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To think the term mental 'breakdown' is outdated?

(46 Posts)
AtSea1979 Wed 11-May-16 20:22:53

And frankly insulting? To those who suffer from a mental health condition/illness?

bubblegurl252 Wed 11-May-16 20:24:24

It doesn't bother me, I've used the term before, though I tend to say emotional breakdown

SaucyJack Wed 11-May-16 20:25:02

I don't mind it meself.

What do you prefer?

MrsDeVere Wed 11-May-16 20:25:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheoriginalLEM Wed 11-May-16 20:29:54

im not sure i get where you are coming from. I suffer from anxiety and consider it to be a mental illness. A breakdown to me is when someone litetally breaks down mentally after sustained stress.

what you call it is irrelevant. i manage my mental illness, someone who has had a breakdown may well be in a worse way than me.

It doesn't matter what label it has. i think a diagnosis isnt always possible or indeed useful.

What is vital is that people feel able to discuss mental health issues without stigma or the worry that they are minimalising pathology.

x2boys Wed 11-May-16 20:31:47

What would you prefer ? They are all just words I, m an RMN we did sometimes say People had,had a breakdown in their mental health ,or if somebody had a longterm mental illness ,and they became unwell then it might be referred to a relapse in their mental health .

YorkieDorkie Wed 11-May-16 20:36:39

I'm trying to think of alternatives...
Breakdown has always summed it up.

Synonyms are:


TealLove Wed 11-May-16 20:39:18

Have you ever had a breakdown?
That's exactly what it feels like. Normality breaks down!
It's not pretty but its v accurate.

AtSea1979 Wed 11-May-16 20:40:48

Ok. I've just received a letter from professionals saying I had a mental breakdown. I didn't have a breakdown, that isn't factual. But I find their term insulting and outdated. But I'm open to being told I'm wrong and clearly I am. I will have to base my complaint on the fabricated nonsense rather than the terminology used.

bubblegurl252 Wed 11-May-16 20:42:46

I think it's more a case of being the wrong term for your situation whereas for those of us who've had one it sums it up perfectly.

feathermucker Wed 11-May-16 20:43:01

I had a breakdown. Twice.

Exactly what it felt like; I was broken!

FirstWeTakeManhattan Wed 11-May-16 20:43:15

And frankly insulting? To those who suffer from a mental health condition/illness

Truly, why do you think so OP? Can you explain more?

OTheHugeManatee Wed 11-May-16 20:43:49

DH actually had a nervous breakdown. Prolonged extreme overwork, sleep deprivation and stress led to his autonomic nervous system going profoundly wrong (sleep, libido, emotions, anxiety, the lot) and there is no other accurate term for the psychophysical experience he had than nervous breakdown.

So YABU to think 'breakdown' has no meaning. I've no idea what a 'mental breakdown' is though.

FirstWeTakeManhattan Wed 11-May-16 20:44:14

x post with OP

RandomMess Wed 11-May-16 20:45:58

So what happened?

Perhaps we can find an alternate for what happened to you?

I certainly had 2 breakdowns, 2 crises in my mental & emotional well being beyond have a "rough" time or similar.

SeasonalVag Wed 11-May-16 20:50:18

What I had could only be described as a breakdown. couldn't function at all. Couldn't even read. Or eat. Had no control over myself at all. Totally disinhibited. Reckless. Very lucky I wasn't sectioned.

ImNotThatGirl Wed 11-May-16 20:55:33

I had a breakdown which led to a long period of very poor mental health. I have never really used the term, as such, because I refer to it as when I became unwell. However, the word breakdown does fully describe what happened to me. My whole life broke down within a very short period of time. I don't love the word though, so I can see your point.

It's obviously affecting you and I can empathise. The way professionals word your struggles/illnesses in letters can have a profound impact on you. flowers

AtSea1979 Wed 11-May-16 21:22:04

I told her I had generalised anxiety. She concluded that I had a 'mental breakdown' which I think implies I'm broken in some way. Not unwell. Although I felt broken in a sense I don't like the implication that I've broken down rather than become unwell. But I wanted a general opinion and it seems like it's an acceptable term to use.

MrsDeVere Wed 11-May-16 21:30:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RandomMess Wed 11-May-16 21:33:48

Well I don't think having generalised anxiety = breakdown.

A period of intense and extreme anxiety could = breakdown though.

UbiquityTree Wed 11-May-16 21:35:53

It feels accurate to me at the moment (I am in crisis).

I feel like a car that has broken down and can't go on, or a horse perhaps.

If you disagree with the assessment of your state of health at that time then that's a different matter. I challenged a GP/IAPT dx of depression because I felt it did not describe my symptoms - not because depression is a shameful thing to have - and am now vindicated and supported in that opinion by senior MH professionals including the psychiatrist and clinical psychologist.

Having the right dx and an accurate history is crucial to being able to access the right help now and in future. It's worth pursuing.

Hope things are better and easier for you now.

AtSea1979 Wed 11-May-16 21:37:14

No I'm not ashamed of having a 'mental breakdown' but in my particular case it has been used to prove I'm not a good parent because I had a 'mental breakdown' so I'm writing a letter of complaint regarding the awful opinion that having a mental breakdown doesn't automatically make your DC at risk and I wanted to include that the term was even outdated and insulting to those who had been unwell etc. But I'll leave that bit out.

horizontilting Wed 11-May-16 21:38:58

It is factually inaccurate to describe generalised anxiety as a breakdown and I would seek to clarify with the person who wrote that what led her to the conclusion that you had a breakdown and have her amend the letter. You need an accurate report.

It sounds like you think the term shouldn't be in use as it would be insulting to anyone it was accurate for. Does it feel like it's insulting because it implies ceasing to be able to function, almost on an mechanical level, like a car engine failure? Something like that? (I'm guessing here)

Thing is, it feels entirely like the right term when it happens. Far more so than most terminology. It felt intuitively very accurate to me. I think they may have this one right.

AtSea1979 Wed 11-May-16 21:44:01

Yes I think it was the implication that people are broken, like cars. Not humans, who are ill and can get better. Written off etc.

Cocoabutton Wed 11-May-16 21:45:27

I had a mental and physical breakdown at the start of the year after several years of extreme stress. It was not anxiety, panic or depression, all of which I have experienced, but a complete inability to function. Everything stopped working. I am slowly recovering. I was unwell, yes, but I felt and feel like I broke. There was no whole me, there still is not, just pieces.

FWIW, I don't think this was a bad thing, it was a necessary thing. If you have pieces, then part of recovery is selecting and working with the ones you want to keep. No more struggling on trying to hold it all together.

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