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03/25/2012 03:12 PM

How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown

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People who have been diagnosed with depression may find that the challenges of dealing with their symptoms become far too overwhelming and a breakdown occurs. A breakdown is most commonly related to depression although it can occur from any number of mental health conditions. It also usually leaves a person incapable of functioning in any normal manner. Even after the breakdown, if treatment is successful, there is still often the frightening challenge of picking up the pieces of your life that were shattered during the breakdown.

Nervous Breakdown: What Does It Mean and How Does It Happen?

The term 'nervous breakdown' is not actually a clinical one. It is a common term that is used when someone essentially shuts down and is unable to function and cope with the demands of daily life. A breakdown can occur as the end result of months or years of depression or it may follow a significant trauma. For some, it may literally occur without a single identifiable cause, which can make it more shocking and difficult to treat. It is an acute and often incapacitating experience; treatment can also be particularly challenging. If you have suffered from a breakdown and are in the process of rebuilding your life, there are various things you can do to make things less stressful and to help ensure that a breakdown doesn't occur again.

Getting Back Your Confidence

You may feel poorly about yourself after a breakdown and may wonder to yourself: 'How could I let this happen?' It can be challenging to deal with guilt and low self esteem after a breakdown and these feelings of sadness and worthlessness can inevitably lead you back towards a breakdown. Areas you may wish to focus on include:

Positive aspects about yourself

Qualities that others appreciate in you

Activities that bring you joy and self-worth

Compliments and praise for each success

Kindness and forgiveness when you can't meet a goal

Rebuilding Your Life

Your life encompasses many areas such as work, health, family and friends. Although it may seem simplistic, it can be helpful to make a list of the areas in your life that you feel are damaged and warrant repair. Think about the ones that are most immediate and important and try to address these first. By breaking your life down into smaller, more manageable areas, you will hopefully feel less overwhelmed to address each part.

Mending Relationships

A breakdown can affect various areas of your life, including relationships. One difficult area is communication, because during your breakdown, family and friends may have been confused about your experience. You may have withdrawn from relationships and isolated yourself. Some people find that many friends and family members remained supportive while others pulled away and together, you will need to mend a damaged relationship. Sharing the emotions and struggles you experienced can be helpful in that friends and family are less likely to personally take any uncharacteristic actions you may have shown during your breakdown. It can help to:

Communicate your care for that person as a valued individual in your life

Talk about what happened and how it affected both of you

Share any fears about rebuilding the relationship

Renew your commitment to nurturing the relationship

Financial Worries

You may have been unable to work during your breakdown or if you continued to work, you might have found that your work suffered immensely. For some extreme cases, job loss may even have occurred or if leave was unpaid, you could be struggling to cope with the financial challenges of rebuilding your life. It is often helpful to discuss your situation with a financial advisor, who can provide options for approaching debts and various bills that you may be struggling to address.

Other options may be to obtain government assistance, particularly if you do not yet feel well enough to return to full-time work. If you are able to obtain financial support from friends and family members, consider carefully whether you are able to repay the money and if any monetary exchange will negatively impact the relationship. If you continued working during your breakdown and your work quality suffered, it is wise to be honest and open with your boss and colleagues about your breakdown. Certainly it can be difficult to share mental health conditions, particularly with the unfortunate stigma often attached. Most people, however, should appreciate your willingness, drive and effort to move past your breakdown and do your best at work.

Medical Treatment

During your breakdown, you might have been diagnosed with a medical illness such as depression, for example. Alternately, you may have already received a diagnosis for a mental health condition. Your doctor might have prescribed antidepressants or specific medications for anxiety and as such, you may need to remain on medication while you address and 'pick up' various aspects of your life that suffered during your breakdown. If you are feeling better or back to normal, the temptation may be to abruptly stop all medication. This can, however, be potentially disastrous as withdrawal symptoms can occur if you stop medication suddenly and you may trigger another breakdown. Be sure to speak with your doctor about any desire to stop the medication you may be taking and he or she will likely advise a slow reduction in the dose to help prevent withdrawal symptoms and anxiety.

Many people have likened a breakdown to a fall down a deep, dark and lonely hole but once you have hit the bottom and begun your climb, you will hopefully be able to mend the parts of your life that have suffered and you can look forward to each day once again.

