Have you ever had an emotional or mental breakdown? I have. At the time I was doing martial arts several times a week, was involved in a spiritual community, was learning and growing, but none of that seemed to matter.
So what happened?
Clinicians often refer to a nervous breakdown as technically an “adjustment disorder“. Your external work gets kicked in the spleen so hard that no amount of yoga or protein shakes or Mona Vie bars can hope to compete. Your inside world is depressed, or anxious, or panicked, or all of the above. Often psychosis shows up with tequila shots for the party. Your world crumbles and you simply can no longer cope. Sound like anyone you know?
People who have never been in a severe depression or have had a breakdown cannot hope to understand why people often consider suicide. To the outsider, suicide is a coward’s way out, or a selfish act, or just plain crazy. True enough on one level – crazy does certainly show up. It is hard to understand from a distance, but when things get that bad one is not thinking in their rational mind. Obsession has become a way of life. They call it a “breakdown” for a reason.
Most of us do not realize that we have several gauges of health. Until someone told me I believed that if I was working out, eating right, and learning and growing, I would be fine when things went sideways. I did not realize, and did not pay attention to, my emotional gauge.
Working out, eating broccoli, and going to a church does not necessarily mean that you are not emotionally bankrupt. Those things may help to keep you healthy, but put a group of emotional succubus’ in your life and things start to go wrong.
When you pause to think about it, there is usually three kinds of people in your life. There are those who, after you have spent time with, you feel better for having been together. Then there are those who do not affect you one way or the other.
Did I mention there were three groups? You know the last group. When they call a piece of you dies inside. Being with them sucks the life out of you. They are never happy, or always complaining, or your mother. People like this drain your emotional gauge. Add a relational breakdown, or a child who is unruly, a job that is stressful, and someone who is disappointed in you and you can begin to lose hope. Add to this the crazy schedule we all try to maintain with little or no time for reflection or self-care and you have a recipe for a meltdown.
Don’t even get me started on those of you who also have small children.
Taking care of your emotional stuff is the best thing you can do for yourself besides taking a week on a beach somewhere without a cell phone or your children. Paying attention to your emotional gauge will help you in ways you could never imagine. A healthy person with a healthy heart is the best defence against hurt, stress, and pain.
Pay attention to yourself. You’re worth it.