t often happen, especially if you have gone through a well-thought-out process of figuring out who and what you need help with but the fear of someone saying no or not showing up is always there. It’s ok to be nervous to ask for help. Think of it this way… you had no problem making that doctor's appointment for your loved one. In fact, you were probably upset that they wouldn’t get you in sooner or that you have to wait for results from a scan. We feel so much more entitled to the help we want for our loved ones and a little bit of that energy can be useful in finding the courage to create your own team of people. 

FInding your own team

I read that a Music critic, Dave Marsh, wrote about the song saying “… it’s bursting with vitality… [Lennon] sounds triumphant because he’s found a group of kindred spirits who are offering the very spiritual assistance and emotional support for which he’s begging. Marsh continues to explain the performance “…speak(s) to the heart of Lennon’s passion, and though they cannot cure the wound, at least they add a note of reassurance that he’s not alone with his pain.” 

(Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings. Scarecrow Press. p. 224.)

Listen to (Read) that again. 

Lennon “sounds triumphant, because he’s found a group of kindred spirits who are offering the very spiritual assistance and emotional support for which he’s begging. …and though they cannot cure the wound, at least they add a note of reassurance that he’s not alone with his pain.”

That is what you can look forward to having if you go through the careful process of identifying what you need help with and who the best people are to ask for that help. Imagine, for just a minute, how it would feel to have people in your life that can support you spiritually and emotionally. We try to say that it is the stress of caregiving that breaks us down but that is also because we aren’t continually meeting our emotional and spiritual needs. So to have a group of people that are there just for that could have a big impact on your life. 

Having a team of people helping you also would give you that reassurance that you aren’t alone, you don’t have to do this all alone and that there are people out there that are willing to support you. There really are people out there that truly want to help. Just sometimes we let fear, and pride and stress, and exhaustion get in the way of us asking. 

Finding your own team is one of the most important things for you to do as a caregiver. Often times it is difficult to do on your own and if that’s the case please ask someone to help you figure it out or we can work together and find a way for you to begin to love your caregiving life. If you’d like more information on working with me you can find it at www.loveyourcaregivinglife.com


Need to hear the song now? Here is their video on Youtube 

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