When people have mismatches in their level of support in their personal close relationships they suffer emotional distress and illness. By a mismatch I mean people who give more emotional support than they receive in return. Or, a mismatch can take place when a person who usually receives a tremendous amount of support does not get this high level of support anymore.

We all experience emotional distress from time to time. We have breakups, lose jobs, experience moves, deaths of friends and family members and have problems with our children. If the emotional distress goes on a while some of us develop emotional illnesses with common symptoms of anxiety, depression and health problems.

We are all in the same boat. Emotional distress and illness are not on an “us versus them” continuum. Instead, we need to realize at any given moment, any person we know, including ourselves, can be suffering with mismatched levels of emotional support leading to anxiety, sleeplessness, dejection, poor work performance, anger and medical problems. Emotional distress and illness are so pervasive that they can be dubbed “normal.”

It is best if we destigmatize something we all go through. We cannot all be “in the closet” all of the time. Let us bring this common suffering into the open. Emotional distress and emotional problems are part of being human.

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