I had my first nervous breakdown at 16.
Huh? What’s that? You ask? People all have different notions of what constitutes a nervous breakdown. It’s medically recognised as a mental health crisis, and doctors will recognise the symptoms.
In case you didn’t know, it is NOT going mad. It’s more common than you might think. Only, lots of people fear stigma, so they hide, pretend or suffer in silence. How is that good?
Anyway, I remember I’d collapsed. And after hospital, I remained bedridden for a week, unable to stand without passing out. My cousin Stacy came everyday and coaxed me to drink some soup. She’d read my school notes to me.
When I was able to move about again, I was a zombie. Unresponsive to all around me. Uninterested. And so exhausted.
I’d been running on no fuel for many years, until I shut down.
I was talking to a psychiatrist recently, listening to her explicate on all the physical and mental symptoms I’d been suffering. Depression was a real bother, severe anxiety, problems sleeping, self isolation, more problems than usual concentrating, little or no motivation to do anything.
Hair didn’t need a comb and the shower didn’t see me.
“In layman’s terms” she said, “you’re having a nervous breakdown.”
Oh for the love of chips and curry sauce, not again.
It had been sort of hard to pin point anything unusual happening here, because some of the symptoms were so close to the medical condition, fibromyalgia which I also grapple with.
Anything could have caused it, but with me I think it’s always a cumulative little package of happenings. I suspect it’s the same for many others.
Individual triggers might be stress, trauma, bereavement, broken relationships, depression and chronic illness.
There’s lots of information online about triggers.
Moulding ourselves back, as a potter with clay
After thrashing out the details of my care plan, we agreed as always, it was imperative to continue to try to function. Everyone is different when enduring a ‘nervous breakdown’ so there’s no one plan to suit all.
Somehow, I needed to continue to work. It would take great effort, considering all things already involved in managing fibromyalgia.
And as I’ve been taking it day by day, I realise that certain things help more with me, which are all noted on this fabulous site that discusses DYI Happiness.
Connecting – connecting with people right now is really hard for me. I prefer aloneness. But when the moments come, I cannot lie, they bring genuine smiles. Just a brief, genuine hello. Connecting to a higher power as well if you believe. Music provides that connection for me.
Taking Notice – Every week I get colourful, half closed flowers from Sainsbury’s, and I observe them everyday, slowly opening up. Or the magnificence of the rainstorm clouds that my friend pointed out the other day through the glass windows at work.
Giving/sharing – I do volunteer but the aim is to be more active at it when a little better. I give when I see a need. It might be material, or help, or just miniature snacks that I bake the office to give them a smile and keep our snack tray full 🙂
Being Active: That’s tough for me with fibromyalgia, but for physical activity I try to take the odd walk. Otherwise I keep writing and try new projects. This year I decided it is the year of becoming a published author. Don’t ask me where the money’s coming from or if I did it right, it’s happening, full stop.
Thank you for all your emails. Keep climbing, and share your tips for recovering from nervous breakdowns.
If you think you’re having a nervous breakdown, contact your GP immediately or see which of these helplines you might prefer.