bipolar disorder mental health

Welcome To My Latest Mental Health Breakdown

So this afternoon, I was returning home from running some errands – dropping some envelopes off at the post office and buying milk – when I tripped on nothing and semi-sprained my ankle. This is not the first time that this has happened to me. I am sitting in my apartment now and pitying myself, grumpy because this is just the cherry on the ice cream sundae that is my life right now.

Yesterday, I was approved for a three-week short term leave from work. I requested it because on Tuesday, I finally experienced a bit of a breakdown that was building up for months and months. I felt anxious and depressed, and in pain because of both, when I realized that I was killing myself by trying to pretend to be okay and function normally all day when I really just honestly do not feel well. This afternoon, someone in my support group said something relevant and that resonated. They said that mental health care in our country is like telling someone with heart problems to come back to the doctor only if they are having a heart attack. I have been suffering from the “heart problems” equivalent  of mental health issues, but not been taking it seriously enough. I decided it was time to take the time to focus on my health, instead of trying to get better while continuously making it worse by forcing myself to put aside my feelings for 8 hours a day. I was sick of the chest pain, the difficulty breathing at times, the hopelessness, the de-realization, the racing thoughts, the negative self-talk and the restlessness. The panic. Feeling powerless over my emotions. Seeing my self-confidence slip away every day and feeling guilty because I could feel my mental health impacting my productivity. The need for lots of sleep because of the Seroquel that I was taking.

I feel better now that I have decided to take control of my health and well-being. That I recognized that my recovery right now needs to encompass my whole life, not just part of it. But I also feel terrible because I feel like I am ruining my life. Even though everyone has told me this break is a good idea, I feel like I am giving up. I feel like I am not trying hard enough. I feel weak. I feel like I am letting people down. I feel like I am letting myself down. I feel like I am putting my career on hold. I feel like I am putting my future on hold. I feel like I am destroying my financial goals.  I feel a lot, clearly.

So what do I plan to do in the next three weeks? I plan on seeing a psychiatrist at the local mental  health hospital. I plan on seeing my therapist. I plan on adjusting to a medication change. I plan on exercising  (if I can stop accidentally hurting myself!). I plan on reading. I plan on cooking and eating well and speaking with my nutritionist regularly. I plan on going to support groups. I plan on researching other mental health resources and seeing what’s available to me. I plan on keeping busy but also taking the time to relax and rest and recharge. Which means not feeling guilty if I sleep in once in a while. Or every day.

I’m hoping that by the end of the three weeks, my emotions and mood will be more stable. I won’t feel this crippling depression or painful anxiety symptoms. I hope three weeks is enough time. I’m hoping that I can change my outlook and see this break as an opportunity for growth, rather than a setback. I hope that I can learn from my experience and move on with confidence.

Have you ever taken a break from work due to mental health or even just physical health issues? What did you do to help yourself recover? I need your help and feedback! Leave it in the comments below.

39 comments on “Welcome To My Latest Mental Health Breakdown

  1. etherealbeingsinmylife

    Congratulations on making the decision to put yourself first and take care of you. Nothing can be accomplished by not caring for yourself. I do not know what country you live in, but I am in the USA. I had a very difficult time working and reached a point where I could not hold down a job. I applied for disability and felt very guilty about it. I have been on disability for several years now and no longer feel guilty. My mental health is so much better than it used to be. You are definitely doing the right thing by taking this break.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Revolving life around mental illness is a thankless job, the only benefit of employment being a nearly unmeasurable break in the tornado of insanity, a tiny peep through our storm into its sunshine. Society and those closet to us in particular do not understand, although our joy be a far off whisper in a desperately pleading prayer, a twinkle of hope in the deep abyss of the spirit, we try. Angels witness us drag through the darkness, and cry tears of joy. We side step the seduction of suicide and that is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are stronger than you think you are. You are taking the right steps to care for your mind and body. Be confident that you come first in this life and you need to say yes to you to successfully manage your illness. Try yoga. Learn to really breathe. Surround yourself with the things and people that comfort you. I feel you and understand your struggle. You are not alone ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comment! I know I am not alone. Besides friends and family, I have wonderful people on the Internet like you who give me hope and a reason to keep on trying my best to make a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pretty much what OBPAM said. You are doing precisely the right thing taking time off from work and getting help.

