Bell rings!! The wife opens the door. Hey babe, the husband does not reply but directly goes into the sofa and lay his back. How was the gulf? Wife asks. Husband is staring at the ceiling without any answer. Is everything alright? No, everything is fine, voice little shaken. Not a usual scenario, she confirms, are you sure? Suddenly loud voice burst into tears. The wife is in shock and does not know how to react because this never happened before.
A successful man, a loving father, and a good husband, everything seemed alright until today but, he was right. After all, it was not about today. It was the accumulated emotions from years hidden inside him which he kept subsiding, suppressing. Sometimes being man enough, sometimes not having time to deal with it, and sometimes thinking he would look weak if he opens about his feelings. He thinks his vulnerability is to hide rather than to show.
A similar kind of scenario might be familiar to you. You or either people you know outburst in anger, sometimes in tears, and sometimes trembling in fear. Although not medically termed, this phenomenon is called an Emotional or Nervous breakdown and is undoubtedly related to mental health.
Why you experience Emotional breakdown?
Emotional breakdowns are more common than you think. As mental health is still finding its place and still considered taboo to have mental health issues, many people do not even consider sharing their feelings. Therefore it stays undetected and undealt for years until one day the accumulation outburst leading to an emotional breakdown.
1. Overworking, overachieving & overcompensating
The world is changing faster than ever, growing competitive culture globally. It has brought persistent work stress among the general population. People want to achieve more, to achieve more, you compensate more. On the journey, you overcompensate your health, loved ones, and emotional stability. In the long run, that contributes to having an emotional breakdown.
2. Not dealing with emotional issues at first hand
You can not brush off emotional trauma. It might seem to be gone for a moment but, it keeps piling up inside. Like cancer, everything seems to work fine until one day everything collapse. Henceforth, emotional problems should be deal with priority. You must seek a solution to the root problem rather than run away.
3. Loss of loved ones.
A huge life change, such as divorce and a recent traumatic event, such as the death of a family member can lead to the experience of emotional outbursts and nervous breakdown. Expressing grief in loss is normal. However, if that grief stays with you for years and affects your day-to-day behavior, then you must not deceive yourself by thinking it is normal. You need to seek help to recover from such grief.
Financial hardships can also have a devastating impact on emotional capability. In a world where everything is related to some financial transaction, not having financial stability does affect the emotional aspect. Moreover, social media and its influence make it even harder to avoid financial comparison. News like a man killing his whole family due to loss of a job or financial crisis is not new. You have heard how an unstable Financial carrier might lead someone to suicide. Hence, Financial uncertainty and instability highly contribute to experiencing an emotional breakdown.
5. Chronic medical conditions:
People with chronic medical conditions are more vulnerable to emotional stress. Their health condition is already a big reason for having a hard time dealing with it. Moreover, others attitude and opinion toward them contributes in great extent to their emotional stability. Thus, if such patients do not get enough emotional support, it can cause them a nervous breakdown or lead to more serious mental illness.
What are the symptoms before an emotional breakdown?
Of course, one might not have the same symptoms as another. However, some of the frequent and visible symptoms are:
Feeling of loss of hope, suicidal thoughts, or self-harm. Extreme mood swings, anger, rage. Panic attacks, extreme fear, and difficulty in breathing. Flashbacks of a traumatic event. Loss of appetite. Social detachment. Self-isolation.
Why Emotional/Nervous Breakdown is stigmatized?
Whenever the term mental health/ illness is used, people react with unease. People do not prefer to discuss anything related to mental health as mental illness is stigmatized by society. Stress, anxiety, emotional breakdown, depression, borderline disorder are part of mental health yet, no one prefers to talk about any of these with colleagues, family, or friends. Mental illness is as common as a person getting a cough. You do not hide your cough either do you get afraid to admit that you are having a runny nose. However, due to society stigmatizing mental illness, anything related to mental health is considered diminishing.
The widespread perception of, you are weak, you must be inferior compared to another, or you must be soft if you have mental and emotional issues. Such perception blocks people from open discussion. In reality, the more you do not talk about your emotional state, the more you suffer. You are slammed with words like be man enough. Women’s perseverance is what makes them beautiful. All these veg comments push individuals to side-line their emotions rather than find a solution or seek help.
Even the doctors are aware, how hard it is for patients to come up for treatment because of the taboo surrounding mental health. Dr.Jeffrey Lieberman says we lack awareness and understanding of mental health till today. People feel ashamed to admit it or address their mental health condition. Not only that, there is a whole Anti psychiatry moment going on.
However, there is hope. Dr. Jeffrey also emphasizes that stigma is not new to illness. In the past, there was a stigma surrounding illnesses like tuberculosis, aids, etc. However, with more awareness and education this stigma has vanished and now is treated normally. Therefore treatment doesn’t only eliminate the symptoms but also the prejudice of the illness.
In the recent episode of Tim Ferris Podcast (link the podcast here) Grant Hackett and Michael Fred Phelps II, both Olympic-winning swimmers, open up about their emotional breakdown and mental health journey. Nowadays more and more celebrities are bringing mental health into the light of a mass audience. This kind of action is necessary to push concerned authorities for more open discussion and impose policies in place. This is definitely a tunnel toward hope for mental health.
How to deal with an emotional breakdown?
Top 5 tips that can help you to deal with before or after experiencing an emotional breakdown.
1. Talk about it openly:
There is no way to get help unless you let them know that you need help. Even if someone loves you still, they cannot understand what is going on inside your head. Therefore the first step toward solving any problem is to talk about the problem itself
Emotional issues and scars are not visible, it takes time to heal. Therefore therapy is a must to overcome the emotional trauma. Therapy and therapist are available in a wide range due to which finding the right one might take longer sometimes so, seek the one that suits you the best
Compassion goes a long way, and the best part is, we all have it. If you are the one going through emotional trauma, show compassion to yourself. If someone else you love, care or even stranger is going through it, then be compassionate toward them. Being compassionate toward another human being creates stronger emotional bonding. It gives them a sense of validation.
4. Meditation is an amazing tool
The benefits of meditation cannot be ignored when it comes to mental health. Meditation is such a great tool to deal with emotional and mental stress. Meditating for 10 minutes a day can help you to reduce your stress immensely.
5. Proactive measures.
Exercise, Enough sleep, Nutrition are some of the proactive measures that one must always be taking care of. These are the keys to the overall healthy lifestyle however this does not mean if you are doing this you will never have to deal with mental issues rather these are not the breaks but the fuels to keep emotional and mental stability.
This time where most of the people are under lockdown depriving of social interaction is the most challenging time for an emotional and mental state. Therefore this is the time you should be aware more than ever on your feelings and try to have an open conversation.
So, an emotional breakdown is normal and can happen to anyone. Therefore talking about it openly, trying to find the root of the problem, and solve it is the best way rather than hiding it due to fear of stigma. Honest and courageous self-care checking in with people who can help you must be integrated into your lifestyle. After all, an emotional breakdown is not a moment of weakness but a moment to realize what matters most and what affects the most.