You live in a fast moving world where your expectations are high and you are under a considerable demand, your lifestyle starts to suffer, but you continue because you believe your work just has to go on, especially if you have deadlines to meet. If this sounds like you, you are under stress. Have no doubt about it. Stress can be exhilarating, especially in the early stages, it can even fit in quite comfortably with your lifestyle of achieving certain goals. You may call it challenging, and every time you overcome an obstacle you feel elated as if you have won a victory. As time goes on work builds, problems mount up faster than you can find solutions. You find yourself working back in the office late at night just to catch up on work you should have finished during the day.
You find yourself missing your children’s special events because you simply don’t have the time to attend. This means you are starting to lose what you value most but you don’t see it. You can’t attend the wake after a friend’s funeral because you have to get back to work. Eventually your work takes over and that becomes all you live for. The great lifestyle you once enjoyed is no more. At this stage you are under considerable stress and you will not even notice it when your temper shortens. Your friends notice you ‘flying off the handle’ more frequently because you can’t take any more ‘muck ups.’ You are becoming increasingly stressed out by this stage.
It doesn’t even ‘come to a head’ when you find yourself sobbing in the car for no real reason while you rush to complete another task that just has to be done before you can knock off for the day. You start to see humour in things that aren’t all that funny and you laugh til you cry, again. Finally you lose control of your emotions altogether. It is now that physical illnesses start to show. Your body is calling out for you to stop. You could start suffering from a bad back where you can hardly move or it might be something more sinister like diabetes or hypertension. You could even finish up being hospitalised.
How Not to Have a Mental Breakdown
Be Open About Your Emotions
If you are not open with your doctor at this stage, the fact that you are suffering an acute emotional or psychological collapse (a mental breakdown) you won’t be diagnosed because you have become an expert at hiding your real underlying condition. You are in effect at war with your own body so the doctor treats the physical ailments, gets you going again and you return to the battlefield even though you are aware that your previous easy going lifestyle has been effectively shattered. It’s only a matter of time now before you lose everything you have worked so hard for but you still find it hard to come to terms with reality. You may have lost your family already. If you don’t do something about it or you don’t have a good enough friend to tell you how it really is, you will finally collapse in a howling mess.
Recognise The Symptoms
That is what stress can do to an otherwise bright, intelligent human being, it can totally destroy your lifestyle. What can be done about it? If you identify with the above scenario you know exactly what it feels like to be stressed, but when you recognise the following warning signs, you can avoid that stress turning into a complete breakdown:
- Feelings of extreme tiredness are a sign that your body is trying to say ‘slow down.’ Listen for these early signs and start resting up more often. Even take a break at this early point and get away from it all for a while.
- If you fail to heed the tiredness signs you will start to feel weakness with the tiredness. You are not standing as straight as you once did, your chest is not blown out and you lose any confidence in your walk that you might have once had. The slow down sign is changing to a sudden stop if you don’t change your ways soon.
- The next stage is when your emotions get involved. Your body has called in further assistance to get you to wake up to yourself. You start crying for no real reason, you become confused easily and you begin to worry more and you start to feel inadequate.
- If you haven’t picked up on what is happening by now you are heading for serious trouble. You might even start losing weight, some people go the other way and start putting on weight. You find it difficult to sleep at night so you keep working instead. This is where your physical ailments start showing. Your body has realised you have no intention of helping yourself therefore it will take over with various quite serious ailments meaning in many cases your immune system has broken down.
Take Preventative Action
As your stress situation gradually worsens you will go from stage to stage. It is up to you to identify each stage and to do something about it to avoid it turning into a complete breakdown. You can always delegate more work so that you are not carrying such a heavy burden. Find a good manager to help you spread the load. If all this fails sell up and get out, or simply take a holiday. You will find that your lifestyle will improve considerably if you remove yourself from your situation of immense stress. Spend your day fishing in some peaceful bend in the river, or sunning yourself on a beach; take a break and focus on putting things back into perspective.