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Recovering from a nervous breakdown - advice?

(36 Posts)
user1481747500 Sat 21-Oct-17 20:11:19

Hi everyone

I'm hoping someone can share their own experiences and offer some advice.

My GP has recently confirmed that I suffered a nervous breakdown in the summer, triggered by lots of major things in my life going pear-shaped at the same time.

I'm on beta blockers to curb the feelings of chronic anxiety and panic, but resisting taking anti-depressants too. I've been told by my the GP that recovery can take a long time. Also, I've had to work through a very intense first few months of a hectic new job to generate an income (I split with my partner but was freelance and had to urgently find a regular income). I've had to get on with things, and am still fighting my way through some horrible symptoms like very weak legs, depression, headaches, sadness, nerves, swollen glands/ tonsils, flu-like symptoms, etc.

I've been putting on weight since I just can't find the strength for rigorous exercise. My health is unpredictable - I have no idea how I'll feel one day to the next.

Has anyone else done through this? What did you experience?

It's very scary - especially without close friends to be here to support me (I'd previously relocated for my ex but we split up back in May and have struggled to make good friends in my mid-40s). I can't plan ahead to visit friends elsewhere as I have no idea how I'll feel on the day I'm due to travel.

This has been a horrendous experience, and I obviously really want to recover.

Can anyone suggest anything that they've done that really helped them recover from a breakdown?

I'm meditating regularly, doing yoga and generally taking things easy when I can. But it's the unpredictability of my health that really is dragging me down and I never would have thought a breakdown would feel like this. It feels never-ending.

Thanks all, and look forward to hearing from you. xx

SpinDry Sat 21-Oct-17 20:15:39

I'm going to placemark as I think I'm going through this at the moment. At what point did you seek help?

user1481747500 Sat 21-Oct-17 20:28:53

Hey SpinDry.
I emphathise and sympathise.
Well, it took me a couple of months to realise I really wasn't doing well at all. I'd moved out of my partner's place but it felt like so much more than a breakup. I mean, I was ill constantly.
I wish I'd gone to my GP as soon as I'd started feeling exhausted a lot earlier. I wish I hadn't been so stoic about it.

Wolfiefan Sat 21-Oct-17 20:32:23

But you've done the right thing seeking help. Seriously you should be proud.
I "broke" with depression and anxiety. Had to give up my job. Anti depressants gave me the strength to do CBT. That led to me making life changes. Like the exercise and planning my day and making sure I did things for me.
I'm so much better now. Still have low days and some anxiety but off all pills and managing it all. Much happier.
Good luck.

tormentil Sat 21-Oct-17 20:33:02

OP - yes, I've experienced similar. I fought it by myself for a long time, but ended up breaking very badly. In this part of Scotland all the community psychiatric nurses use a trauma therapy called CRM - comprehensive resource model. This therapy has made the biggest difference to my life - faster and more effectively than anything else I have tried. If it isn't available via community mental health care, I would recommend paying for it.

SpinDry Sat 21-Oct-17 20:34:59

I get that, I feel like that at the moment, trying to be stoic! Actually I said to DH that I am like a duck - above water calm and serene but under the water paddling like mad!
Mine has been caused I think by business stress and I had my second dd a few months ago. I don't think it's pnd but more of a depression/anxiety breakdown following months of massive stress.
I must go to the gp and reading your post made me wake up to that so thank you. Really hope you recover quickly.

user1481747500 Sat 21-Oct-17 20:49:55

Thanks tormentil - I'll look into that. I'm already feeling less pressured knowing that other people have gone through similar symptoms.

SpinDry - obviously I'm no expert, but getting your GP's advice may make all the difference to your health. Good luck :-)

Aintgotnosoapbox Sat 21-Oct-17 22:05:48

Hi OP. Sorry to hear things have been so tough. I was wondering if your GP has done a basic blood screen mot to screen for anaemia, thyroid etc. if not, I would ask next time. If so, and all clear, it may be exhaustion from stress , think ,simply self care with plenty of sleep, fluids, healthy eating, mod exercise can help. Dance, yoga etc.
Are you on medication?

