You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown – The Rolling Stones
Growing up in the 1970s, I occasionally heard of a person, always a woman, who had a nervous breakdown. The term is no longer popular.
I have had 2 nervous breakdowns. I can’t think of a better choice of words to describe them.
The Mayo Clinic defines a nervous breakdown as a situation in which someone doesn’t function normally due to overwhelming stress. I’d say that’s minimizing it to the point of absurdity. Who functions normally when under overwhelming stress?
The Moody Mom definition: a nervous breakdown is a monumental shift in mood or behavior, caused by traumatic events, or an underlying mental illness. A person experiencing this cannot or will not function normally in any way. Symptoms can be: sleeping too much, sleeping not enough, a loss of energy or motivation, excessive crying, irritability, inability to think clearly, flu-like symptoms, not communicating with others, changes in eating, and a disregard for personal hygiene, among other things.
At least, that’s what my nervous breakdowns have been like. Both times, I couldn’t get out of bed. I did, to go to the bathroom but that was only after a couple of hours of prayer and self affirmations to give me the will to move. The desire to stay in bed was so strong, it was almost like paralysis.
I take meds daily for bipolar. During a breakdown, which lasts about a week, I forget to take them. Any sense of order or routine in my life flies out the window. I’d wake up at 2 and wonder…is it 2am or 2pm? What day is this?
Since I have bipolar, why aren’t these breakdowns considered a mood episode? My episodes are not very severe. I can go to work, smile at people all day, and feel worse than a piece of shit smeared on the sidewalk the whole time. But I’m functioning.
This recent nervous breakdown started with a panic attack. I never have those. It felt like I was dying. God help those of you who have panic attacks! And there aren’t any affective meds for that as far as I know.
On about day 5 of my breakdown I somehow drove myself to my psychiatrist’s office. I asked, isn’t there something you can give me, like a shot of antibiotics when you have an infection, that will snap me out of this? No. What should I do? Are you seeing a therapist? she asks. Uh…no. I haven’t had medical insurance in 6 months.
In my research to find a cure, all I read was the same old, same old. Seek therapy. See your psychiatrist. Get outside. Exercise. Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Talk to friends. Get plenty of sleep but not too much. Blah blah blah.
The Moody Mom’s Advice: take your meds. Talk to a therapist if you have one. Do not whine to your friends about it! If you do that too much you’re going to find yourself with very few friends. Call in sick with the flu. And then just ride it out. You will get better!