By Sierra Fromberg

At some point in our lives, we all have issues to work through. Whether your personal daemons are physical or emotional, though, sometimes the issues are bigger than we’re capable of handling on our own. And that’s okay! In fact, that’s a great thing when you’re able to recognize that the problem is larger than you can tackle on your own. The fact is, no matter what kind of issue you have on your hands, it is always easier to manage when you have a strong support system. And while we certainly applaud you for recognizing the need to lean on your steady support system – and don’t in any way mean to discount that, (heck, recognizing the need for help is often the hardest and most important) – we’re actually here to talk about those you lean on and how your issues subsequently (and often unintentionally) affect them.

When you reach out to your friends and family members (or sometimes even a professional) they immediately know at least a part of what you’re going through. But do you know what they’re feeling and how they’re affected in response?

What to do when friends fight.

In my own journey, I had to ask for help with something that had become so powerful that it consumed my entire world. I knew that there was no way for me to move forward on my path until I dealt with it and it became clear early on that this would not be a solo struggle. I sought professional help, but also leaned on those closest to me. And while the crux of the work was mine to do, the emotional effects of my process were certainly felt by those closest to me. My boyfriend bore most of the brunt. For almost a year, our relationship was all about me, my struggle and, eventually, my recovery. Every day he was there, giving his unconditional love, even when I didn’t deserve it. He saw me at my deepest, darkest moments and never wavered.

But while I was on my path of self-discovery, what was he going through? How did watching me take on my demons affect his own psyche? Although I can never be sure of his exact feelings, I do know now, looking back on those long months, that one thing is for sure: my issues kept him from moving forward with his own dreams and desires. Our goal was to build a life together, but he also needed to make his own way in the world and neither could happen if I wasn’t in a healthy state of mind.

If you eat your feelings, read this!

In a perfect world, we would all recognize the exact right moment to deal with our issues in order to protect those closest to us from having to deal with the consequences. But a perfect world this is not. I felt tremendous guilt after healing because I could see how much my partner had sacrificed. Was it fair of me to ask so much of him? Could I ever make it up to him?

But then I realized something profound: this is what real life and relationships are all about. The world ebbs and flows. There are times in every relationship when one person will need more support or attention – and that’s okay. Life and relationships come full circle and, at some point, it will be your turn to be the rock for those you love.

But remember this: you can only be the best, strongest support system if you are, first and foremost, good to yourself. Remember every day to treat yourself with the same love and respect that those who rallied around you were kind enough to show you. And remember to thank those who supported you, not because you have to or because they expect it, but because without them you may not have made it out of the darkness.

Do you carry your emotional baggage in your purse?

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