How To Survive a Breakdown
Breakdowns (usually referred to as nervous or mental breakdowns) are caused by several factors, including past trauma, stress, overwhelming emotions or mental illnesses. They can have a severe impact on our mental health if we ignore them, and the symptoms can overcome us and make daily life challenging. But a breakdown doesn’t have to be the end of your happiness, with the right tips and support, you can survive a breakdown and leave any symptoms and negativity behind.
If you feel like you or someone you know is facing a breakdown, and you want help, then read on. As an experienced counsellor based in Cheshire, I have worked with many people who have sought help for mental breakdowns and can provide my top tips on how to overcome this terrible experience and start looking towards a brighter future.
What actually is a ‘Breakdown’?
Psychiatrist Dr Gail Saltz defines a nervous breakdown as “any number of feelings of being extremely overwhelmed with symptoms ranging from depression to anxiety to psychosis such that behaviorally your functioning was seriously impaired.” As Salz implies, a breakdown is our body reacting to feeling overwhelmed, whether that’s from hurt, shock, or fear.
Anxiety, depression, unexpected deaths and trauma are all common causes of a breakdown, which can result in stress, unhappiness and further mental health issues. As a result, we can even suffer from physical health issues like insomnia and eating problems as we spend less time focusing on our health due to the constant and overwhelming anxiety and depression.
Panic attacks can be part of a breakdown and have significant effects on our mental and physical health. They are often short-lived but can dominate a person when they are attacked, leaving them breathless, unable to move and in a constant state of panic and stress until it passes. We even suffer physically, suffering from chest and head pains as we try to control our breathing.
Another form of a breakdown is called ‘burnout syndrome’ and can be primarily caused by overworking. This type of breakdown is usually due to working too many hours, which leads to you ‘burning out’. You can suffer from fatigue and extreme exhaustion, which can result in more time off work, which could impact your pay, productivity and more. Your quality of work can decrease, leading to issues at work from bosses or supervisors who might not see a problem with overworking you.
If you feel like you are having a breakdown, you need to try to assess the root cause. Does it stem from personal issues or trauma, or is work having a more significant impact on your current mental stress?
Seek Professional Help
Not everyone can survive a breakdown on their own, and some people don’t have the support of friends and family to guide them. If you need someone to talk to about your breakdown and help you overcome your anxieties and depression, then a counsellor can help you. Therapy can help you understand why you’ve had a breakdown, perhaps giving you a completely different perspective on your life and help you to make necessary life changes to prevent this from happening again.
Depression and anxiety can stem from a breakdown, filling your mind with negative thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t successfully block these thoughts and find ourselves falling deeper into mental health issues. Therapy presents you with the opportunity to talk to someone and focus on overcoming the symptoms.
Remember to Love Yourself
Self-love is essential if you want to overcome your breakdown and see a brighter, happier future. Whether it’s through therapy, self-care, journaling, switching to a healthier lifestyle or even trying out meditation, any form of self-love will help you to get on the road to recovery. Self-love means taking the time to appreciate your body and mind to help you gain a new perspective on yourself and your life. Rather than focusing on negative aspects of your current situation, you’re learning to love yourself more, making it easier to survive the breakdown and prevent more in the future.
Therapy can help with self-love as counsellors offer a safe place to share your inner feelings, advice and tips on how to accept yourself and help boost your mental health. By working with a variety of clients, I have a bank of knowledge about various tasks and challenges that can help you increase your happiness and self-confidence. By taking some time to speak to me about this and then carry out my tips at home, you can see a significant change in your mental health, which makes a future breakdown less likely.
Distract Yourself – Look to the Future
Sometimes when trying to survive a breakdown, you need to take on a coping method. One of the best coping methods is to try and distract yourself from the issues surrounding you and take some time to do things that bring you happiness. You aren’t ignoring the breakdown or denying that you are struggling, but instead having a moment to yourself to look past that issue and start working on hobbies or tasks that help your mental health rather than hinder it. This makes it easier to see a better future where your mental health no longer brings you down.
Whether you are joining a weekly dance class, starting an at-home hobby or just promising to meet with friends and family more regularly, having something to look forward to can distract you from your issues and give you some time to recharge, which is hugely beneficial.
As a counsellor, I am well aware that breakdowns are a widespread issue. But, I also know that they don’t need to dominate your life, and there are solutions out there. If you think you could benefit from working with me to overcome your mental health problems and breakdowns, then contact me today for more information on my services.