Sometimes we collapse because we have been too strong, we have endured too much, we have been available for too long, we have taken on too many responsibilities… When there are many “too much” in our lives, it is normal that we suffer a deep mental breakdown.
The mental breakdown is usually a slow process, it grows slowly without we realize it. The problem is that it often ends up “exploding” due to unimportant situations that we would not even notice under other circumstances. The final straw can be anything that puts us in front of the impossibility of moving forward. Then is when we collapse, literally or metaphorically.
What is nervous breakdown and what are its causes?
The nervous breakdown is a state of extreme mental and emotional fatigue that is often accompanied by a feeling of lack of physical strength. This state of extreme fatigue is caused by an excessive consumption of our emotional and/or cognitive resources. It is often experienced as a kind of physical and mental inertia, a feeling of “heaviness” that accompanies us every day.
The causes of the nervous breakdown are various, although in many cases there is a constant: we give too much and receive too little. The mental breakdown appears as a result of constant and even unlimited availability, at work, towards the others or a project that excites us but at the same time absorbs a lot of our energy, everyday problems, everyday activities…
At the same time, we receive virtually nothing in return that can balance it. We cannot rest and relax sufficiently, we do not spend time with ourselves and do not receive enough attention, affection and understanding from those around us. In practice, it is as if from our emotional “ATM” we only withdraw without worrying about making a deposit.
In other cases the mental fatigue is caused by too many changes occurring in a very short time, even if these are positive. However, when everything happens so quickly we cannot manage it and feel overwhelmed. In these cases, even if we apparently have everything we want, there is a sort of sensor in our mind that tells us that something is wrong.
Mental fatigue: Premonitory symptoms of mental breakdown
1. Loss of energy. The first symptoms of nervous breakdown are physical, so it is normal for you to feel powerless, already in the morning when you get up, so when you open your eyes you think you cannot face the day.
2. Irritability. One of the most obvious symptoms of nervous breakdown is nervousness, irritability and emotional hypersensitivity due to loss of self-control. At the same time you start to interpret the stimuli as if they were threats, which lead you to react by putting yourself on the defensive.
3. Insomnia. Often, behind the nervous breakdown are hidden unresolved problems, which are repeated in your mind and do not allow you to reconcile a good night’s sleep.
4. Anhedonia. Is the inability to enjoy the little pleasures of life, the things you once liked do not attract you anymore, it’s as if the world had suddenly lost its colors. In some cases you may even feel like you are floating in a sort of distant limbo that takes you away from reality.
5. Loss of motivation. When you are extremely exhausted you can no longer find the motivation to get involved in new projects or do those things that you were passionate about before. Any project seems titanic and you develop a deep apathy towards the whole world. Furthermore, disappointment and despair also tend to appear.
6. Memory errors. The attention is one of the first psychological processes damaged when you are exhausted, and this causes frequent errors. It is likely that you forget messages, you do not remember where you left the keys or even find it difficult to remember what you ate the day before. This is because your mind is too saturated to continue to process and store information on a conscious level.
7. Slow thinking. The nervous breakdown also affects cognitive processes, so you may notice that you think more slowly or have difficulty thinking. Everything you were doing quickly before is now more difficult and sometimes it is difficult to give a logical sense to ideas or follow a speech.
Who is more vulnerable to mental breakdown?
We can all have a psychological breakdown, especially when we go through particularly stressful situations in life, but there are some personality characteristics that can make us more vulnerable to this mental exhaustion.
– Perfectionism. Perfectionists, who ask too much to themselves, end up increasing their weight on their shoulders which in the long run generates more stress.
– Difficulty in delegating. People who want to do everything themselves because they believe that the others are unable, are more prone to suffer from nervous breakdown because they take on too much responsibility.
– Extreme sensitivity. People who are very empathetic and hypersensitive are more likely to suffer from emotional exhaustion because they often take on the problems of others as if they were them, without being able to establish a psychological distance.
– The incapacity to relax. Some people, because of the characteristics of their nervous system, find it more difficult to relax and disconnect than others. It is as if their brains worked continuously to the maximum. But in the long run this will end up presenting them a bill.
Remedies for the mental fatigue: The 5 rules to follow
Everyone has to find their own remedy to manage mental fatigue, which means that you need to understand what is consuming your energy and tackle that problem, perhaps from a different perspective. Remember that sometimes a change of perspective is enough to change everything, without changing anything.
However, below you can find 5 general rules to deal with nervous breakdown:
1. Rest. To be effective and productive you have to rest. In life it is essential to find a balance between work, obligations, free time and rest. Make sure you find the time to relax, making sure that it becomes a daily habit so as to prevent nervous breakdown.
2. Set priorities. The day has only 24 hours and cannot be extended. Therefore, you must learn to prioritize taking into account not only the things that seem urgent, but also those that you are passionate about and give you satisfaction. Filling the day only with activities that generate stress causes a deep mental fatigue, you need to make sure you find a balance.
3. Be less demanding with yourself. Be a little more realistic, you’re not a superman or a superwoman. Sometimes nothing happens if you make mistakes, if things do not go as expected or you postpone them. You simply do not have to add unnecessary pressure.
4. Be compassionate with yourself. You must relate to yourself by taking a more positive and compassionate attitude. To do this you need to adapt the speech you maintain with yourself to convey trust and tranquility, instead of recriminating and criticizing yourself. A speech that adds more stress and discomfort is the fuel that feed the nervous breakdown.
5. Find yourself again. The nervous breakdown usually creates around us a hood made of worries, pressures, duties, anxieties and needs that, in the long run, will make sure that we forget ourselves. Therefore, it is important to find a space to be alone with yourself, some moments when you simply breathe quietly and connect with your needs, dreams and desires.