I happened across a blog called I AM THAT GIRL during the latter part of last year, and it has quickly become one of my favourites. This morning while drinking my morning coffee, I read a post called 'Who Will Be Strong For Me?' which REALLY resonated with me. It took me WAY, WAY back to how I felt when I was 21, AAAAAALL over again - and yes, it is weird to think of just how long ago that really was!
I can remember feeling so burned out emotionally, and sitting up in the middle of the night, talking to the guy who was essentially my Boyfriend at the time (Although right throughout the 5 messy years we were on-again-off-again seeing each other, we flat out avoided labelling who or what we were, and staunchly refused that we were BF & GF.) about how as much as I loved being there for my friends, how completely exhausted I was. At the time, I can remember saying that I really wanted for somebody to offer me some space and support for everything to just. stop. for. a. minute.
The reality was that I was deliberately keeping myself busy to avoid dealing with things that were really affecting me. I was avoiding facing up to the reality of my mental health situation, and decidedly staying in unhealthy situations, taking on other peoples dramas and issues as if they were my own because they were a distraction from my own.
It has taken me a really long time to learn how to take a step back and maintain healthy boundaries - and I'm still learning to deal with me (which I know will take life long practice!).
What I do know is that taking care of yourself, and putting in consistent effort to deal with your own needs, will make you better equipped to support those around you.
This is why Flight Attendants instruct passengers, "In case of emergency fit your own oxygen mask first, before assisting children or others around you." While particularly as women, we want to help and support others first, we're no use to anyone if we've blacked out from lack of oxygen because we've been trying to help everyone else around us.
One of the lessons I learned from that time, and ultimately re-learned when that stupidly messy relationship finally ended, (which I included in 'A Rad Bitch's How to Guide to Life: From Post Break-Up Survival Mode, to Rocking at Life') is that sometimes our friends and family may not be the best people to turn to when shit hits the fan.
Honestly, "...unless you’re surrounded by total douche-lords, your friends and family want the best for you, they want to see you happy, and to rock out with you. This is NOT to say that you should put your issues aside – especially if you’re really struggling at the moment.
What I mean by this, is that while I’m sure you have amazing friends and people to support you through those times when shit just feels too freaking hard, at the end of the day – they’re not your therapist" - sometimes it's important to find support and guidance from someone objective.
Remember that you're never alone, and there's always someone nearby who's ready to support and assist you when you need. They may or may not be family - it doesn't matter, but spend some time identifying who you want in your support network, keep in touch with them, and reach out to them if you need. Take time out from other peoples dramas, because at the end of the day - Everyone has their own shit going on, and it probably isn't about you.