PragmaticWench Sat 21-Oct-17 22:11:37

I had a breakdown and had no idea at the time how bad it was, although those around me could see it. I thought two weeks off work would 'solve' me but it took many months to get even slightly better.

My best advice is not to underestimate this, give your mind space to heal, however you can.

niknac1 Sat 21-Oct-17 22:19:40

I feel better generally if I can manage to fit in some walking, I think three 15 minute walks can do wonders. I also think some omega 3 rich food and perhaps some walnuts to provide more omega 3. I also felt better when I cut down on the sugary foods generally.
Hope you are feeling better soon

Sambashoes Sun 22-Oct-17 10:07:49

Hey Aintgotnosoapbox - Thanks, but they did loads of blood tests when I had an acute 'episode' back n March (my breakdown happened June-August), and apart from low Vit D at the time, everything was clear. However, things are dragging on so I'll take your advice and ask for tests. Yes, I'm on beta blockers which really help in taking away the anxiety and panic attacks. I tried to come off them recently but my body is nowhere near ready - that's when I realised how unwell I am - still.

Sambashoes Sun 22-Oct-17 10:12:49

PragmaticWench and niknac1 - thanks for your advice and sorry you're also both in recovery. I had indeed been underestimating this until recently.

I guess, breakdown's aren't talked about openly for various reasons, so when it happened to me, I had no idea what was going on :-(

NolongerAnxiousCarer Sun 22-Oct-17 10:28:35

Low vit D is associated with anxiety and deprssion, so if you are not already on suplements it might be a good idea especially as in th UK we don't get the rihht wave length of sunlight to synthesise any vit D from the sun between October and March.

ADs were essential for me, I resisted them for a long time the first time and I wish I hadn't because they made such a dramatic diffetence. Depression and Anxiety are caused by a chemical impballance in the brsin and sometimes we need a bit of chemical help to get it right, thres no shame in taking them.

Meditation mindfullness and exercise all really helped me as did councelling. Also taking the pressure off myself to feel better and just setting small goals for myself each day e.g. to have a shower, to get dressed. Give yourself time and space to get better witjout any pressiure of expectations or time scales.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Sun 22-Oct-17 10:29:38

Brain not brsin

Sambashoes Sun 22-Oct-17 18:55:27

Thanks NolongerAnxiousCarer for the advice! I was on Vit D supplements earlier in the year, I'll get back on them now we're in autumn and it's darker.

Seriously, everyone's advice and sharing experiences has really helped me feel less stressed about things. Thanks so much!

mostimproved Sun 22-Oct-17 21:13:36

Sorry to hear this has happened to you flowers

Everyone is different but personally I found it helpful to find a ‘grounding’ things that stimulate your senses and that you can come back to when you’re struggling - mine were peppermint tea (taste), a nice shower gel (smell - to convince me to take a shower), yoga (mindfulness and physical wellbeing) and brushing my cats! It can be anything at all but I found it’s really the little things that keep you focussed. Like I said everyone is different, but I had an extremely difficult time last year (lucky to be here in all honesty) and these things really helped.

Also, keep talking even if just to strangers on the internet!

Sambashoes Mon 23-Oct-17 11:57:37

Thanks mostimproved smile

Sambashoes Mon 23-Oct-17 12:01:52

Also, as a single woman with no children (until a few months ago I was with someone who had children), has anyone else got through it without the support of a partner?
I have no close friends here either, and I'm not in a state where I feel I want to make the effort to get to know people at the moment. So, I don't have anyone to shop for me, cook the odd meal, no hugs, etc. I'm finding that part extremely difficult to deal with especially on bad days.

NooNooHead1981 Mon 23-Oct-17 12:22:50

I had a horrendous breakdown nearly two years ago, it was absolutely awful and something I never want to repeat ever.
Mine was triggered by a head injury and post concussion syndrome, a lot of horrid cognitive symptoms and very severe anxiety that led to severe insomnia - and I mean actually not sleeping at all for about two weeks.