    And importantly, you are definitely not alone. ❤

    Like

  5. You are doing the right thing, trust me, I have taken many breaks from work due to mental health issues and it always helped me. I have been off of work now for a year and a half and just the daily struggles of meeting my families needs can be a lot for me but I have an understanding family and am much better off not working. Just taking care of myself is a lot and sleeping in most days is a part of my routine so don’t feel guilty about that. When one doesn’t have the demands of work there is plenty of time to get things done in the day and sleeping in doesn’t affect me. Some things that have helped me a lot are to write (which you are doing already, that’s great), reading the classics (I am currently reading the autobiography of Gandhi), sleeping enough, eating healthy, exercising (there are exercises on Sparkpeople for mobility issues you might try), staying connected to my support team (my daughter, a few close friends and my psychiatrist and prayer throughout the day. I also have a few good hobbies like gardening and scrapbooking and have come to enjoy housework when the mood hits. Cleanliness is next to Godliness they say. I can also send you the first 7 or 8 chapters of my book on finding fulfillment in life not working if you give me your email. I don’t know if I will finish the book but it has spiritual lessons after each chapter which are optional to read or not but that is the only spiritual element. Let me know!!!!
    Pax
    Victoria

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  6. Good for you. I wish I could take a mental health break from work. I did from graduate school, and I’ve been on said break for the last year. I’ll go back and finish. But sometimes, you just gotta do you. Hope this three weeks off really helps.

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  7. bpd2know1amworthy

    Hoping your break from work brings you what you need 🙂 You are important and self-care is a #1 priority! ❤ I took 2 weeks from work to attend a residential codependency program in Elliot Lake. My boss was very understanding about it but I still felt bad – and later realized that that feeling was my codependency and perfectionism screaming at me. I have since learned that I need to focus on doing whatever I need to do to be a healthier me – and self-care is the #1 step on the journey to get there. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂 ❤

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  8. I felt for you as it seems like it’s the little things that triggers break downs, when actually it’s been building for quite awhile. It’s so annoying it’s the littlest things that shake all up!
    I’m with you on the journey!

    Like

  9. Staceysmom

    I took a month off work last year, in Canada I was able to get a doctors note for medical employers insurance.one thing that contributed to this break was that I discovered the medication I had been on for 10 yrs wasnt working anymore so I started a new one when i was off which can take a while to adjust to. I also slept a lot, went for walks outside, and took time to get a massage as a way to show love to myself. I also got some books on cognitive behavioural therapy and started doing guided meditations on youtube. Just be kind to yourself. Try some affirmation vids and yoga vids on youtube too!!! At first I felt like a huge tool but by the end of the month I was so glad I had taken the time to regroup. Know that these depressive/anxious episodes will happen in our lives and find the right tools for your own individual wellbeing. It will get better again.

    Like

  10. Take care. This is your time to take care of yourself. Stay strong!

    Like

  11. I think the fact that you recognized you needed a break and were brave enough to take one is amazing. I completely relate to how you are feeling about taking a break though… feeling guilty & like you should have just sucked it up instead… I wish we did not feel like this. I try to remind myself that my mental health is IMPORTANT and that I am not being lazy, but in our culture it is so difficult. I am currently in a vicious cycle of feeling depressed/unmotivated/terrible, opting to call out sick for work, and then feeling immense guilt for it. Ugh.

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  12. I have taken a LOT of time from work to try to get back on track. I hope you are able to rest and revive. I understand how much strength it takes to function… And how incredibly tiring depression is. Stay strong ❤

    Like

  13. Ok…first off…kudos for taking care of yourself when needed. That in and of itself isnt easy. You can come up with a million reasons to put yourself down, but that doeasnt mean any of them are valid.

    You cant be a good employee, friend, family member, partner if your stretched so thin. The only person who is likely begrudging you some time is youself.

    Catch up on reality tv, watch MTV and laugh at what you thought was cool, catch up on reading and sleep all day if you need to.

