Demystifying the Nervous Breakdown
The term nervous breakdown incites in many of us images from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or white rooms with padded walls. We fear that to have a nervous breakdown means we are losing our minds. We fear that others will judge us harshly or view us as “that crazy lady down the street.” In fact, nervous breakdowns are unclear and mystifying to many of us, due largely in part to the popularity of a term without clear explanations of its manifestations or symptoms.
The reality is that a nervous breakdown signifies an individual has reached their point of exhaustion following prolonged periods of anxiety and stress. Our modern world provides many a chance for such episodes, and it is more common than the white padded walls imagery originally invoked. Let us now demystify the nervous breakdown, and begin to make sense of what is happening to you or to someone you care about. Below find some of the common nervous break symptoms and signs.
- Physical signs: Many times, a nervous breakdown can manifest itself physically. Suffers may experience trembling or shaking, irregular heartbeats, dizziness, upset stomach, and, not surprisingly, physical exhaustion. Many of these symptoms may be embarrassing for the sufferer, and should be approached with empathy and understanding.
- Mental Signs: Nervous breakdowns, or mental exhaustion, is harshest on the mind. Troubles can include depression, difficulty concentrating, traumatic flashbacks, hallucinations, panic attacks, and severe mood swings. These may form slowly over time or appear suddenly out of the blue, but they will most likely have been lurking below the surface for some time. It is important to take note of even slight occurrences of such activities.
- Lifestyle Changes: Nervous break symptoms may also affect the way one lives their lives. Many people experience significant lifestyle changes, such as difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in food and/or sex, alienation and avoidance of social situations, and sharp weight gains or losses. These changes may start off mildly enough, but left unchecked, in combination with periods of anxiety and stress, can lead to a full-blown breakdown.
We will all most certainly continue to feel stressed and anxious throughout our lives. However, by educating ourselves around nervous break symptoms and precursors, we can start the process of healing and support from the onset. And hey, there’s always that white padded room if it doesn’t work out, right?