I was asked this the other day by a terrified person who was struggling with her consuming anxiety.
I know I used to be concerned about this myself back then, and had my fears put at ease once it was explained to me.
The good news is that in the medical world, there is no such thing as a ‘nervous breakdown’ any longer. As crappy as one can feel when all consumed with anxiety and depression, the good news is that what they’re feeling is as bad as it gets.
Nervous breakdown is a term that was once used to refer to a wide variety of mental illnesses, an easy way to blanket over these issues when even the medical world was shaking its head.
People fear the term because they perhaps picture themselves in a psychotic state or hunched over and rocking forward and backwards, losing all sense of reality. I know I had that image!! The breakdown of your nerves is pretty much what happens when you have an anxiety disorder or suffer from acute anxiety. The constant fear of anxiety is a highly stressed state that can fray nerves, leading to heart palpitations or light headedness or knots in stomachs or any other of the many many symptoms. This leads to the anxious thoughts leading to more anxious feelings and the vicious cycle continues.
That’s it. It’s not great. But that’s it. There is no other big bad breakdown around the corner waiting to get to you.
I hear this is a common fear so I hope that this can be comforting to those who fear the anxiety is going to seize them whole. I put this in the other basket of fearful thoughts that are common ‘what if I go crazy... drop dead... lose control...” None of this ever happens from anxiety. You are hundred percent in control (which can itself be the problem), and too smart for your own good. It’s all still there, including your mind, you just need to learn how to work with the logical part of it.
This is why it is important to ask questions and educate yourself about what is happening.
Your knowledge about mental illnesses is absolute power here and will be your saving grace.
If you know that this is as bad as it gets (as terrible as it is for now) then you can take those steps forward to begin healing