Experiencing a “nervous breakdown” does not mean you’ve “gone mad” as many have historically thought. Rather, it is a breaking point. But you are not broken.
“Did you hear about Billy’s wife, Tammy? She had a nervous breakdown…”
Like so many children before me, I had to piece together a lot of things based on what little information I could glean from the hushed whispers of adults in my youth. The first time I overheard them talking about someone having a nervous breakdown, my mind went wild with visuals. A nervous breakdown? What was that?! My mother and her sisters sat drinking tea at the kitchen table, wide-eyed and shaking their heads empathetically. My mother “couldn’t believe it.” One “saw it coming for years.” Another “had no idea it had gotten that bad.”
There was no talk of recovery. There was no talk of nervous breakdown treatment of any kind, or anything that would lead me to think there was hope for this woman. They talked as though something definitive and concrete had happened – like a broken arm or a car crash. Thankfully, they were very wrong.
I didn’t understand what a nervous breakdown actually was until I was solidly an adult. The phrase itself has become less common as mental health breakthroughs continue to be made, and the general understanding of mental health issues grows along with them, but it is still sometimes used. Technically speaking, there is no such thing as a “nervous breakdown.” Rather, that is a blanket term that was used to describe something many women and men were enduring for which there was not yet a name or diagnosis.
In answering What does it mean to have a nervous breakdown?, Dr. Hall-Flavin explains, “The term “nervous breakdown” is sometimes used by people to describe a stressful situation in which they’re temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life. It’s commonly understood to occur when life’s demands become physically and emotionally overwhelming.” He goes on to say, “Signs of a so-called nervous breakdown vary from person to person and depend on the underlying cause. Exactly what constitutes a nervous breakdown also varies from one culture to another. Generally, it’s understood to mean that a person is no longer able to function normally.” If my mother and her sisters had explained it that way, my imagination might have been able to piece together something much closer to what my neighbor had really experienced.
A “nervous breakdown” isn’t a specific thing, nor does what many describe as a nervous breakdown present itself in identical ways from person to person. As such, nervous breakdown treatment is a personally-tailored plan that focuses on the specific issues you are dealing with. It can be an amalgam of anxiety, depression, feeling extremely overwhelmed and stressed, and more. Individuals suffering from mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and other mental health issues can often experience a sense of overwhelm or crisis when their disorder(s) are not well-managed. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, and overwhelm, and have other symptoms that at one time may have been called “nervous breakdown,” help is available for you. In your time at Bridges to Recovery, our dedicated and knowledgeable team of professionals will help uncover and explore your unique issues and concerns. Your treatment plan will be specifically tailored to your needs as no two people are dealing with exactly the same things, even when their conditions themselves are the same.
Contact us today to take the first step toward reclaiming your life. Just as we all have a breaking point, we all have a chance at a new beginning. And we’d love to walk alongside you on that journey from breakdown to breakthrough.
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