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Signs of a Nervous Breakdown (And How to Survive It)

Signs of a Nervous Breakdown (And How to Survive It)

Life is full of contrast, which means that up’s and downs are a given. Although when the lows get to a point where there’s an inability to function and getting through the day is questionable, attention to your mental wellness is much needed.

Whether you feel like you’ve come close to breaking down completely or not, this article can help you identify symptoms that frequent negative mental states. With awareness, you can learn about symptoms and gain knowledge about self care practices in order to help boost your energy and get you back on your feet when you feel like falling apart.

With that said, it’s important to realize that we all need help at one time or another in life. It’s unfortunate that a lot of us walk around carrying large amounts of stress and worry that we keep to ourselves because we have created the story that “we should” be able to handle things on our own. That could not be the furthest thing from the truth.

I believe and have seen for myself that a strong and successful person knows when to get and ask for help.

As you’ve probably heard before, everything in life has a process and takes time, as does getting to the point where you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Little ways of not listening to your needs and self care eventually lead to huge cracks that become apparent within your mood and the overall state of your life. Not functioning properly is a sign that you’re off and out of balance. To what degree is what determines how close you are to breaking down completely emotionally.

However, being on the verge of a nervous breakdown is a severe state of mind and body. It deserves and demands serious attention.

Signs of a Nervous Breakdown

Awareness is always the first step toward helping yourself, therefore here are some tell tale signs that your attention to your self care and wellness is needed, like STAT.

1. You Feel Totally Out of Balance

When your mental, physical and spiritual self is out of balance, you will not be functioning well.

Being off balance will effect and show up in all ares of your life: relationships, work, health, etc.

Some of us can feel “off” for a day or so and then find our footing. Even if your “off” lasts for weeks and months at a time, this can be a sign that there’s a bigger issue to address.

2. Your Self Care Is Close to Zero

The energy that you give toward your self care acts as the foundation of how you show up in your life. When you’re struggling emotionally, often, self care is the first thing to go.

Forgetting to eat, eating too much, sleeping too much or sleeping too little. Eating unhealthy foods, not exercising and moving your body properly and not connecting socially with others. These are all ways that you neglect taking good care of yourself, which eventually will have a major consequence.

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3. You Lost Your Joy

When you lose your excitement and curiosity for life, it’s hard to feel and be happy.

Note to self: Nothing is worth losing your joy over.

Living to others expectations, doing for everyone other than yourself, feeling unheard in your relationships and feeling lost in your life are all ways that joy can get depleted.

Feeling joy is what living a good life is all about, so when it’s gone that’s a huge red flag.

4. Your Physical Body Is Doing All Sorts of Strange & Unhealthy Things

Your physical body holds your hard emotions, which is why stress that stays stuck in the physical body, often turns into illness.

Your body is always communicating with you via your symptoms. Your body is and will always be talking to you, sometimes screaming if you don’t listen initially.

When you’re nearing a nervous breakdown, here are some physical signs that you can experience:

  • Tight muscles
  • Sleep disturbance
  • High Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite or increase
  • Reaching for substances/activities to cope or fill a void whether it be alcohol, drugs, food, sex, etc.
  • Scattered energy, going to fast, fight or flight energy
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression, extreme sadness
  • Mood swings

Pay attention to your body because it’s always talking to you through your physical sensations and symptoms.

5. You Have Thoughts of Self Harm

Thoughts of self harm and getting to a point where you’re seriously thinking about taking your own life is a serious matter. This state of mind needs professional attention and is a clear tale sign that you’ve hit the bottom and need help getting back up.

Now that you have some awareness around what entails the brewing and growth of living at a mentally unbalanced level, it can be life changing for you to have tools to get yourself back into balance, back into your body and back into a more peaceful state of mind.

How to Deal with a Nervous Breakdown

Here are some ways to get your good vibes to start flowing again:

1. Press the Pause Button

Learning, universally, to go slower in your life will be to your advantage.

Take time to do the little things that bring you joy because, guess what, it’s usually a combination of all the little things lumped together that elevate your level of happy.

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Another side effect of going slower in your life is the ability to see, hear and view things from another perspective. When you’re walking the path of life vs. sprinting, your eye has more time to observe and retain information presented.

Looking at your life and taking the time to slow and pause long enough to catch your breath, and make sure that you’re going in a direction that you want to go is so important.

When we pause long enough, we turn off that “auto pilot” function from within which lets us see if what we’ve been doing “just because it’s what we do” is serving us.

When in doubt: Pause and then proceed

2. Remember That Less is More

There’s a false message in our world that more is better and it’s just not so.

Quality over quantity, friends.

Think about the things in life that really matter. You can have thousands of “friends” on social media, but when you’re in the mist of a major life struggle, who do you call?