I was offered Citalopram and resisted taking, only to offered a lot of other psychotropics like diazepam and zopiclone. Eventually my GP prescribed a typical antipsychotic, as I was on the verge of being taken into hospital. Unfortunately this drug left me with a serious and rare drug induced involuntary movement disorder, tardive dyskinesia (TD), that I still have now. If I'd originally taken the Citalopram, I would never had got TD, and ironically after I DID take it for a month, it was the drug that actually saved me.

I don't wish to scare you at all by telling you any of this, only to reassure you that things do get better and you will survive. Mental breakdowns are absolutely awful - in some ways, I feel terrible saying this, but they are worse I think than watching a love one become ill.

I don't think you should be as stubborn as I was, and refuse any help, as my outcome was extreme of course but could have been completely avoided if I'd listened to the doctors and tried to help myself a bit more. Hindsight is a great thing, though.

Look after yourself, meditate, exercise, eat and sleep well, and you will recover. All these things helped me and I have got through a breakdown, head injury, my DB passing, an ectopic and a job loss by being very strong and knowing I have survived all this, and I will survive anything else life throws at me.

Best of luck, take care.

Sambashoes Mon 23-Oct-17 20:00:35

Hi NooNooHead1981. I'm really sorry to read about your story, it sounds as if you have indeed come through something truly awful. It's amazing you're speaking with hope and positivity. Mine wasn't as severe, but I'll certainly take on board your advice.

TreacleFarl Mon 23-Oct-17 21:28:23

I'm in awe of everyone sharing their experiences and as pp have said, breakdowns are not talked about openly enough and people are left to struggle on without much needed help.

OP I had a breakdown eight years ago and was sectioned. Despite being in hospital I couldn't understand that I'd really had a breakdown. It can still be a struggle but the important thing is to look after yourself. It sounds like a tired cliche but it's so important.

For me simple things like walks, having little craft projects, buying myself nice fresh flowers (usually the discounted ones at Tesco for £2), taking time to meditate, thinking of things that make me smile and trying very hard to remember that you and your happiness is important. My DS keeps me going and my dog helps me more than he will ever know as well. When I'm down he perks me up.

I agree with op that the right support and counselling/ therapy if available will make a world of difference. Just having someone to talk to can help.

I really hope you feel a bit better soon flowers to you and everyone who has shared their story and advice.

TreacleFarl Mon 23-Oct-17 21:28:24

I'm in awe of everyone sharing their experiences and as pp have said, breakdowns are not talked about openly enough and people are left to struggle on without much needed help.

OP I had a breakdown eight years ago and was sectioned. Despite being in hospital I couldn't understand that I'd really had a breakdown. It can still be a struggle but the important thing is to look after yourself. It sounds like a tired cliche but it's so important.

For me simple things like walks, having little craft projects, buying myself nice fresh flowers (usually the discounted ones at Tesco for £2), taking time to meditate, thinking of things that make me smile and trying very hard to remember that you and your happiness is important. My DS keeps me going and my dog helps me more than he will ever know as well. When I'm down he perks me up.

I agree with op that the right support and counselling/ therapy if available will make a world of difference. Just having someone to talk to can help.

I really hope you feel a bit better soon flowers to you and everyone who has shared their story and advice.

Inarightpickleandchutney Mon 23-Oct-17 21:36:19

Is there a specific type of vitamin D? I'm very early out the other side of some extremely dark days over the summer, i take 100mg sertraline down from 200. Some days I do ok others it's been a week since I've had a shower... ew I know... but I definitely see progress!

Someone else said to me about this stuff called Floradix.. iron supplement liquid... anyone trying that?

TreacleFarl Mon 23-Oct-17 21:36:28

Sorry, don't know why that posted twice!

Inarightpickleandchutney Tue 24-Oct-17 01:00:25

Hopeful bump for supplements takers! grin

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