Home » Commentary » How I Came Out of a Nervous Breakdown

Recent Posts

Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 278 other subscribers

Follow Us

How I Came Out of a Nervous Breakdown

Someone told me there was no literature on this and asked me to write about my experiences since my first collapse was when I was 9 years old. When I was 44 it happened again and finally when I was 51. I never received any medical attention or sought any over these years. I just finally saw the pattern of my life and realized “Hey, I’ve been through this before.”

At 4, as an only child living in a house with my grandparents, I showed great musical promise and started lessons. Within a few years I was polished enough to enter a contest. The prize was lessons at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music available only to gifted students. My mother and grandmother decided nothing would do that I must win this, heading me to a music career.

I was lazy and unmotivated as most kids are, but it clearly was their agenda and not mine and like all children I wanted to be obedient or at least keep the peace. For months I was beaten, badgered and forced to practice long hours. It all came to a head in the spring when I had 2 violent, terrifying identical 2 nightmares in a row. A giant huge spider hovered over my bed and threatened to crush me to death. I never told anyone at the time of the dream. I don’t recall anyone much listened to me anyway.

Exhausted but ready, I did win this contest, beating out a 17 year old boy.

But the victory was pyrrhic, not for me, but for my family. I remember thinking, and can recall it today, ‘well, this is their contest, they won it and they can have it.’ I vowed never to take an interest in music or anything else they could ruin. I went to the conservatory but soon left as my teacher saw I was only going through the motions. I did this, of course, to avoid additional beatings.

I emotionally divorced my family at that time. I remember standing in the middle of the living room when I was 15 thinking, I am going to have to raise myself. Of course I was not doing all that great a job at it, but I knew I was little more than an actor in someone else’s drama. BUT, I did learn some work standards. I married as quickly as possible and left home.

Now we jump to when I was 44. I had been working night and day, trying to save my marriage, and completely unaware of what was happening. My husband’s business was in a state of disrepair, he eventually had to close it, and he was living almost entirely off my inheritance and alcohol. I received not a dime of this – nor from his earnings for 9 years. I guess that lesson of sticking to the bitter end I had learned as an elementary student.

I was doing everything in my power to keep the family in tact, and so the money was not important. At least not until I had this epiphany, “He married me for my money and when it was gone so was he.”

Things came to a head in November of 1982 when he got dead drunk and tried to seduce an acquaintance at a party. The poor woman was terrified. I realized this 26-year marriage was over.

I went into some sort of mental state where I just “did” what I knew to do. God showed me the giant black spider was my baby grand piano on which I had practiced so many hours. And here I was, back in this situation again. Every bit of energy and hope had drained away. This is the point where people ask me, what did you do to change things.

First I did not go to a doctor. I avoided them at all costs. I believed as a child that adults were not my friends and not on my side. I never really got over this.

But my daughter was getting married and I needed to sew a dress. It was quite a complicated pattern with a difficult lined collar. The more I worked on this (and mind you I have no real talent in sewing) the more I got some of my personality back. The wedding was a success but that marked the end of my marriage for good. When people ask “Can this marriage be saved?” I can guarantee you the question comes way too late for the couple.

The same thing happened again in 1989 when I was overworked to the point of exhaustion, and life piled in on me again. But this time I saw the pattern and just sat down in a rocking chair on my porch and looked at the Blue Ridge skyline. I ended up losing my home, but as a close buddy said, “You never lost your sense of humor.”

I’ve concluded, and you may have another idea, that satisfying work is the cure here. I was physically pressured beyond my limits. Apparently I have unlimited mental endurance, but not physical. I have learned to stop cold now when I feel my body failing under me.

I was the cause of my problems. I made 3 false assumptions. (1) that if I worked hard and pleased my parents I would be rewarded (2) if I worked hard I could save a marriage and (3) if I worked hard I could save my home.

I hope this helps someone else pull out of a breakdown. Don’t hit the bottle or the drugs. Sit in a chair and think about who and what you are. Whatever it is, it may not be what you thought. Then go on, take a better path, and rejoice in the end.


1 Comment

  1. If you appear at Adu’s record for America’s U-17 and U-20 international teams, then you will understand that selection a good impression while very young fifa security . People forget that as he played for that U-17’s he was only 14 (and he was the same age when he played for that U-20’s)! What other teenagers (past and present) in world football can claim aren’t?
    fifa 16 hack http://creditsfut.com/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: