Good morning, my name is Steve, but for the last decade I have been called Pops. I started a blog called Pops on the Porch. In my blog I would express some of the thoughts from the perspective of my front porch. Some months ago I began to experience some health problems, one of which was with my heart. During that time my attention was directed towards a personal journey through the test, the doctors and the diagnoses. Also during that time, my computer experienced some serious virus that made it so it could not be used. So even when I wanted to go and write my blog, my computer did not. I spent hours and hours trying to self-diagnose the problem. Eventually I broke down, and sent my computer to a computer repair store. Their advice was to buy a new computer, as mine was unrepairable. Well, I don’t like being told that something doesn’t work without giving it a lot of attention. I was very fortunate that my children were there to help me. When I say my children, all of them are adults now with children of their own. After a lot of time working on my old computer it was finally time to give it its last rites and put it to rest. Therefore, it was time to start a new. Again, I was fortunate enough to have the help of my children and I was given another computer and the access to some really old programs that I needed to write this blog. So to begin this issue of Pops on the Porch I thank my children for their support and help.
One of the things is that it has always been a problem with me to ask others for help. Some of the issues that I fight in having PTSD is the ability to communicate with others. Another issue, is that I don’t usually give up on any project and I will work it until every possible correction has been addressed.
This brings me into the thought of today’s blog. Why is it so hard for most men to ask for help? People have always believed that men do not ask for directions when driving their cars. It has been my experience that prior to GPS type devices, I would go out and find myself going the wrong way. I can even remember one time when I got really lost because I would not ask for directions. Even when I had purchased a Chevy truck that had the On Star system, I originally did not use it. I went to go pick up my son from the Airport in Texas, of which I had never been to before. In my mind all I had to do was to take one freeway south and I would run into the Airport. So, even though I gave myself plenty of time to get to the Airport, I found myself in a strange neighborhood following a road called Airport road. After about 45 minutes of driving on this road through some of the kind of neighborhoods that makes me glad that I carried a gun. I called my wife for help. She was quick to look up the location on the computer and give me directions on how to get to the Airport. By this time the plane had already landed at the Airport and I called my son to let him know that I was lost but I would be there within the next hour. It wasn’t until I got home that my wife asked me why I did not use the On Star system in the truck. All I had to do was to hit a button and ask the operator for directions. I would have received them. When I realized that, it was like a lightning bolt struck my brain and then I felt the guilt and the ignorance of my actions.
Why did I not use the On Star system when I first realized that I was lost? I think it’s because I still did not want to ask any one for help. Even though the On Star system was one of the reasons that I bought the truck, it never entered my mind to use it. I was just going to use my knowledge of the directions, north south east and west. Sometimes I did that even to the simplest degree, I know that the sun rises in the east and settles in the west so the other directions must be north and south. Since that incident there has been two more times that I forgot to use the On Star system. Now I have a phone that has a map app. For a short time, I had a GPS device called “Tom Tom” and then a simple one called made by Garmin. What I found out was that the maps in those devices needed to be updated regularly. And I realized that the map app in my phone was automatically updated and so now that is all that I use. So now using a phone really doesn’t feel like I’m asking someone for help, rather it is something that I expected from the phone I bought.
When I first started experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, I refused to let myself believe that I had any kind of disorder or mental problem. Then when I started crying at commercials, I began to take the situation seriously. During most of my life I would rarely, if ever, talk to my family members or coworkers about any condition that I thought would make me look weak. Crying certainly is one of those emotions that I felt made me look weak. And so like most men and particularly police officers, I did not like to show emotions because somewhere in my upbringing it may make me look weak.
It does not take very long anymore for me to realize that I need help. I have even gone so far that I ask the people who work at home improvement stores for help to look for tools. In my younger days I would rather walk up and down each aisle and search for the tool. It was not uncommon for me to walk right by the tool the first time only to retrace my steps to find it. Now I can go to the home improvement store with my wife if she will go with me. She is usually the one that quickly finds the item that I’m looking for.
So why is it so hard for men to ask for help? I think for my generation, the generation that was raised by people who experienced such major events as the great depression and world war II we were taught to be self-sufficient and to not depend upon others. Today I can go to my computer or to my phone and ask it for help. The term, Google it, is the most painless way for me to ask for help. I still feel a little funny to ask for the female generated voice on my phone for help. But I know that it’s a lot less painful for me to do so. I have really gotten use to going to the computer and looking up whatever subject matter I need by using U Tube videos to help me make it happen. It is almost like going to an old auto parts store. I would walk up to the counter and ask the man or woman behind the counter for a particular car part. Not only did they get the car part, they usually imparted a little advice to me so that the part would work.
Asking for help now has gotten a lot easier. Maybe because I’ve gone from the lifestyle of self-sufficiency and dial up phones to artificial intelligence helping me at every turn. The phone that I hold in my hand seems more like a computer with a simpler function to help me talk to someone else.
My thought is that I no longer have a reason for feeling awkward when asking for help. I am actually entertained by the method that I get my help. Even though, I do not tweet anyone or am I on Facebook, I have begun to text people and attach pictures with text.
Well there it is, I’m back to posting a blog and sitting in front of my computer. Usually during the day or evening while sitting on my front porch, I experience some thought that I feel that I need to share and talk about. This blog is that opportunity and I appreciate those of you that follow the blog.