For some people assertiveness comes naturally and for others, it takes time, effort and a strong focus to learn assertive skills. When you don't assert yourself, you may find that people are not attentive to your desires and needs, and this can be particularly frustrating for you. Learning assertive skills can help you in coping with depression and can leave you feeling confident and capable to meet daily challenges.

An Assertive Person versus a Non-Assertive Person

People who are assertive tend to be aware of their emotions and communicate these in an honest and straightforward manner. Assertive people are confident in their abilities and are able to make and meet goals and challenges through respect and perseverance. If you know people who are particularly assertive, you may have noticed their body language, which involves a clear and strong voice, eye contact and a steady self-assurance.

Many of us have moments where we are not assertive and perhaps feel intimidated or nervous to communicate our wants and needs. A non-assertive person may feel helpless and may find that others are in the leading role and making all of the choices. A non-assertive person may also feel guilt at this lack of confidence and this can lead to depression over time, as well as making depression more difficult to handle. Think about those who have non-assertive body language and you may notice that they tend to avoid eye contact, fidget, and speak in jumbled, confusing tones.

Learning to Say No

It can be difficult to say 'no,' especially when the desire to please someone is strong and you wish to avoid confrontation. People who are depressed can feel that their needs are secondary to everyone else's needs and they may struggle to decline a request. By not saying 'no' when you mean it, however, you are left dealing with the unfavourable consequences and perhaps even guilt for not expressing yourself as you intended. It is not an easy task to say 'no' but you may wish to:

Be direct but try to state 'no' firmly and without apology

Consider clearly explaining the reasons for your refusal

Try to think about and suggest alternative ways of dealing with the request

Self Confidence and Positive Thinking

How you view yourself is an important part of strong self-confidence. Oftentimes, people who are depressed feel poorly about themselves and in fact, have a very distorted view of their capabilities. You may feel fear or apprehension in stating your needs and may feel you are not deserving of wonderful things or good enough for them. Try to think about a time when you did feel confident. What aspects of yourself did you like? Focus on the positive things in yourself and try to remember what made those qualities so clear to you then.

Manage Anger

Being assertive does not mean that to obtain your needs, you have a free pass to be rude, condescending or otherwise cruel to another person. In fact, the reactions you may get to such behaviour can leave you feeling alone and depressed, as people will often withdraw from an angry person. Be firm when expressing your desires but do so with respect for others-people are more likely to listen to what you say if you communicate without aggressiveness and anger. If you feel yourself becoming angry:

Take a few deep breaths

Consider taking a few minutes away from the situation

Try to think rationally and consider how best to communicate your anger

Set Personal Goals

Sometimes setting standards too high can set you up for immediate failure. You can assert your short and long term goals and desires, but you might want to ask yourself: where do my standards for success and achievement come from and what do they really mean? Try to be realistic and set small goals that are achievable within a reasonable time frame. You can enjoy the success of meeting them and if you do find you miss a deadline, know that you are only human and resolve to meet your next goal. It can feel devastating when things don't go as planned, but by offering yourself acceptance and forgiveness, you can help to prevent feelings of self-despair and sadness.

Assert Yourself With Toxic People

When you are depressed, you might be quick to judge that all problems in career and personal relationships are your fault. While you should take the time to be aware of any patterns of behaviour you may be exhibiting that negatively affect relationships, don't be too quick to accept all of the responsibility.

Look at your relationships logically and carefully and you might discover that there are 'toxic' people who are causing you distress. These people may be rude, difficult or angry on a consistent basis and can have a damaging effect on your life. You will need to evaluate whether to keep these people in your life and if unavoidable, consider how you can deal with the feelings of hurt and anxiety that they trigger. Ultimately, you may have to be assertive and remove certain toxic people from your life, however difficult the act itself may be.

Your emotional and mental health is important and part of handling depression is to embrace those people who leave you feeling positive about yourself and eliminate or avoid those who push you deeper into depression.

Personal Care

Being assertive with yourself is also important in that you are able to acknowledge when you are exhausted or fatigued. If you need support, be assertive and ask for help. It's okay to admit that you are overwhelmed and by seeking help and looking after yourself, you can help to prevent episodes of depression as well as handle depression when it does occur. HowToAssertYourself.html[url]


03/27/2012 05:23 AM
Posts: 13909
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03/27/2012 07:32 PM
Posts: 1021
Senior Member

Thank you for posting!

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