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Nervous breakdown - serious question

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by _teacher90_, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Has anyone any experience of a nervous breakdown? What are the signs and symptoms and how does it differe from the 'normal' signs of depression?
    Thank you in advance.
  2. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    My dad had a breakdown two years ago, and had no discernible symptoms at all. don't want to put on too many details but we had no idea, until he went to the doctors from work, came home, sat on the settee and sobbed.
    I don't know how normal this is in the run up to things, but thought I would put my experience in. Thinking of you, be it you or someone you care about xx
  3. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    a nervous breakdown isn't really a medical condition it's just a colloquial name for what doctors would call a depressive or anxiety disorder
  4. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    No indeed. But as we are not doctors it is safe to assume that the OP is referring to a severe and longlasting bout of depression, which sees the sufferer withdrawing from everyday life, often feeling as if suicide or harming themselves is the only way they have of dealing with the extremes of emotion they are suffering.
    Well this is how I read the post anyway - and surely the very fact that you can respond to the post means that you also have a pretty good idea of what the OP is referring to.
    Hate the pedantry of words surrounding this issue. If you had to label all of my dad's symptoms, you would be at it a while, where as we all know what people mean when they say 'nervous breakdown' so why pick it up?
    Hope OP is okay.
  5. This is exactly what happened to a colleague of mine. It was no secret that she was stressed but the extent to which even she herself didn't realise. It appears to be that sometimes it can be that one little thing which just tips you over the edge, rather scary really!
  6. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    JennyMus - I wonder how common this is? Must be relatively common I would have thought if two of us on here have the same experience. You're right re: the scary bit of it! It could be any of us it would seem! We were horrified. Later on in his recovery, which is still ongoing (!),we asked why he didn't say anything. His now infamous reply was, 'I said Sunday night I didn't want to go to work.' !!!!! lol. Funny now, but really scary at the time. I thank God I have thus far been lucky with my mental health. Such a lasting impact on all involved.
  7. I can vouch for the one little thing that can finally tip you over and yes very,very scary even more so when you look back and realise just how ill you have been.
  8. Yes, I believe it is. The situation I witnessed was in the staff room, head into hands and that was it, awful, utterly awful. I know of 2 more that happened on a very similar basis, i.e. no real warning signs. I think a lot of it comes down to how we manage stress, we all feel it but some of us have the ability to say f*** it, life is more important and the world won't end if this isn't done. Others effectively panic more with job related issues whirring in their head day and night. The problem is, you don't know which you are until you are pushed to those lengths, and for some that is very sadly too far.

    I also think some of us manage stress in a more physical way, e.g. I won't realise i'm stressed as mentally I have a temperament where I can be blaze at times, I only notice when I sense my shoulders aching a bit or an annoying mild headache and a bit of tiredness. Others are very good at winding themselves up in knots, others drink their way out of it by numbing all thought of work with wine/beer when they arrive home. Stress is a very evil thing, as pressure mounts it can be hard to not see it happening.
  9. I think that my "nervous breakdown" as I saw it, it was a gradual build up of feelings of hopelessness and not being able to cope, that happened over a number of weeks. Which ended up with me literally in a horrible, crying, meltdown. Crying hysterically, quite literally. Shaking, hot and cold like a fever. In my case while sitting at my laptop after 3 hours of being incapable of doing my planning.
    So basically my nervous breakdown was the actual meltdown bit - which led to me going to the doctor to get help. Thats my perception of it anyway..
  10. Oh and if you feel you are heading that way..get help now...don't wait for the meltdown.
  11. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    All I was pointing out is that it isn't any different from normal signs of depression. The OP seemed to know what depression was and I was just saying that a nervous breakdown is the same thing but called by non technical language.
  12. Funnily enough, I was only talking to my mum about the term 'nervous breakdown' earlier this afternoon. I am sure that what I had a little while ago would definitely come under the 'nervous breakdown' banner. I was a sobbing, incoherent, unresponsive mess for days and days. I don't even remember those days really, other than the fact that I couldn't see through my eyes at the end of it because they were so swollen with the crying (BAD look!). I'd had a similar thing a few years ago but the doctor put it down to exhaution and he was probably right because there wasn't any significant sign of accompanying depression.

