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What Is A Nervous Breakdown? And What Are The Symptoms?
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What Is A Nervous Breakdown? And What Are The Symptoms?

I still remember so clearly as a boy, listening to my parents chatting about "poor old Bloggs. Yes, it was a nervous breakdown. Poor Martha tried to cover it up, but of course we all knew, you know."

There was a time when I thought that most of the people my parents knew had nervous breakdowns. Now, that's more years ago than I care to remember, and in those days, conditions like depression were unheard of. In those days, that would have been out of the question. If one was anyone of any standing, one certainly never admitted to having 'nerves!' Well, I mean it was frightfully 'infra dig!' You look back on those days in England and wonder why the whole country hadn't tipped over the edge, as it were.

Now, we live in much more enlightened times and of course you should talk to someone. There's this old saying; "A problem shared is a problem halved," and there's a great deal of truth in that. Better, perhaps, to have a chat to someone outside the family; your doctor, therapist, good friend. But someone who'll listen sympathetically.

Yes. all that's all very well, but just what is a nervous breakdown? And what are the symptoms?

If you've suffered a long period of worry, distress, anxiety or depression related, possibly, by financial woes, health, worries at work, a relationship. Perhaps a combination of a number of things. Excessive stress leads to feelings of helplessness and being overwhelmed, to utter exhaustion, to the inability even to climb out of bed in the morning.

Of course, people don't actually 'break down.' Cars break down, but people don't. Neither do we 'let off steam,' nor 'recharge our batteries.' Sometimes, a single event can prove the catalyst for this most unpleasant condition; the death of a loved one, perhaps or losing your job. Here are some more symptoms of what, for the moment, we'll refer to as a nervous breakdown;

* Feeling guilty for appearing pathetic.

* No longer interested in food.

* No longer interested in your hobbies, nor life in general.

* Sex is of no further interest.

* You find even the smallest job too tiring.

* Loneliness.

* Feelings of desperation.

Once a person has had a nervous breakdown, impatience with themselves may set in, coupled with a fear that it may happen again.

We talked about days gone by and how this business of a nervous breakdown was really a sort of catch-all, before conditions like depression, anxiety and stress were properly diagnosed. Really, it was terrible, when I look back. Even today, there's a sort of shadowy social stigma associated with any form of mental illness, but just imagine what it was like years ago.

A lot of people who do suffer nervous breakdowns are those who are perfectionists. When you think about it, it's understandable. If whatever they do doesn't turn out perfectly, then they can become so upset that it becomes yet another stressor in their already bulging cupboard of stress, feelings of worry and anxiety.

But, of course, being perfectionists, they simply won't acknowledge that anything's wrong with them -- before it's too late and they crash and burn.

We'll be looking at this again, because it's so important in this modern age, when everyone's working 23 hours a day! But for now, if you do feel very stressed, please grab a good friend or someone you can trust, and talk to them about how you feel. Promise?

I do hope this article has proved useful.

Street Talk

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