By Elly Prior (About)
Counsellor, Founder and Author of

The signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown you should not ignore

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The signs and symptoms of your 'nervous breakdown' are an indication that you have reached your limit, not that you're going mad! You're just at breaking point - completely 'stressed out' and at the 'end of your tether'.

There's a limit to us all and there's a limit to how much you can cope with too. Maybe life has just thrown too much at you, and/or your resources - internal and/or external - have become depleted. You can no longer deal with all that stress and you feel you're falling apart.

I hope to help you make sense of what is happening to you or someone you care about - your partner perhaps.

I'm including this article in my relationship advice site, because all too often relationship problems are part and parcel of a breakdown.

I'm aiming above all to reassure you. By the end of the three parts of this article you will know:

a) How all that stress led to your no longer feeling able to cope
b) What a 'nervous breakdown' exactly is
c) Where you can talk to an online professional right now
d) What to do to get over it
e) When to see a doctor immediately (see Part 3)

What you need to know right away is that you there's no shame in falling apart! You may feel you're 'going crazy' right now, but you will recover. The symptoms of a burnout will disappear and you'll no longer carry the signs that you can't cope anymore. It just won't happen overnight.

Always been anxious?

Chris Bayliss is a health researcher and nutrition expert specialising in the treatment of anxiety. He cured himself from anxiety!

Discover how his method can help you too...

Symptoms of a nervous breakdown

Drawing representing woman's face with whirring thoughts

Maybe you've heard about someone "having a nervous breakdown" and you've asked yourself: what is it?  So, let me explain...

First of all - any of the terms I have used so far to describe what you're going through would not normally be used by a professional.

I have used them here, because I know that thousands of people a month are searching for it. I just want to be sure that I reach everyone who is worried about themselves or someone they love.

You too may suspect that you or someone else is suffering from 'shattered nerves' (yet another description) and don't know what to think or do.

This kind of disorder (don't let that word worry you either) can all start with the following symptoms over time or they can catch you out completely unexpectedly (though they would have been 'lurking' for some time and I think you know that!):

10 Common physical nervous breakdown symptoms

  1. irregular heart beat - you can feel your heart pounding. You may think you're gravely ill, yet test results show you're just fine.
  2. tensed/painful muscles - no wonder, they're working overtime without you being consciously aware - they're at the ready to help you run away from the (imagined) disaster
  3. clammy hands and armpits - your body works hard to cool you down
  4. dizziness or light-headedness - your blood is drawn to the major muscle groups to ensure they're well-fed to deal with the (imagined) hard work ahead
  5. trembling or shaking - you may feel these are the most embarrassing symptoms of a nervous breakdown as you worry people may notice
  6. upset stomach and bowel problems - your body/mind reacts as if your life is in danger and digestion is secondary to survival
  7. exhaustion - all your energy is being used trying to manage/cope with this crisis
  8. pains - 'unexplained' ones - your body is out of balance resulting in cramps and pains, and/or existing health issues draw all your attention and in your imagination you're already at death's door
  9. coughs and colds - you seem to be catching every bug that's floating around. The prolonged stress leads is lowering your immunity
  10. tension headaches - tight muscles, constant worry, mind and body out of balance - you're feeling poorly most of the time

Overactive thyroid?

If in addition to the symptoms mentioned on this page you are also experiencing unexplained or unexpected weight-loss, you're needing to go to the toilet all too frequently and you're sensitive to heat, do yourself a favour - get yourself checked out by a doctor.

10 Mental symptoms that make you think you're going mad

  1. Anxiety about every day things, from the sound of the doorbel to the need to go shopping or face having to go to work - it is all too much
  2. Panic and phobias
  3. Inability to cope with stuff you wouldn't have thought about twice before - you can't think straight, have difficulties organising yourself and are frightened others will 'catch on'
  4. Loss of libido - you feel 'dead below the waist'!
  5. Impotence - and a sense of shame about that to boot
  6. Sleep problems - not being able to fall asleep, frequently waking up and not being able to go back to sleep with racing thoughts
  7. Withdrawal from loved ones - my clients describe it sometimes as 'living in a bubble'.
  8. Irritability and angry outbursts - you have no spare capacity, can't meet your own essential needs, let alone even the most menial requests for anything at all from others
  9. Difficulty concentrating - you probably can't even read a page in a book, or even keep your mind on the headlines in a newspaper
  10. Depression - this is almost a 'given', when your life seems to be 'unraveling' (See my pages on depression - links further down.)

No wonder you feel you're falling apart!

In Part 2 and 3 of this article is stuff you must also know including when it becomes essential to have a medical check-up.

If you're keen to find out right now how to get over a nervous breakdown, click right here.

What about your emotional state?

5 Typical emotional problems with a mental meltdown

  1. crying easily, and seemingly endlessly, at the drop of a hat - whether you're male or female!  No need to be embarrassed.
  2. feeling guilty for all kinds of reasons: 'not pulling your weight', not being there for someone else, not being your 'normal' self, etc
  3. feeling alone - you're embarrassed and don't want to bother with anyone. You don't even recognise yourself.
  4. feeling joyless - increasingly withdrawing from all the things you would normally enjoy - no wonder with all those symptoms!
  5. being/feeling 'paranoid' - feeling that people are out to get you and single you out for every scrap of negativity.

It is not surprising that often a nervous or mental breakdown goes hand-in-hand with depression. 

Therefore I'm going to be straight with you: you're not going to get better by staying in bed, miserable and worried! I know what can help though, but let's talk first in Part 2 about what people might notice: The Signs of a Mental Breakdown.

Oh and if you have suffered a trauma from which you have difficulties recovering, have a look at my page on PTSD symptoms. PTSD can have a huge impact on relationships!

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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