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#SELFCARESUNDAYS: SOS! I’m having a breakdown

27 Aug 2017

You’ve spent weeks feeling anxious. The overused buzzword “anxiety” doesn’t even come close to what you’re feeling at the moment. Social anxiety? Instagram anxiety? IRL/URL friendships? These just aren’t the woes that are consuming you. You can’t even pinpoint the roots to this tree of worry – every issue is the problem.

So now you’ve dug yourself a hole and you’re sitting in it. Even lying in it, with your arms tied behind your back and a gag in your mouth. You’re overwhelmed and your whole body is a knot of worry. Right now, you are 0% human, 100% breakdown.

In no particular order, these tips have been tried and tested (disclaimer: by myself) to provide immediate, albeit short-term, relief.


1.Comfort food

When the panic rises and the wave of stress engulfs, most of us either binge or starve. Before you reach this point, create a normal and appreciative relationship with food – cook yourself a meal and find joy in the process. It doesn’t have to be Michelin star, watching a good pot of sticky rice and plantain cook is therapy enough.


2.Fresh air

A trip to Margate, Brighton, [insert sleepy seaside town here]. Basically, just go to the countryside, or deep deep South London (Croydon IKEA will do the job too). The sensation of leaving your usual routine and its associated stresses gives the body and mind immense freedom. That feeling of getting on a train to nowhere actually, really and truly screams the cliché “Everybody’s Free” (google  Rozalla).


3.No phones

Prevent the burn out from the get go. Like a car or a computer, your brain is working overtime, overloaded with information and it’s now on the brink of a malfunction. Before you become overwhelmed, de-clutter your mind and leave the e-mails, apps, dm’s for a hot sec – they’re not running anywhere.


4.Observe your patterns

The triggers that lead to the cusp of a breakdown need to be addressed and swiftly avoided before you reach a crisis. Write it down if it makes it easier to handle – “I feel disappointed/ afraid/ hurt/ guilty/ self-doubt because…” The toxic people or environments encouraging the paralysing fear and anxiety need to be trashed pronto while you recalibrate your emotions.


5.Light exercise

We’ve all heard the release-the-endorphins, feel-good spiel. But working out the muscles does actually work. Even a 10 min cycle or walk around your ends is sure to make you feel looser and regulate normal breathing patterns.



Masturbating is what you want for the ultimate de-stress. Count it as the light exercise if you must, it releases the same endorphins and you get the added pleasure. It doesn’t really need selling to be honest.


7.Run a bath/ Lie on a hard floor

Both of these positions ironically provide immediate comfort. It’s probably the most effective and it has very little back up. Radox-ad worthy bubble baths rejuvenate your body and mind, whilst the good hard floor/grass improves balance and grounds the body.


8.Sleep in another bed

If you are having trouble sleeping in your own bed it could be because you are associating it with previously overwhelming experiences and subconsciously attaching yourself to nightmare scenarios. As soon as you feel yourself becoming restless, move out of the destructive environment and find comfort in a new space. A blow up bed, sofa or a nice hard floor (see above) will do for a night.


9.Speak to your beloved

Your loved ones are the most important beings in your life. Whether that is a five-year-old cousin or your dog – cherish the real solid beings around you and let them ground you. The URL world will crumble, along with your fears, and the real and simple pleasures will triumph (we pray so).


10.Know your worth

No, this isn’t the aunty advice on dealing with a bad break up. Knowing your worth is understanding that you don’t need to justify, convince, or explain yourself or your feelings. Being in denial and playing hide and seek with your feelings is the most exhausting part of a breakdown. The fear of failing at maintaining the façade is the biggest fear and the one that plagues us the most. So accept your situation and your vulnerability ASAP and you will feel just that little bit stronger.


Most of all, keep faith. Whether you are religious or not,  have faith in your body and the substance of your mind. You are larger and more powerful than the self-doubt clawing at your confidence. Obviously, these tips do not apply to everyone and anyone’s circumstance. They are tips, not solutions and they are not intended to undermine the larger causes of the breakdown.

If you feel that these episodes of panic, (whatever your symptoms), are occurring more frequently or are too frequent to begin with, speak to a professional. Whether that professional is your local pharmacist or GP, the NHS (believe it or not) do have systems and steps in place to protect and guide you to better mental health.

Have a read of Rethink’s Mental Health SOS guide to spot the signals of a crisis and seek the necessary help before these breakdowns really break you.