15 November 2023
It’s rather fitting then that this month is host to World Mental Health Day. This is why we’re shining a light on mental wellbeing and that end-of-year pressure.
So, as you find yourself juggling several projects, tasked with huge deadlines, kids preparing for upcoming exams, an endless list of things on which to catch up, and it feels as if you’ve hit rock bottom, you might be asking “am I about to have a nervous breakdown?”.
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 symptoms could vary from person to person, it’s important to spot the signs before you crash and burn:
It’s 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. 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.