Struggling as the 'Strong Friend'
You know how some people are just givers by nature? The kind of people who drop everything to rally around and support others. The ones who pour all of themselves into making sure that everyone else is doing ok, while completely disregarding their own physical, mental, emotional, and financial well-being.
That's me. I'm the 'strong friend'.
I'm the one you can call or text at any time, and I'll be there to listen and help. I fully understand what it's like to be down in every sense of the word and to just need some support and love, and I will happily be the person to give you those! Something I value a lot is community - coming together to lend a hand to one of our own. I firmly believe that this is something we all should strive to do more often! One of the greatest achievements of humanity in general is how we support one another during difficult times and protect those who need it.
I'll be honest...a lot times, the struggles of the 'strong friend' end up being invisible. No one expects us to be the ones who break down or need assistance and comfort. I am so used to always being the one who provides solidarity, that I push my own worries and stress aside. This makes things even more difficult for me in the long run. I spend all my energy, time, strength, money, and spoons on everyone else, then end up with nothing for myself. I'm always pouring from an empty cup...and it feels like no one notices that it needs filling. Now, this is almost never done maliciously or even consciously! When you have someone in your life who is always the strong and collected one, you might not see the signs of them needing support or falling apart. We get really good at hiding it and even joking it away.
I tend to ignore my own problems because dealing with everything or doing too much can get really overwhelming and tiring! I don't want to share my issues with you when you're already struggling, it feels like that would just be adding to your stress and that's the opposite of what I want to do. I keep my sadness, anger, and worry bottled up and only release it when I'm alone...then wipe it all away and pretend it never happened. I've gotten perfectly adept at putting on a smile when I'm actually falling to pieces on the inside.
I'm saying all this so I can make a simple request: please check in on your strong friend! Give them a call or drop in to say hi and spend some time with them. Ask about how they are doing and if they need anything. Offer them help with day to day things and be in their lives when you aren't in crisis or in need of something. Be in tune with their emotions so you can notice a shift or decline.
Always being strong and tough is draining on us! So be there for us as we do this. Being the one you can count on doesn't mean that we don't need a shoulder to rest on once in a while. We're human too, after all.