- Mental Health
My Mental Breakdown
A Nervous Breakdown
I had a nervous breakdown. I am still recovering from it. I am almost ashamed to let people know…it seems that it will show others that I am weak. And right now, I still feel weak. That doesn’t mean I want others to perceive me as weak. It means, more than ever, I need others to see me as a strong, self-reliant person that can take on the world and win. Because right now, I haven’t won.
Let me tell you about my nervous breakdown.
How It Began
It’s been a tough few years. This breakdown has been in the making for quite some time. I have had to be strong for far too long, and my mind and body finally just couldn’t take it any longer. The first I noticed things happening was when my mom started getting really sick. It was the six weeks before she passed away. Since it was summer break for me, since I am a teacher, I was the only one available to be with her on a regular basis. So I was there with her for six to eight hours – or longer – every day. I couldn’t be away from her. I didn’t want to miss any of the time I had left with her.
At this same time, my husband realized he was addicted to his pain medication. He wanted to go to rehab. He went for six weeks. The same six weeks my mom was dying. So the time I wasn’t with my mom, I was with my husband. In another town – nearly 100 miles away. I had to be there for him, too. I had to let him know how much he meant to me – how much this step in his life meant to me.
This left very little time for me. And I liked it that way. I didn’t have time to think about what was going on in my life. It was go south to take care of Mom, go north to take care of my husband and then back in the middle to go home and collapse in bed. And start the whole thing over the next day.
After my mother passed away and my husband came back home, things were different. My husband was a different man. Not bad – better in so many ways. But different in so many ways. I didn’t know him anymore and I had to get to know him all over again. And when I wanted to vent – wanted to scream and yell and go talk to someone - that someone – my mom – was no longer there to vent to. It made things much more difficult than it would have been if she would have still been there.
Things got better – or I pushed things away and just tried to forget about them. Life went on. And then, my stepdad – my late mother’s husband – began molesting my daughter and my nieces. My brothers and sisters didn’t believe it was happening. Only my former sister-in-law – the one no one liked – believed it was happening. So, now I had NO family support. And we had to go to court to have my stepdad convicted of molestation – and put him in federal prison.
My work life was just as stressful. I am a special education teacher. I work with children with behavioral needs. Sometimes, severe behavioral needs. That means that there were times that I would go home with bites and bruises and severe emotional strain from the day at school, only to have to deal with family calling me at home and calling me every name in the book because I was trying to put my stepdad in jail.
What About You?
Have You Ever Had A Mental Breakdown?
I Took Pictures...
I Tried To Get Better
Finally, my body – my brain – could no longer handle it. I broke down. I cried every day. For hours and hours a day. If I wasn’t crying, I was sleeping – hiding away from the world. It got so bad that at one point my husband – my wonderful, loving, loyal husband – threatened to leave me because he didn’t understand what was going on with me. He thought I was just ignoring him and being hateful to him – which wasn’t the case.
Ai finally went back to counseling. It had helped a bit in the past. So I wanted to try it again. I even went to a psychiatrist to get a better therapist this time. It worked. I found someone in Alyssa that I could be open and honest with. I could reveal and share all of my feelings with her. And she gave me such great advice without giving me “homework” like previous therapists had done. Homework that had done nothing more than give me something more to stress over.
Alyssa - My Saviour
Alyssa was – is – different. She talks to me much like a friend would. She truly listens. And she is in the same school system as me, so she understands that stress as well as I do. Even though she is somewhat younger than I, I told her that I wanted to be like her when I grew up. She is just that great!
Because of Alyssa, I have begun to understand that I need to take care of me. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of others. I have heard this before – but have always taken it as taking care of myself physically. But I must take care of myself mentally, as well. Or I will lose it – and I did.
Alyssa gave me permission to take care of myself. To take some time off from life itself to concentrate on me. Thank goodness, my husband understood completely. He got me a dog as an emotional assistance dog to help take care of me. He let me be alone when I needed it, sent me away to have some time with my daughter and grandchildren across the state, and made sure my other children showed how much they cared and needed me. He was awesome.
What Is A Mental Breakdown?
Taking Care Of My Mental Health
With my time off, I concentrated on grieving for the loss of my mother – and the loss of my family. I even began talking with one of my sisters again – something I thought would never happen again. I took time away from all responsibilities – my job, housework, babysitting the grandbabies – everything -and just worked on getting better. I slept when I wanted to sleep, drew, read, watched nonsense television, took drives and took pictures. All in an effort to bring some inner peace to myself.
I haven’t found it all yet. I am still working on it. But things are better. I have found that I have a wonderful support system at home and at work. A support system that only wants the best for me and grieves for me when I am ailing – either physically or mentally. I will be a better person because of this. I have to be – this is just another stepping stone in life to help me grow.