All of us feel stress at some point in our lives. In fact, some amount of stress is healthy to motivate us and increase our performance, which is referred to as Eu – Stress.
“Eustress occurs when the gap between what one has and what one wants is slightly pushed, but not overwhelmed. The goal is not too far out of reach but is still slightly more than one can handle. This fosters challenge and motivation since the goal is in sight. The function of the challenge is to motivate a person toward improvement and a goal. Challenge is an opportunity-related emotion that allows people to achieve unmet goals. Eustress is indicated by hope and active engagement. Eustress has a significantly positive correlation with life satisfaction and hope.”- Wikipedia
However if the stress reaches an overwhelming level wherein it hampers someone’s ability to function normally in day to day life, it is referred to as “Nervous Breakdown or Emotional Breakdown.”
Nervous Breakdown can be brought on by stress or anxiety caused due to any aspect of a person’s life: Work, relations or finances.
“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. The term was frequently used in the past to cover a variety of mental disorders, but it’s no longer used by mental health professionals today.
Nervous breakdown isn’t a medical term, nor does it indicate a specific mental illness. But that doesn’t mean it’s a normal or a healthy response to stress. What some people call a nervous breakdown may indicate an underlying mental health problem that needs attention, such as depression or anxiety.
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.
For example, he or she may:
• Call in sick to work for days or longer
• Avoid social engagements and miss appointments
• Have trouble following healthy patterns of eating, sleeping, and hygiene
A number of other unusual or dysfunctional behaviors may be considered signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown.”
– Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Here is a list of symptoms of Nervous breakdown that you should not ignore:
1) Persistent Headaches
If you are suffering from unexplained headaches that don’t seem to go away, it could be a sign of a Nervous breakdown.
Stress and anxiety are caused by tension that gets stored in the body and usually manifests physically as headaches, tightness of muscles and shallow breathing.
Jaw, neck, shoulders, and head are the most affected areas that usually end up as storehouses of tension in the body.
When you feel stressful, try doing gentle neck rolls, shoulder rolls, facial exercises, and deep breathing, you would instantly feel better.
2) Irregular heartbeat
A nervous breakdown can manifest physically in a variety of forms but the irregularity of heartbeat is the most common symptom.
It is because breath and mind are connected. Whenever we are stressed, our breath becomes irregular leading to an irregular heartbeat.
Anxiety and panic attacks often lead to racy thoughts, heart palpitations, and irregular heartbeat. It can feel extremely frightening as the symptoms are similar to getting a heart attack.
Some people advise breathing deeply to calm down. But it can be a little difficult to practice deep breathing in the middle of a panic attack when your heart is pounding.
Instead try to do some mild exercises, like stretching or going for walks. It will get your blood pumping and release endorphins to make you feel better.
Once you feel a little better, you can try deep breathing to calm yourself further.
3) Irregular sleep patterns
Depression or anxiety can seriously impact your sleeping patterns.
You may either suffer from Insomnia or oversleeping.
In both cases your sleep is not restful and you wake up feeling tired and exhausted.
To improve your sleeping pattern, try inculcating a moderate exercise routine like yoga or tai chi that will relax you both physically and mentally.
Try to do some deep breathing or meditation before going to sleep.
Also creating a soothing and distraction-free sleeping environment can help to improve your quality of sleep.
4) Mood swings
The nervous breakdown can often lead to extreme mood swings or unexplained outbursts of anger, irritability, crying or other emotional responses that are way out of proportion to the current situation.
Try to observe your mood swings and assess your behavior. If they are too overwhelming and out of proportion from the current situation and you feel like you can’t resolve them on your own. Please reach out to your friends and family.
You can also seek professional help from a counselor or psychiatrist.
There are lots of treatments like Talk therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy that go a long way in helping to control extreme mood swings.
5) Inability to focus
A nervous breakdown leaves you feeling overwhelmed. It is accompanied by feelings of dread, paranoia, and hopelessness. Your mind is constantly struggling with what happened in the past, inducing guilt or what may happen in the future, inducing fear. You may find it hard to live in the present moment.
Due to this, you may struggle to do routine tasks and find it difficult to focus on any one task at hand.
Try doing yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to bring your mind in the present moment and it will help to improve your focus and concentration skills.