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The signs and symptoms of your 'nervous breakdown' are signs that you have reached your limit, not that you're going mad! You are just at breaking point - completely 'stressed out' and at the 'end of your tether'.
There is a limit to us all and there is a limit to how much you can cope with too. Maybe life has just thrown too much at you and/or you resources - internal and/or external - have become depleted. You can no longer deal with all that stress.
I hope to help you make sense of what is happening to
you or someone you care about. I'm aiming above all to reassure you. By
the end of this page you will know:
a) how all that stress led to you no longer feeling able to cope
b) what a 'nervous breakdown' exactly is
c) where to go and what to do to get over it
You may feel you are 'going crazy' right now, but you will recover. The symptoms of a nervous breakdown will disappear and you'll no longer carry the signs that you can't cope anymore. It just won't happen overnight.
Maybe you have heard about someone "having a nervous breakdown" and you have asked yourself: what is a nervous breakdown? So, let me explain...
First of all - the term 'having a nervous breakdown', 'mental breakdown' or even 'psychological breakdown' would not normally be used by a professional.
I have used them here, because I know that thousands of people a month search for those terms as they are wondering what is a nervous breakdown is. 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 the symptoms of a nervous breakdown and don't know what to think or do.
A 'mental' or 'nervous breakdown' can start with the following symptoms over time or they can catch you out completely unexpectedly (though they would have been 'lurking' for some time!):
Have you always been a bit of an anxious type?
Do you suffer from panic attacks?
I recommend Panic Miracle - a well-researched step-by-step formula to overcome anxiety and panic for good.
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 about what people might notice: the signs of a mental breakdown.
If you are the boss, manager, partner, husband/wife of someone showing these signs of a nervous breakdown, it might help to have a discreet conversation about it. State very gently that you have noticed that they appear to be struggling a bit and reassure them that you will do all you can to help them get over whatever it is they are suffering from (better not mention emotional or mental breakdown at this point).
You now know what the signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown are. Looking back then you can perhaps see when you first started to feel that you were 'not your normal self'. Maybe you're now aware of how sustained stress decreased your resilience almost by stealth.
Perhaps you knew that you were pushing the limits, but thought you had no choice.
Here are the most common contributors to a nervous breakdown:
Sometimes people are completely caught off guard - never having suspected that life could have come crashing down. They, perhaps like you, would have never identified themselves as not being able to cope or prone to a 'mental breakdown'.
Don't be alarmed if you...
... are terrified of the doorbel
... don't want to open the post anymore
... can't get out of the front door
... can't stand in a queue
... can't even get anywhere near to your work
I know it's scary, but it is all part of that breakdown. I promise you, you will get better and do all those things again in time, but you may need a bit of help to move things on a bit.
Has your psychological breakdown led to panic attacks?
We really want to calm your fear of further panic attacks as that fear becomes yet another layer to your suffering. You can really do without that right now, as an emotional breakdown is more than enough to cope with!
If you think you're going to have a heart attack - forget it! Most likely you won't. Neither will you faint as your blood pressure shoots up when you are stressed. People who faint do so because their blood pressure drops.
It makes sense to have a check-up by your doctor if only to exclude a medical/physical condition.
Although nervous breakdown signs/symptoms can be very frightening indeed, it is unlikely that there is anything more serious going on than your just 'having had enough' - you are 'burned out' - you are experiencing 'stress symptoms'.
You can see from all the above, that we know about the symptoms of a nervous breakdown - you are not alone, you are not 'off your rocker', you are not 'crazy'!
Panic attacks are very common, particularly as part of a nervous or mental breakdown, and can be treated, often very quickly.
I promise you - you can recover from panic attacks, nervous breakdown or mental breakdown. However, if your breakdown has come as a result of substance abuse, you need to be aware that your road to recovery is going to involve dealing with your addiction(s).
You can find ways to speed up your recovery on my page: How to get over a nervous breakdown.
The US Food and Drug Administration has warned that certain behaviours are known to be associated with SSRI’s (certain antidepressants) including the following symptoms: anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, severe restlessness. Any one of these symptoms is likely to make your emotional breakdown feel even worse. So, be sure that you are well-informed before taking this kind of medication.
Instead of taking antidepressant (SSRIs) explore my pages on depression. All that advice on how to overcome depression also applies to getting over a nervous breakdown.
... if you have (suddenly) become completely 'hyper' - manic - you need immediate help. You sleep very little, you're over-happy, speak fast, maybe shop more, maybe spend more, lack any judgement, your thoughts are racing - you generally feel on a complete 'high'. You may also feel extremely anxious. This may all happen after you have felt depressed for a while.
... if you have a history of severe mental health problems and you feel yourself slipping towards a mental breakdown - do reach out to a professional you feel you can trust.
... if you've taken any dodgy stuff (substance abuse) - and you better own up!
... if you are feeling suicidal.
... if you are concerned for someone else, then you really need to make sure they get professional help as soon as possible. Take immediate action if you know that person has already planned how and/or when he/she going to commit suicide.
As a counsellor I often see people who are particularly worried about their brain letting them down. In case you are too, here is a very short video clip that explains how we know that you are not alone in being terribly forgetful, ineffective, disorganised and unable to focus.
Your nervous breakdown symptoms in fact are temporary. Your body/mind’s reaction is entirely normal under for you abnormal circumstances. I know that you will recover!
Just accept now that those signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown won’t disappear overnight. Stop fighting them. It's time to look for ways to speed up your recovery.
I hope that you now know exactly what a mental breakdown is and most importantly feel motivated to take control of your recovery.
take control of your recovery.
My very best wishes for a speedy recovery from that breakdown.
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