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#I've Been There - My Breakdown

#I’ve been there

It was Thursday 24th November 2017, Liz and I had set up our portable office at the facility we were working at. All I remember is eating my lunch then looking at the computer screen and just feeling an overwhelming sense of helplessness and brain freeze. It was later described to me like someone had pulled the plug out on my brain and it just stopped.


From that point on my life changed. I felt vulnerable, scared, anxious. The best way to describe it is that I felt like a child again not knowing what to do and feeling I needed someone with me all the time. Looking back now the signs were there that I was struggling. I now really regret that I wasn't expressing how I felt enough to my loving partner and wife Liz (who has also struggled with OCD all her life), but we can always look back in hindsight and wish we had done things differently!

Life before my breakdown had been a culmination of so many extremely stressful events. In the years before my breakdown my grandfather had tried on numerous occasions to take his own life and this had triggered in my brain an overwhelming fear that I too might reach that point of hopelessness, I actually worried it was genetic and developed a phobia about suicide. This caused 24/7 acute anxiety, to the point that every night I would wake on 3-4 occasions with night terrors that would completely affect the following day, so much so that I wouldn’t leave the house and have to have Liz by my side constantly. 

As you can imagine having 2 teenagers, a dad in his 80’s, recently losing her mom to alzheimers and now a husband completely dependent on her was extremely demanding on her but she never complained, she just accepted this needed her energy and time. I can honestly say I never realised before what panic attacks and other stress symptoms of a breakdown could feel like day in day out, the fact you don’t want to see anyone, people you once shared great meals with- gone because you choose not to meet them, places you once loved to visit- have no appeal, things you liked to eat- no appetite, clothes you liked to wear- no energy to put on. Everything just seemed too much and I would rather let someone decide for me like a child does. I’d always been an outgoing, fun-loving person who loved being right in the centre of things, always cramming so much into our lives as a family, our home was hardly ever just us four, as we enjoyed it full of our friends and close family. But after that day in November I remember waking up at home after the event with one of my close friends next to me in my bedroom, wondering what was happening and the overwhelming feeling that I had lost total control of my mind. I felt so scared …………. To be continued                        

1 comment

  • Imogen Spurgin

    This was so moving to read Nick. You so eloquently describe what breakdown feels and looks like. I’m so glad as man you can describe this as it’s often still a taboo, I too had breakdown 6 years ago and echo the extreme anxiety and complete lack of decision this caused. I found neuroli calm really soothes my brain and I’m so greatful have this as a daily aid and to share it with others too. Look forward to reading more. It will certainly help lot who read it to be aware of the signs and to maybe deal with life more modestly and know limits. Take care. Luv to you&Liz

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