It is hard to put into words what it is like to have a mental breakdown. Not only is it hard to try and describe what it is like, but it is hard to talk about because you fear how people are going to react to you. So many mentally ill people have to deal with the stigma attached to the words mental illness, and end up being treated like they have leprosy. While it isn’t easy to tell my story, I feel compelled to do so.

First of all, writing is therapy for me, but I also feel like it will let others like me know that they are not alone. Perhaps, it may even help family and friends understand what it is like to live inside the mind of someone who is mentally ill, and what it is like to have a breakdown. I have been hospitalized a total of three times due to mental breakdowns. When I was much younger, they were called nervous breakdowns, I prefer the newer term. As for what it is like, I will do my best to try and explain. Believe me, if you have never suffered from one, you don’t want to!

I lost my ability to function normally. It felt like there was a heavy weight on my chest. Words that come to mind are torment, panic, confusion, pain, guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, emptiness, numb to things that should matter, etc. It is like my brain short circuited. My whole world as I knew it came crashing down on me. Everything in my life was caving in, and I was powerless to stop it. Hysteria and irrational fear took over my mind, and I lost total control of it. I experienced overwhelming, taunting thoughts. There were demonic voices telling me, “Die! Die! Die! Nobody loves you. You are worthless. Go ahead, kill yourself! Nobody cares. You won’t be in pain anymore. You will finally be at peace. Die! Die! Die!”

There was an unrelenting ache inside me. The pain became overpowering and unbearable. I felt like I was in a bathtub and someone was holding me under the water. I couldn’t breathe. I was broken and wasn’t sure what reality was. There seemed to be no logic to anything. I became an insomniac, and felt like what I imagine a zombie might feel like. There was no escape for me.

I committed myself all three times to the psych ward. I knew I was suicidal, and I knew I needed help. The second time of being hospitalized was after a suicide attempt. After I took the pills, it was like the real me took over and, in my mind, I was thinking, “What are you doing?” I called the ambulance myself after my daughter’s face flashed through my mind. In retrospect, I see now that I didn’t really want to die, I just wanted that unrelenting, crushing pain to stop.

If you or someone you love is suicidal, please dial 911 or call The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8355. They are available 24/7. Additional information may be obtained from (The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill).

© 2018 SJ Mullins