Value what really matters. Take the time to trim the fat out of your life that is just created noise, not joy.

3. Clean House

Once you’ve gone over the reality of what you’re giving your time too with a fine toothed comb, it’s time to clear out and rid of what’s not serving you. I’m referring to both an internal and external level clean out.

Look at your living space, work space, and internal world. I recommend starting with cleaning out external objects as often it’s easier for us to work with things we can see, touch and feel.

Clean out items and rid of objects that are simply just taking up space. A great book to read to inspire and help you navigate this task is: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

4. Clean Up Your Mind Space

After you’ve cleared your external space, you might feel and have more of a knowing for where to begin with your internal mind space, as they are connected.

I would point you toward looking at your habits, your relationships and generally speaking, how you spend the hours of your life. What you spend your precious time doing is what creates your reality. Change your habits and you will change your life.

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Pay attention to the internal thoughts and voice that is playing constantly in your head. Get in tune with what this voice is saying, as if it’s separate from you, an inner roommate, if you will.

Spend time evaluating if this is a negative or positive roommate. If you notice that the messages and words from this voice are critical, that’s great information for you to become aware of. If you notice that your internal voice happens to be bringing you down, you can work on changing the tape to something way more uplifting.

A thorough look at your core beliefs can also be of great benefit. What we believe to be true about ourselves dictates our thoughts, which influences our actions and creates our reality.

Our beliefs are really that big of a deal. They have the power to make or break us, therefore, make sure you have laid down some pretty solid beliefs for yourself.

5. Get in Nature Baby

I cannot express this enough. Getting out where you’re exposing yourself to the natural rhythm of the life cycle and breathing in fresh air offers a huge reset.

Making a point to get in nature as much as possible, especially for those of you working in tight, closed office environments is beyond important for your health and mood.

Being in natural elements is healing: Straight up. Consistently giving yourself the gift of being in nature will help elevate your mood and enhance your level of functioning. It’s the best thing for the health of your body, mind and spirit.

6. Move Your Body

If you’re not moving your body in some shape or form regularly, that can be a huge reason why your mind and body feel so unstable.

Getting your blood pumping and releasing toxins and negative energy greatly strengthens your life force.

Beyond inviting you to go to a gym (Go for it if that’s your jam), I invite you to tap into an activity that you really connect to and enjoy.

Best case scenario is that this activity is outside, so you can get a two for one with exposing yourself to nature as you do something healthy for your physical body.

Walk the beach, skateboard, take a mountain trip to ski or snowboard, go surf, paddle board, kayak, go hike, do yoga, dance, bike ride, etc. The options are endless, but my biggest encouragement is for you to find an activity that you feel connected too.

Moving your physical body is a key component to being a healthy person.

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7. Trust Life

Often we become very stressed, fearful and full of anxiety, all things that can lead to a complete mental break, when we’re living in a doubtful and lack mindset.

Believing that we have to be the ones to figure everything out is a substantial amount of pressure for us to put on ourselves.

Let me invite you for a minute to think about a situation in your life that was a really amazing, exciting and special moment. I’m going to go out on a limb and ask you if you had to do anything to create that moment? Or, did the moment just come and go without your need to direct it, orchestrate it and make it be?

My point with asking you this is that, often, the unexpected and special moments of life are not planned. As much as we’re conditioned in this life to plan in order to succeed, I want to offer you the perspective that whatever is meant to be with you will find its way to you. This doesn’t involve you having to stress or work for it to come. Sometimes, the reason we are struggling so intensely is because we’re holding on too tight and trying to control.

With that said, I’m not suggesting that all you have to do is just sit, do nothing and get what you want. Nope. Your “work” is to do your best to take care of yourself and honor where your curiosity and happiness are pointing.

By attending to yourself, doing good things for yourself, making good choices for yourself, you will naturally be lead to more positive and fruitful opportunities and people that will continue to improve the quality of your life.

Final Thoughts

To sum this all up, if you’re struggling currently with your emotional state and have enough awareness to be reading this article, you also have the opportunity to start doing things to help turn your situation around.

Like now.

Acknowledging what’s happening to you and seeking help, while slowly chipping away and letting go of the habits and ways of thinking that are holding you back will help you gain the momentum to start improving your life.

Remember, little by little. There’s no need to overwhelm yourself toward creating a better state of mind. Start slow and begin to do one small thing that’s supporting your growth, rather than taking from it. Begin there.

Cheers to you creating consistent and healthy new habits that will help change the quality of your life and mind, which will ultimately help you to feel relief in a time of heavy emotional pain.

Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

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Kim Egel

Kim Egel is a licensed therapist whose private practice is centered around the concepts of the mind, body & soul connection.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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