Do you think you or someone you know might be having a nervous or mental breakdown? If you are then this is the post for you. I will describe what a mental breakdown is, from medically backed research, and give you tips on how you can combat it.
A mental or nervous breakdown isn’t genetic
If you’re experiencing a nervous breakdown the good news is that it has nothing to do with your genes, and it’s not chronic. Not being chronic means it’s time limited, so it’ll last for a short period of time rather than years. You will get through this!
What does having a nervous breakdown mean?
Having a nervous or mental breakdown is a way of describing someone who is utterly overwhelmed with their current situation and have no way to cope. They are experiencing too much stress, too much stimuli, too much information. That person can’t go or retreat anywhere to get away from it, so they simply stop functioning.
A case study
Imagine you want to set up a website for your new company. You’ve already started e-mailing potential clients about your services and now you need an online presence for them to find out more info. There are several steps you’ll need to do which includes: finding a template you like, finding artwork, creating copy, creating pages, setting up an online store, making sure links work, perhaps learning some HTML code to create a custom feature etc.
While you might not be a website developer, you know WordPress is very user friendly and you know your way around a computer, so you’re pretty confident you can do this over the next month. In your head you can internalize each step you need to do before the next one. As you’re working in your own time you can take breaks and rests as needed.
Suddenly out of nowhere you start to get emails from lots of possible clients saying they can’t find any of your info online. All of a sudden you’re under immense pressure to get the site going, your internal schedule has been turned upside down and you need to suddenly think about the next steps ahead. You start to get stressed and overwhelmed and it makes the job feel a lot harder than it actually is. This stress created by thinking ahead is called borrowed worry, because you’re worrying about things you haven’t even done yet. You’re under too much pressure and you start to feel like you can’t cope.
This can lead to a breakdown if the pressure is either too high or continues for too long
What are some things that cause a nervous breakdown?
Mental or nervous breakdowns are triggered by stressors. A stressor is a thing or event or mindset that causes you to become stressed. If the stressor builds up over time, or if they start to pile up on top of each other, this can trigger a breakdown. A common expression used for overwhelming situations is the straw that broke the camels back. This expression means that if you get too many stressful things put onto you, eventually they’ll become too heavy and you’ll break.
Some things that can cause a breakdown are:
– severe overwork
– sleep deprivation
– psychological burnout
– major lifestyle changes such as divorce or death of a loved one
– financial problems
– a feeling of being out of control of a situation
What are some symptoms of a mental or nervous breakdown?
There are key symptoms of a nervous or mental breakdown, and you’ll probably see more than one of these being shown in someone who is experiencing a breakdown:
– avoiding social situations
– calling in sick from work or any form of schooling
– depressive thoughts including self-harm
– feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem
– mood swings and unexplained outbursts
– possible flashbacks to a traumatic time or event that has happened to them
– panic attacks
– high levels of stress causing elevated heart rates
A breakdown can quickly lead to depression which is a diagnosed mental illness. You should seek professional help as soon as you can to stop yourself from spiraling down into the black hole of depression. Beyond Blue is a free service in Australia, your country will have similar services.
How can we prevent a nervous breakdown?
Breakdowns can be prevented, we simply need to stop the stressors before they become too great. To help prevent a nervous breakdown we need a break from the stressor (whatever that is), or we need to look at it in a different way, for example we could breakdown the challenges we have into smaller and more manageable steps.
We can also help reduce the likelihood of experiencing a nervous breakdown by learning how to stay “No” to people and situations. We only have limited resources and energy to give everyday, so we can’t be everything for everyone. Saying “No!” is an important and healthy thing to learn to do.
We can also do things to help relieve our stress such as exercise and meditation. There is a great free app called Headspace which gives guided meditations for total beginners on such things as getting more sleep, reducing stress, building confidence and all manner of great topics.
I suggest you go to my self development page to find a lot more articles that will help with your mental health, and also gives a lot of life hacks. Things such as what does stuck in a rut mean? And how to get out of it. How to wake up feeling fresh using sleep cycles. Also the secret to getting and keeping good things in life.