Breakthrough or Breakdown? © Martyn Carruthers2004

Our work encourages a joyful expression of life that brings insight and understanding. We help people manage difficult emotions and solve relationship problems.

As soon as the rush is over,
I’m going to have a nervous breakdown!
I worked hard for it, I owe it to myself,
And nobody will deprive me of it!

What happens during a Nervous or Mental Breakdown?

Nervous, mental or emotional breakdowns are lay terms. Nerves and emotions don’t break down; these terms imply a loss of conscious control or a sense of approaching collapse. These terms also refer to people who hide their emotions, until they express their emotions chaotically.

The emotional crisis often called a nervous, mental or emotional breakdown may include a temporary loss of personality or disintegration of personal identity. The unpleasant consequences may include an inability to function, dissociation, disillusionment, depression, hyperactivity, anxiety and / or panic attacks.

Nervous breakdowns can be disturbing, disorienting and frightening. They may come suddenly following stress or they may seem to build up over time. They may be triggered by the loss of idealistic dreams. Depression, confusion or anxiety may accompany an unpleasant sense of, “I am out of control”.

We also help people deal with humiliation – feeling judged as a failure by important people. Humiliation is common following emotional neglect, bullying or favoritism; and threats of humiliation are common in emotional blackmail – including pressure from sport coaches, teachers and helping professionals.

Warning Signs of Nervous Breakdown

Some warning signs can alert you that someone might be experiencing an emotional crisis or relationship breakdown, and may benefit from immediate help or attention.

  • they cannot remember important recent events
  • they threaten or try to harm themselves or others
  • they damage possessions, home or relationships
  • they endlessly complain about feeling disillusioned
  • they cannot cope with daily chores and responsibilities
  • their words make no sense (sometimes called word salad)

If you see any of these, consider calling a crisis help line or source of help.
Many cities have suicide or crisis hotlines. Hospitals or medical centers may
help you decide how serious are the signs and what you can do to help.

Stress and Emotional Breakdowns

Anxiety, stress and depression can occur when people suppress and hide their emotions and reactions. People who feel that they have no choices may experience and express strong negative emotions. Following such stress, some people may say that they feel on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

You may want to react to stressful situations by either getting away from the situation or fighting back. Yet you cannot always do this. If you cannot run away or fight back, you might force yourself to stay … and your stress increases. This might happen at home, at work or in a close relationship.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, you can change your relationship habits or you can learn to cope with stress. You can eat healthier. You can walk a lot and exercise for about half hour at least 3 times a week. You can ensure that get enough sleep. You can avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. You can take a vacation. You can learn how to relax. Most of all, you can build and enjoy healthier relationships.

Coping with stress often means learning how to communicate better, and our communication coaching may help. We also help people recognize and change stressful relationship habits and resolve complex relationship problems.

Personality Masks can Break Down

People we have met who broke down often appeared to be either super-people-pleasing and/or super-responsible. A people-pleaser may obsess about being nice and not offending anyone. Super-responsible people may be perceived by others as control-freaks, perfectionists or workaholics.

Perfectionists often obsess about imperfections. They want to be champions, the best, winners etc. They may try to make their own lights brighter by making other people’s lights seem dimmer. But they may break down if they do not reach their goals.

On the other hand, high achievers mostly enjoy their lives and tend to be more persistent, happier with life and more successful than perfectionists.

We help people find solutions. When a personality mask shatters, a more truthful and healthier identity can emerge. This emergence can be painful and haphazard with a lot of stress, or it can be gently self-controlled during our chaos coaching.

Solutions for Anxiety, Stress and Depression

What causes breakdowns?

  • Do illnesses cause breakdowns? Perhaps sometimes, although few people who become ill experience mental breakdown.
  • Does trauma cause breakdowns? Perhaps sometimes, although few people break down during trauma, even those who suffer extreme trauma.
  • Do genetic factors cause break downs? Rather than genetics, behavior copied from suffering family members is the only known link to inherited dispositions to stress illnesses.
  • Do low levels of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) cause breakdowns? Perhaps sometimes, although low levels of neurotransmitters may be a symptom of breakdowns rather than a cause.

Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals which help regulate moods. To boost these levels, people can either change their behavior or they can take drugs. The easier route (and much more profitable for health professionals) is prescription medication – (and support a $12 billion / year drug industry in America alone).

About 70% of people who take antidepressants will experience a breakdown if they stop taking these addictive drugs. Antidepressants treat symptoms – low levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. (While antidepressants are often given to the wrong people, many people with severe depression are untreated.)

So what is the root cause of mental breakdown? The main difference between people who experience a breakdown and people who don’t appears to be emotional maturity … how well they manage and express their emotions. Immature adults more often seem to suffer unhealthy relationships, especially with their families and friends. Immature people often seem to avoid resolving stress and continually make more.

Please consult a physician about any medical conditions.

Do you want to avoid breakdowns and change relationship habits?

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