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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have had 3 mental breakdowns. The first one lasted 3 months

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I have had 3 mental breakdowns. The first one lasted 3 months and I fully recovered. The second one, 10 years later, was hell. Lost creativity and any affection toward my husband and mother just to mention a few of many things. This one lasted about 8 months. Three years ago in July another one. Caught this one a little early and had better support. Was still miserable mentally and had several physical issues. This one continues. I am better but worried I will never be myself again. Do you lose brain cells with each breakdown? I did have major high between the 2nd & 3rd breakdown. Would love to have a little of that now.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

You cannot lose brain cells when you experience severe emotional distress. What the distress can do however, is affect how you feel. And when you experience symptoms like you have, it may take some time to recover.

Each time your symptoms become worse, it takes an emotional toll on you. From your description, it sounds like you might have had a severe depression. And if you are experiencing highs in between, you may have Bipolar. If so, Bipolar is thought to be caused by brain chemical imbalances. In that case, it can affect you physically and make it difficult to recover from.

If you are getting help for your symptoms and are following your doctor's recommendations, you should continue to improve. Although there may be no cure for what you have, you can still work with your doctor and treatment team to find the best treatment for you so you can minimize the effects on your health.

Also, consider support groups either on line or in person. Talking to others who have the same symptoms as you can help you feel less alone and provide much needed support.

I hope this has helped you,

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TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Kate, I follow the directions of my doctors to a T. I am afraid not to. They have diagnosed me with Bi-Polar II, anxiety disorder and panic disorder. My second breakdown was horrible. I layed on the couch for months and just starred of into space. I was so tense my body ached. I had zero apathy. I lost 25 pounds. I was taken to a mental facility but because I wasn't homicidal or suicidal they would not admit me. I didn't want to kill myself but I did not want to live. I absolutely could not function and I could not sleep. My tongue stayed stuck on the top of my mouth. This caused my ears to get stopped up. I was so tense I could not get my shoulders out of my ears. If I could have looked forward to anything it was bedtime. Needed Xanax to relax enough to sleep. I stopped having a period and rarely went to the bathroom. Days would go by without showering. As I slowly began to get better everything I did felt like I was draggin a cannon ball. It was during this time that I shut off my mother and husband. I could barely stand to be around them. This caused my mother so much hurt bacause we had always been so close. I never got my feelings back for either. My mother has been dead for 7 years and I don't feel I have ever mourned her death. There is so much more - I could write a book. I do journel when I'm able.

The breakdown 10 years later was not as severe but was still hellish. I layed around for 3-4 months. It took everything out of me just to wash a sink of dishes or make the bed. My physical symptoms during this breakdown where unbelieveable. Felt like I had no circulation in my legs. I could not lay one leg on top of the other. I could not longer sleep on my left side - which is the norm for me. My bottom of my feet burned. I didn't realize at the time that all this was part of the breakdown. My friend started dragging me out of the house just to sit outside. I have loved the outdoors. He also took me to Florida because I used to to love the beach. He also put in a pool because he knew I'd always wanted one. Never got in it until this summer. Could have cared less. We would have company over and I just sat there. They would say things i knew should be funny but none of was funny to me. I didn't want to be around people because I knew I was such a bummer. To this day I don't want to listen to any kind of music. I can no longer multi-task. I have always loved to have parties and loved decorating. Not anymore - I freak out even with 3 months prior notice. I feel like my "un"husband get what he bargained for. I was always so fun loving and happy and always full of energy. I just want to be me again. Feel like it's been long enough but something is just not clicking. I live near Vanderbilt University and have considered joining a test program but am an hour plus away. I have decided electro shock therphy to be my next option. I wish they could do a test to see what is not connection in my brain. I am so fed up with this. My Drs. and therapist have helped me but I feel I could be getting better care somewhere else - Vanderbilt would be my choice. I am SSI disability - $900.00 doesn't go very far and am on medicare. Thank God for my family or I would probably be homeless. I want help so desperately. I am horrified at the thougth of having another breakdown. Please help me or tell me what I should do to start treatment at Vanderbilt. I miss me and I know my "un"husgand misses me. Sorry this is so long. IT COULD BE MUCH MUCH longer. I also try to do crossword puzzles, play brain games anything reccommended to stimulate my mind. Feel stuck.

I am sorry that you have been through so much. It sounds like you are doing all you can to help yourself to feel better. I can provide you with as many resources as possible though I am limited through Just Answer and it's format as to how much I can do. And it also seems that you have tried many things already to help you feel better. Here are some resources that are helpful:

For Bipolar:

For anxiety:


The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D. Burns

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus EdD and Jon Carlson PsyD EdD

Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garano

Support groups:

You may want to contact Vanderbilt directly to ask them about their program and see what is involved with getting admitted. I'm sure they can provide direction to you about what is required and whom to contact.


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