How to Survive a Nervous Breakdown

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self, so therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.” – Kahlil Gibran

Woman playing violin outdoors

Prophetic words indeed from the great writer, as he sees pain in positive light and uncovers it for what it really is – a lesson to be learned, an awakening to reality and an opportunity to make a paradigm shift in our life perspective. When life comes crashing down on you, all that you have faith in crumbles, days spiral down into an endless series of disappointments, blow after blow destroys all that you hold dear, even the most toughest of men and women break down.
What follows is a faithless phase of dark despair called a nervous breakdown. It may be a personal financial crisis, a relationship breakup, death, rejection, helplessness, life-threatening, disabling disease, accident or simply unbearable disappointment, that may be the cause of this nadir of your life.
The question remains, do you give in to the depths of despair and let it win or fight back, tooth and nail with whatever you’ve got to overcome the tornado of negative thoughts threatening to tear apart the fabric of your life? Do you hold ground or flee? Do you choose hope or choose despair?
I am sure you want to choose hope, because quite frankly, sometimes that’s all you have! Easily said than done you would say and you are right. What follows are some suggestions from a fellow survivor to all those of you suffering from such a nervous breakdown, that will help you find the way back, as I did. . .
How to Recover From a Nervous Breakdown?
The very fact that you are reading this article right now shows that you have the urge to overcome this abyss of despair that you find yourself in. That’s all that you need to get out of it. Inch by inch you have to build on that hope. Here is a prescription of thought capsules that can cure you and help you survive this dark episode of life.
Accept What You Cannot Change
Acceptance is always the first step. Closing your eyes doesn’t change the reality facing you. No matter what you do, certain things like past mistakes, people passing away and perceptions of other people about you are simply unchangeable things. The only way to make peace with them is to accept that they are beyond your control. Let go of these mental burdens and poisonous thorns that you keep tormenting yourself with. Let go of them and look at things that can be changed and improved upon!
Stop Being Your Own Prisoner
Sometimes, the despair you find yourself in, is purely self-inflicted. You have chosen to sit and wallow in self pity and imprisoned yourself in a self-made cage of limitations that you need to break out of! Despairing for too long and too often can become a habit.
Negative thinking can become a habit which creates a never-ending circle of despair, which you may never recover from. Perhaps, that’s because you don’t want to! Strange as it may sound, you are your own prisoner. A victim of your self imposed restrictions, biases, self doubt and negative thinking. You need to understand that there is no cage and most of your problems are purely self made and imaginary! Think about it.
Have Faith and Believe in Yourself
A great degree of our personal problems arise out of self-doubt and a loss of faith in ourselves. Believe in yourself. You are the only person, you can bank upon, trust completely and draw strength from. As Earnest Hemingway has said, ‘A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.’ Confidence is the secret ingredient that can turn things around. Just believe you can overcome and you will.
Stop Being an Acceptance Junkie
Many people suffer from nervous breakdowns when they face rejection from objects of their affection, their parents, peers, bosses and social groups in general. We are all acceptance junkies and unless we get rid of this addiction, happiness is rarely going to come your way.
If it does, it won’t last for long. Stop basing your happiness on the acceptance from others or what others think about you. It is a dangerous trap to get yourself into. Strive for emotional independence. You have a birthright to be happy and nothing or no one should stop you from exercising that right!
Start Life Anew
Make a new beginning. Do something that you always wanted to do, but never got around to actually doing! Work on things that you would like to change about yourself. Make a ‘To Do’ list of things you enjoy doing and go after them right away. Depression will be overcome when you pursue an interest you are passionate about, that will rekindle your joy of living.
Let Creativity Be Your Savior
Creativity has a way of bringing out the best out of you. Pursue creative endeavors like writing, playing music or painting. Take a complete break from your old lifestyle. Go hiking, backpack across Europe, go bungee jumping. Travel and see new places. Meet new people, have new experiences and watch your depression crawl back into nothingness!
You are What You Choose to Be
Ultimately, everything is a choice or the consequence of a choice. You will be happy, if you choose to be. Choose your thoughts to be optimistic and see a brighter side of life or choose to be pessimistic. Take control of your life or let yourself be thrown around by chance. It’s all up to you.
The single most important thought that you need to take away is ‘Never Give Up’! No matter what happens, this moment right now is yours and you are alive and you can choose to make it beautiful with sincere effort or darken it with despair. Ever elusive happiness is going to slip by if you try to hold on to things too tightly.
Learn to let go of what you cannot change, adapt to changing circumstances and have faith in yourself. Nobody has been able to figure it all out and nobody has an answer to the question – ‘Why me?’. As Gibran says, it is perhaps because you needed the lesson and it is an opportunity for you to grow. Have faith my dear friend, there has to be sunrise after every sunset and darkness no matter how indomitable, will be overthrown by the ray of light called ‘Belief’ within you!