    So, OP, I'd echo one of the other posters who suggested getting help before the meltdown happens. If the meltdown has happened still get help because there is good help out there and it really works.

    (sorry if this post is a bit me, me, me - it's meant to be illustrative rather than self-wallowy)
  13. Mrs_Frog

    Mrs_Frog New commenter

    If someone is aware that there is a problem brewing, that is so much more 'healthy' so to speak than carrying on and then having considerably more problems.
    I get the impression, correct me if I am wrong, but a 'nervous breakdown' seems to be a sudden onset/ escalation of feelings and behaviour that is similar to depression, but much more acute and hits you like a 10 ton truck.
    Depending on personal circumstances an episode of 'acute reactive depression' can appear similar to a 'nervous breakdown', circumstances such as relationship breakdown, brereavement etc can trigger this. Long term build up of pressure, such as the work related issues that many posters here seem to be aware of, if not party to, can build up to a 'breaking point' too.
    OP, if you are aware that something is looming, get to the GP and see what they say. My GP at the time told me no, you are not having what you call a 'nervous breakdown', you are having a bout of acute reactive depression in response to what has recently happened. He then went through what I was doing, and how I was functioning on a day to day basis. He then advised time off (only needed a week or so at the time, just to get a few things sorted) and then asked me what I was going to do with that week. It was good to admit that yes there may have been something wrong, and that someone was basically listening and giving the right advice for me at the time. (And saying it was OK to be in that way for a while) I think it stopped anything major happening, because I was aware of it at the time.
    Good luck
    B x
  14. My old manager had what was termed as a "nervous breakdown". He used to work unbelievable hours (90 plus a week when the rest of us worked 43). Most of this was from home. When he came onto the unit, he was always rushing around manically and would bellow at staff a lot from the other side of the unit. A lot of the staff were scared of him and he made quite a few of them cry with comments which seemed unnecessarily harsh but were, I think, a sign of him failing to cope with work any more. He went AWOL for 3 days with no explanation to anybody and then came back, acting overly happy and cheerful. 3 weeks later, he just walked out of work one night and never returned. He was on sick leave for a year and then resigned. It was an awful shame because he lived for the students and really loved to make a difference but 11 years of the stress of it all had just made him feel that it was impossible to return.
  15. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    These instances of prolonged distress and untypical extreme behaviour sound like what I would call a "breakdown".
    In the midst of a time of great work related stress I had a day when I started to cry on the way home and couldn't stop. I remember phoning my friend to explain why i wasn't at work and just bubbling through the tears - they just wouldn't stop. It lasted a few days. This wasn't a breadown but it was a physical reaction to a horrible time. The short time off helped me.
  16. Thank you all for your posts.
    I think your replies have concreted my decision that I need to make immediate changes before I find myself in a position of complete 'breakdown'.
    My thoughts go out to all those who have posted that have experienced these feelings and I hope that I will be in a position soon to say that I've survived this.

  17. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    I am so sorry that I seem to have mislaid your thread with a terminology argument - it just resonates with me somewhat.
    I am glad, very very glad, that you seem to have been able to recognise that something is wrong with your mental health, in time to seek help for it.
    It never fails to amaze eme the peoplethat will seek help with a broken arm etc but never with anything regarding mental health. Please please know that it is not a weakness to seek help. Now. When it matters. people will be shocked, prob thought you were coping okay, but far better now than later.
    Best of luck to you. SEEK HELP NOW. Honeslty, nobody expected my dad to be ill, we all, includnig my dad, have paid the price for that ignorance.
    Thinking of you, xxx
    domton xxx

  18. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    grammar etc is awful - a good biryani and a few drinks put paid to typing I am afraid. It still stands though. Despite being unablre to think of the word I wanted in the first sentence?? 'Sorry I seem to have diverted your thread', may be a betteroption than 'mislaid'????
    My thoughts still stand though - I hope you, seeks the help needed, and you are in my thoughts, biryani and house red aside xxx
  19. Thank you all for your responses. It has prompted me to do what I know I should have done all along and am now signed off work. Feel like this is a temporary solution but will help to get me through the next short while to rest.
    I guess my next question should be how to recover from this?

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