We all go through times in our lives when we can get really anxious. For example, in an exam that will determine our possible admission to an academic or professional institution. Or in the days leading up to our wedding, which seems to have endless last minute loose ends.
The pressure can exceed more than one at certain times. What is not so normal is to suffer this type of anguish on a frequent basis. There are people who, without knowing exactly how, see how anxiety takes over their lives in the form of nervous breakdowns. Why do they occur? How can we avoid them?
What is a nervous breakdown?
Colloquially, a nervous breakdown is spoken of as a “nervous breakdown” . The ability of our mind to manage certain situations reaches its limit, and our nervous system goes haywire.
For example, a nervous breakdown can prevent you from making a public presentation. Anxiety can appear in the days before, suffering a great burden for something that has not yet arrived. Just before it happens or at the beginning is when there may be more cases of nervous breakdowns, even preventing the person from developing the activity in some cases.
In these conditions our nervous system can be very altered. Even so, our body can withstand moments of maximum stress such as those that involve a nervous breakdown from time to time. Evolutionarily we are prepared for it . What we are not doing, proving to be much more harmful, is living in a permanent state of anxiety.
Causes of nervous breakdowns
A nervous breakdown is characterized by such an impact on stress levels that the person can suffer a mental block, preventing normal mental functions. There are many possible situations that can cause us to “lose our temper” at that level. It depends on our temperament, personality, experience, security, resilience, demands of the environment, expectations, …
Basically, the episode of the nervous breakdown happens when the demands that may appear in our lives exceed our capacities to face them. For example, a nervous breakdown can be manifested by the death of a loved one or by suffering any loss of great value, such as a romantic breakup or a divorce.
Traumas caused by living through a natural disaster or being the victim of abuse, violence or theft can also cause a nervous breakdown. In reality, any event that suddenly has a great emotional or physical impact can lead to a nervous breakdown.
On the other hand, it can also emerge due to a constant accumulation of pressure of various kinds. A person can show great resilience for a long time in the face of difficult situations at work, financial level, etc., but one day suddenly succumb.
In this sense, all the stressful and overwhelming factors can end up triggering a nervous breakdown if some sudden event ends up being the last straw. In any case, it is very important to note that everything is mediated by excessively negative thoughts.
Identify symptoms of nervous breakdown
People with nervous breakdowns can feel very overwhelmed by the things they are going through. When someone is in this situation, they can hardly allow themselves to feel joy or pleasure. Rather, feelings of apathy or discouragement are manifested that can lead to depressive states.
Mood swings are also common, as the person feels wear and tear that affects them emotionally. His deficiency when facing his challenges can lead him to feel remorse, guilt, anger, … but what he feels most is lack of motivation to do things and helplessness.
Believing that you don’t have the resources to do what you have to do is very discouraging. The hopelessness in not knowing how to control the circumstances that life presents is one of the clearest symptoms of nervous breakdowns. Care must be taken that the inability to see how to get things done does not lead to symptoms of depression.
Another symptom that occurs is isolation . On many occasions, those who suffer from nervous breakdowns spend most of their time alone, away from friends and family. The idea of meeting them is exhausting, and when you are stressed you prefer to reserve your energy to face their difficult challenges.
Sleep disturbances are also common. As with other anxiety disorders, sleep can easily be disturbed. There are many ways of manifesting, such as difficulty in falling asleep or waking up several times during the night due to excessive thoughts.
How to cope with nervous breakdowns
To deal with a nervous breakdown, a recommended first step is to talk about it with someone you trust. Keeping stress to yourself is not a good strategy. On the other hand, sharing our experience allows a relief and to leave the habitual patterns of negative thoughts.
Exercising is also a great way to deal with nervous breakdowns. There are many people who will be surprised, but it will not be those who do sports on a regular basis. They know that physical activity is an escape route for our mind to disconnect from its problems. In addition, when we do physical activity our body secretes endorphins, substances that make our brain feel pleasure.
The most appropriate thing is, in any case, to learn to avoid these nervous breakdowns in the future. In the process of self-discovery, everyone can see what foot is weak from, and it is best to empower themselves to anticipate the worst.
This can translate into simple gestures to manage stress, such as learning to say “no” when asked for something that we are not mentally or emotionally ready for at the time.
We must know how to take care of ourselves, and a good way is to dedicate a time of the day only to ourselves. Setting limits between obligations and time for ourselves is vital. For example, that the boundaries between work and personal life are excessively blurred can end up again entangling us in a permanent anxiety that can lead to new nervous breakdowns. Setting limits and striving not to exceed them is essential.
In case you suffer nervous breakdowns and cannot cope with them, it is best to visit a psychotherapist. From clinical psychology there are ways to help people overcome these types of difficulties. Above all, the treatment is based on challenging negative thoughts, as they are the main responsible for generating anxiety and the sensations in which one feels overwhelmed.