A nervous breakdown is a scary thing! We don’t understand it; we don’t know how to recover; and we live in fear that it may happen again!
The term “nervous breakdown” has been so widely used and misused, it is time to re-define it, look at its causes and symptoms, recognize one when it does occur, and understand how to recover and to prevent any recurrence. When we can fully understand this illness, we can the look upon it as something that is temporary, that can be fully overcome, and that never has to enter our lives again!
A Nervous Breakdown Defined
A nervous breakdown is a mental and emotional collapse that renders a person unable to function in the world. A person suffering from this condition feels hopeless, hopeless, unable to perform normal daily living tasks and responsibilities, and, in the extreme, is unable to communicate or relate to others at all. (See www.health.news.com/health-news/health/inside-a-nervous-breakdown).
The causes of a nervous breakdown can be many and varied. A single traumatic event, such as the loss of a loved one, a horrible war experience (PTSD), or the loss of one’s livelihood may bring on this collapse. More often, however, a nervous breakdown is a condition that comes on gradually, over time, and is the result of long-term stress and the inability to recognize these stressors and take steps to reduce them. Thus, a victim of long-term domestic abuse, or an individual whose job is filled with high stress levels on a daily basis may ultimately reach the crisis point of mental collapse. It is also important to note that some people are more susceptible to mental breakdowns than others, and, again, the reasons for this may be a combination of both heredity and environment, as well as individual responses to stressors. Generally, the actual collapse is just the last stage of a breakdown that has been coming on for a period of time.
People moving toward and in the throes of a nervous breakdown may exhibit both physical and emotional symptoms. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Anger and irritability
- Sadness and depression
- Headaches, stomach pains, digestive problems, aches, and pains
- Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
- Restlessness or lack of energy
- Inability to get started in the morning or getting “stuck” during the day and unable to move forward with tasks
- Loss of appetite or eating too much, accompanies by weight loss or gain
Of course, all of us have had several of these symptoms at one time or another, and yet they are not signs of a nervous breakdown. But prolonged exhibition of several of these symptoms is a warning sign that should be heeded! Once a physical cause is ruled out, one must look to a mental/emotional cause. (www.healthgrades.com/condition/nervous-breakdown).
Obviously, preventing a full-blown nervous breakdown is optimal, and, except for the single traumatic even cause, there are specific things that anyone can do to stay mentally healthy:
- Recognize what is happening – this is often the hardest part, for we all want to think that our “condition” is temporary and will go away eventually
- Deal with the Stressors: When things just get to be “too much,” stop! Take a few deep breaths and identify your feelings – anger, sadness, etc. Let those negative feelings come out. You may need to rant and rave; you may need to cry. Whatever it is, as long as it is not harmful to yourself or to others, is just fine! Suppose, for example, that you have lost your job. Now, initially, you may feel betrayed, rejected, sad, worried, angry or any combination of these things. You must let all of that negativity out – whether it is to hit a punching bag or to talk about your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. Keeping them inside while putting on a tough exterior will not work!
- Focus on Solutions: If you remain in your negative place, you set yourself up for a nervous breakdown. Instead, make a plan for the steps you will now take that move your forward. Go out with friends and get support for your action plan. If you have just escaped from an abusive situation, for example, what is your plan for moving forward? Will you go back to school? Will you get a new job? Will you move away? Tell your friends and family of your plans and enlist their help and support!
Recovery – It Must be Permanent!
O.K., so you didn’t prevent the nervous breakdown. Now you must recover from it and ensure that it never happens again! This is the beauty of the human spirit – we can return to our formerly healthy selves, and, if we commit to our recovery plan for the rest of our lives, we never have to experience this paralysis again. Here is how you do it:
- Eat Well
- Get enough sleep but not too much!
- Develop and practice specific techniques and strategies for dealing with stress: meditation, physical exercise, social activities, hobbies, and a core group of individuals with whom we may share our negative feelings and who “allow” us to have them.
- Remember, recovery may not come without psychiatric and therapeutic help, and that is o.k. Mental health professionals can help people develop and practice the strategies for healthy approaches to stress!
Remember this. If you have never had a nervous breakdown, you are not immune. Taking preventive steps now to relieve the causes will guarantee that you never have one. If you have had a nervous breakdown or are now in recovery, know that you never have to have another one – you can have a permanent, positive plan to remain healthy the rest of your life!
Laura Callisen is an experienced blogger with passion to help people by sharing her experince. Her fields of interests are result of long phylosophy and culture studying. If you are interested in this post please visit her personal blog or social profiles : Facebook ; Google+