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How to Avoid a Nervous Breakdown

PostedOctober 24, 2017


It’s that time of the year again, and unless you’re surrounded by Tibetan monks, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in your life – including you – that wouldn’t say they’re feeling over-extended right now.

You know exactly what we’re talking about; you’re juggling several projects and are tasked with huge deadlines, and on top of that, the kids in your family are preparing for upcoming exams! You have an endless list of things on which to catch up, and it feels as if you’ve hit rock bottom…

The good(ish) news is that, according to T Byram Karasu, MD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, nervous breakdowns are rare.

The term “nervous breakdown” has been so widely used and misused. A nervous breakdown is not a clinical term and is not considered a mental illness, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a serious issue. According to Karasu, dealing with constant overwhelming stressors – like working crazy hours without any downtime – is the most common cause of a breakdown. It is a mental and emotional collapse that renders a person unable to function normally. In general, a nervous breakdown is preceded by extreme stress and anxiety that leaves you feeling vulnerable.

Although the symptoms could vary from person to person, it’s important to spot the signs before you crash and burn. If you feel anxious all the time, that unknown fear that overwhelms you even if several things in your life is going well. Or, you constantly worry that something bad is going to happen. Your behaviour changes; you’re short with people, answering with one-word responses. It also feels as if you can’t think straight. It might be difficult to focus on what you might normally find the simplest of tasks. You might suddenly find yourself not sleeping, or sleeping too much. Or, very often, you may suffer from extreme fatigue, eat too much or maybe too little, or suffer from severe headaches, stomach aches or panic attacks.

It is important to take stress prevention measures the moment you feel overwhelmed. Prioritise self-care and engage in healthy coping mechanisms that work for you. Mental breakdowns are stress related and techniques such as meditation or yoga can certainly help. Make sure to eat well and get enough sleep. Concentrate on doing one thing at a time. And although it may not seem that you have the time, make sure to get some exercise since it’s a great way to conquer stress and clear your head. Also, start delegating whatever personal and professional tasks you can, because the less (and more manageable) your workload, the less likely you’ll be to fall off the deep end.

It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed this time of year, but don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you are unable to deal with life due to stress.

Remember, you can do anything, but not everything. Be kind to yourself and get lost in the moment often; never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.



DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.