    May the force be with you. : )

    Like

  14. Talasi Guerra

    Good for you for committing to do what you need to do in order to get healthy. I battled with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety for many years (still working on the anxiety). About 10 years ago I made a decision similar to yours and took some time to intentionally address my eating disorder in particular. I was lucky that it happened at a time when I had a natural break (I was a student at the time, and university classes were out for Christmas). But that break was so needed and such an amazing time to think things through, work some stuff out, and recharge. I had been through all kinds of treatment in the past and none of it had worked. But this time I was ready. What did I do with my time? I read, I painted, I played music, and I journaled a ton! I also reconnected with God and rediscovered my value as a person. It was an amazingly healing experience.

    You might be a few weeks into your three-week time off by now. I am interested to hear how it’s going? I believe you can get through this and completely overcome! Don’t give up. Be encouraged. You can do this!

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    • Hi Talasi! Thanks for your comment. My break is going okay – I have been seeing psychiatrists, my therapist, exercising, reading, sleeping, watching Netflix and working on this blog. Unfortunately, I am not feeling better yet but I am hoping soon. Thanks for asking!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. great blog and your breakdown reminds me of my warning signs last year and a refusal to take medication, thinking I could beat it and not join groups because I intended to recover. This time I am having to take the medication and ill see what the doctors say this week. I’ll join anything now.

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  16. Beverly, thank you for liking my post. I am a new blogger and appreciate the encouragement. I am sorry you are going through this. I can’t advise professionally but it sounds like you are headed in a good direction. I believe in dealing with anxiety you really need to find those things that bring you happiness and reduce all those secondary commitments you feel like you have to do. It may take some time and experimentation. I liken it to weaving. You do a little each day and don’t see the end product right away. Sometimes you make a mistake and have to go backward or sideways. But you are gradually reaching your goal.

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  17. Good for you! It is so important to take care of yourself while your aware you need it, rather than push on to a breakdown. I didn’t listen to myself as you are and kept pushing through it, until I was completely unable to work for nearly 18 months. Had I listened to my inner voice as you are much earlier I don’t think it would have been so severe. Embrace this much needed time to the fullest. And be kind to yourself while you do it.

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  18. billyleemaexx

    I think it’s amazing that you’ve taken a break to focus on your mental health. I spent a long time neglecting myself and that caused me to break down and drop out of school. I felt like a failure. It took me a long time and a lot of therapy, but I realised that leaving that situation really did do me a whole lot of good. It was just myself and my thoughts and that left me a lot of time to look back and reflect. My experiences truly made me so much stronger. I hope yours does too. Take care of yourself.

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  19. Dont feel bad for making the decision to break from the madness of the world sometimes. We all have thresholds and they are not the same from one person to the next. It is even more pronounced if you are an empath which I am. Social situations wear on me soooo much. I like to take any minute im home and safe as a time for “mental recharge”. Be fully present as possible to be there, wherever you are and not get carried away about whether you are doing it right or not. If anyone is making you feel guilty, its on them, not you. Do “YOU”.

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  20. Absolutely, you’re doing the right thing. I need therapeutic talks with professionals or friends often in order to stay working. Then I often taking breathing breaks, remembering both how insignificant my problems and I are, but also remembering how significant the gift of life is…

    Hang in there!

    Like

  21. I really loved this, it was inspiring. I think you are brave for taking the time off work. I am doing better than I have been, but I still feel like I would benefit from some time off. Sadly we can’t afford for me to not work.

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  22. Samantha Dorris

    It is a good thing to take time off from work. I took 3 months off (and I’m still off right now) and went to an IOP program that really changed me life. You going to group is a great step toward healing and recovery. What you said in this post resonates with me, so I am sending positive vibes your way! Keep it up!

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  23. I went through a bad break up and was abused in the relationship. My latest blog Purple Isn’t for You is about it. My boss also experienced this when she was young and let me take a few days off of work go work on myself. Thankful for their understanding. I hope you’re doing well! 💖

    Like

  24. Of COURSE you feel that way. Good for you for talking about it! Let me know if I can help! My bane is Cat and I just started talking too. Junkiebehaviorblog.wordpress.com

    Like

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