I’m still shaking from the mental breakdown I’m going through. My anxiety and depression (but mostly anxiety) got the best of me and I had a good hard cry while freaking out to a friend of mine.
Mental breakdowns are a scary time for everyone. For the person having one it can feel like the world is caving in on them, and for their loved ones watching from the sidelines, they can feel helpless with no idea what to do.
When a mental breakdown happens it’s usually when some kind of issue has gotten to the tipping point and we can no longer handle the pressure, anxiety, or other strong emotions that go along with it.
Breakdowns aren’t pretty. This isn’t like your YouTuber apology video because they screwed up. This is full on your brain can’t handle things anymore and it’s making you cry, have terrible thoughts, and potentially even hyperventilate.
Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, to get my mind off of the issue that caused it, I wanted to write a post about what to do if you experience a mental breakdown.
What to Do When You Have a Legit Mental Breakdown
This post is going to be broken up into two parts: what to do if you’re the one having the breakdown, and what to do if you’re one the outside and want to help out.
Both require very different reactions. It also depends on how bad of a breakdown this is. I know that sounds harsh, but not all breakdowns are created equal. The one I had was over a relationship issue and the fact that my anxiety was starting to control my life instead of the me controlling it..
You need to asses the situation to see how bad things truly are, and if necessary, the things in this blog post might not even matter because professional medical help is the only answer to that kind of breakdown. If you feel you or someone you care about has reached that level, call your local emergency line and get them to a hospital for medical treatment. Nothing I or any other blogger out there can say will help.
So You’re Having a Mental Breakdown
Well, you’ve finally broke. Whatever it is that’s been causing you strife for the recent past (or not so recent) has finally piled up to a point where your mind and mental health said “nope. I’m out of here” and left you to pick up the pieces.
You’re most likely crying. If you have anxiety, that’s probably well off the charts, and going to be struggling to pull yourself together because once you start going, there’s no stopping it until it’s done.
Tissues, Handkerchief, and Medication
First thing you need to do is grab something to blow your nose with. Don’t worry about wiping your eyes, you’re probably going to be crying for a lot longer, so just keep at it. But if you’re like me, being able to breathe is a big thing. And when I cry my sinuses fill up like crazy and I can’t.
So get your tissues, paper towels, handkerchiefs or whatever else to keep your nostrils clear. Or, as clear as you’re going to get.
The second thing you need to do is grab whatever medication you have to situations like this and take it.
If you’re being treated by a mental health professional, you most likely have something for emergency panic attacks or a situation like this. If you don’t, find something to calm you down. For me, I would take benadryl because of the drowsiness effects.
However, I do not suggest you turn to illegal drugs or even drinking at this time. I also don’t recommend taking more than the prescribed dosage. I know you might feel like you need more, but believe me, once the medication kicks in you will calm down.
If you don’t have medication, you’re going to have to try your best with things like deep breaths, letting yourself cry it out, and leaning on a trusted friend or family member.
Cry it Out, Talk it Out, Let it Out
You’re going to have to let this breakdown run its course. Trying to stop it only make it worse.
Your mind is going to be all over the place. It’s going to probably go to dark places because you’re not in your right state of mind.
THAT IS OKAY.
What you need to do is make sure you don’t act on any of the dark thoughts you may be having. In my recent breakdown I wanted to down the bottle of medication I was given for panic attacks because I just wanted everything to stop.
DO NOT DO THAT.
All it’s going to do is delay you dealing with the problem and get you a trip to the emergency room to have your stomach pumped or worse.
What you need to do is cry it out, and when you’re done crying, talk it out to that trusted friend or family member. It may not make sense, it may not be rational, but talking it out and having something that resembles a conversation while going through this will ground you.
It will also make sure you don’t do anything stupid because you’ll have someone else looking out for you.
The point of all of this is to let the breakdown run its course. It’s going to be tiring, and the medication you’ve taken most likely will add to that drowsiness. Just let it run its course.
This could be minutes or hours, but if it’s been about an hour or two and it hasn’t started slowing down, or the medication you’ve taken hasn’t worked, you might want to look into heading to your local emergency room for more advanced treatment.
Related: How to Know When to “Let Go”
So Your Loved One is Having a Mental Breakdown
This is probably going to be scary for you. Especially if this is in person. What you need to do is be calm and not make any sudden moves.
They need you to be their rock right now, and if you start panicking along with them, it’s not going to help anything. I know it might be hard, but try your best to keep a calm outward appearance.
You’re most likely going to just have to sit there and hold them while they cry.
If they have any emergency medication for situations like these, make sure they take the correct dosage and only the correct dosage. Times like this can make us want to take more of the medication because it’s not working fast enough, and we might need you as the voice of reason.
How you answer any questions is also going to be important here. They aren’t in their right mind and aren’t going to be asking ration questions. They best you can do is reassure them everything is okay and that how their feeling is valid. Don’t try to argue with them about things right now, it’ll just make matters worse.
This cry fest can go on from anywhere between a few minutes to maybe even an hour or two, but as I mentioned above, if it’s been that long and things haven’t gotten any better, you might want to consider going to a hospital for more professional treatment.
Whatever you do, don’t think your role here isn’t important. I have to send huge thanks to the friend I was talking to online who helped me through my breakdown. They even sent me a link to an article about how to calm anxiety. While that wasn’t something that was going to help at the time, I appreciated the sentiment.
You are far more important than you realize because not only are they having this breakdown in front of you, they’re entrusting you with their insecurities enough that they don’t feel ashamed of them. You are a very important person in their life and you should hold on to that.
When they’ve finished with the mental breakdown, they’re going to be exhausted. If they’re comfortable enough, they might even fall asleep. So make sure they’re comfy and safe before leaving, if you came over for this, or before you go back to doing whatever it was you were doing before all this started.
I would also check in on them in a few hours/the next morning to make sure they’re still doing okay. Sometimes our anxieties, if they’re strong enough, can continue to plague us even after we’re gone through a breakdown.
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