The term breakdown is tossed around pretty cavalierly these days. Individuals might talk about having a mental breakdown over any number of modern inconveniences: traffic, the line at the grocery store, the morning commute, a tyrannical boss. These situations can certainly be stressors, but they don’t rise to the level of what mental health professionals would consider a breakdown.
A breakdown is much more significant. Someone in the midst of a breakdown will find it impossible to function. A breakdown may manifest itself as depression, anxiety, racing thoughts, or feelings of unrelenting dread. Sometimes it’s a wicked combination of all of those. The root cause of a breakdown is usually something deep down, a problem that a person is unable to understand or even recognize on their own.
Individuals experiencing a breakdown have a choice. A few choices, actually:
- Rest and recover. Hope the eventually things will go back to however they were before the breakdown.
- Drug the problem out of existence.
- Adapt behaviors to avoid the problem.
- Take up an investigation into the problem. (Here’s where a therapist is handy.) Discover what your breakdown has to teach you about yourself. Transcend your problem and grow.
Obviously, we think the last option is the best.