Mental Health · Midlife Reset

Nervous Breakdown Survivor

It’s sensitive topic and one I don’t share often but it’s been on my mind a little recently.  2018 was a year that tested me as a person and brought me to the absolute depths of despair.  Something happened in this year that shook all the faith I had in who I thought I was and had me questioning everything.  I’ve been through difficult things in my life, but this was the event that broke me.

During the Christmas period in 2018 I had a near death experience.  I choked on something that went down the wrong way and it was like all the pent-up anxiety from what was happening caused a catastrophic reaction.  A “nervous breakdown” which is also known as a mental health crisis happens when the feelings of worry or anxiety build up to a level that has an impact on your daily life.

I felt completely isolated even though my family was there for me every step of the way.  I suffered from insomnia, racing heart, sweats, and exhaustion.  I couldn’t eat and spent my days rocking and crying uncontrollably.  I didn’t even recognise myself when I looked in them mirror.  I was hollow and spent so much time at the doctors.  During this period, they discovered a lump in my left breast.  I guess this is why I am thinking about it so much.  I am due for my two years, follow up mammogram.  Luckily the biopsy result was benign but it’s always there playing on your mind.

I spent nearly every day for two weeks being ferried to my doctors for treatment.  She diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and commenced me on anti-depressants.  I believe in these drugs.  They change peoples lives but for me they dropped me deeper into the abyss.  I was drowning and couldn’t find a way out.  I went from being someone who only took Panadol for migraines and tried to cure most things with rest to being admitted to a hospital with a drug bag that shocked the attending doctor.  I thank the universe for this doctor every day.  He was a game changer.  After spending an hour with him my recovery really began. 

I fought hard for this Rachel. The one who is brave enough to speak to strangers and trust people again.  The Rachel who gets up every morning with a smile and competently deals with everything thrown her way. The Rachel who has developed strategies to help her deal with anxiety.

I owe my recovery to my supportive family, an emergency room doctor, a psychologist, and my own personal drive to not be that person.  I know how lucky I am.  It could have gone a completely different way.  I had to learn how to sleep again.  Yes, my body had forgotten how to allow me restful sleep.  I also had to master mindfulness.  Something that was difficult for someone with a busy mind.  Breathing exercises really helped and trying to focus on positive things. 

The test was when I returned to work and into the environment that was the catalyst to my breakdown.  I managed to do this six weeks into my journey.  My psychologist was surprised. 

I’ve always been strong. I’m a survivor.  I’m not saying I am fully recovered.  Each day brings its challenges and I have to employ the strategies I developed to get through.

Are you a survivor? I’d love to hear your stories. Pop them in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s