The Diary of a Nervous Breakdown - Part 3

Part Two is here

"I can't do it," I cried, my words running together. "I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't go on anymore like this. I can't." I can't. I can't. I'm stuck. I'm stuck. what can I do to become not stuck? Ideas popped up, ideas that scared me, but I dismissed it because i have a healthy fear of hell. I'm stuck. I can't do it. I can't go back. No more triggers. I can't take it anymore. I can't do it.

"Holly, you're having a nervous breakdown."

I let out a wail. No, not again. Not a breakdown. I can't do it.

"Holly, we need to take you to the hospital."

"No, I don't want to go. I'll go to sleep and I'll be good."

"Holly, you need help. You're having a breakdown." He tried to pick me up.

"No! no! I'm fine," I said, my nose plugged up. "I just need to sleep." I can't be crazy. I can't be crazy. I have no time to be crazy. I just need to get over myself. I'm being a spoiled brat. I can't do it. I trembled constantly.

"They can help you at the hospital," Jeff said. "They have doctors who can help you."

"How?" I sobbed. I want relief. I want relief so bad. I can't do it. Going to the hospital. I'm certifiably insane. I can't do it.

"They have medicine that will help you."

I cried.

"We're going to the hospital. I'm a suit salesman, so it's beyond my ability to care for you."

"No! I can't go! I can't do it." I got out of bed, crying, trembling. I'm certifiably insane. I'm going to ER over this. I can't do it. I changed my clothes. I can't do this. I can't believe we're going to the hospital. I can't do this. I'm crazy. I can't do this. I'm crazy. I want the help. I want relief. But the stigma. Too much. I can't do it.

My husband called for a cab, and the cabbie dropped us off at the door to the ER. I'm calmer now. I'm calmer now. I can't do it. I don't want to go in. But we're here. I want help. The nurse at the desk asked us what the issue was. I stammered. Jeff answered for me.

A breakdown. Anxiety attack. I've had these before. I always just cry and then wake up and try to keep moving the next day. move through the triggers. And it landed me in the ER this time. Why? Why did it?

The intake person had me and my husband go into his cubicle. He took stats, and asked questions. I-I stammered out what had happened, feeling incredibly stupid. It's so stupid. ER over a breakdown? The nurse had such compassion. He cracked a couple of jokes. I actually laughed.He looked at me, and asked, now, do you feel like hurting yourself? or someone else? gesturing to my husband. I laughed. No, I answered.

Jeff and I then sat and waited in the wait room. And waited. And waited. Someone was coughing through their face mask. A woman threw up in a bucket in a corner, and a nurse took it away and gave her a fresh one. Others looked to be in greater pain. bigger distress. Me? I had a breakdown. I should have just gotten over myself. Friends kept posting messages on Facebook for me. Jeff had updated everyone. I cried, seeing the words of support. I have people who care for me. Nobody told me I was just being a "spoiled brat." Nobody told me I needed to "get over myself." Not like my dad did.

The stimulus in the wait room calmed me. Finally, a nurse called me back.We were put in a ENT room. And waited. A nurse came by, asked why we were there. I explained, and Jeff helped me remember. She asked the standard suicide question.

Later, a doctor came by. I told him what had happened. The triggers. And when he asked about my breakdown, I--couldn't articulate it. Jeff told him what it was like. He said he would give me some pills that will help. And he asked if I ever had thoughts of hurting myself or someone else. "Not seriously," I answered. Thoughts come to mind briefly, but go away. Do I ever harm myself? Not really. I just pick my skin a lot.

The nurse came in with 1mg of Ativan and a cup of water. I downed it. I didn't feel anything yet.

The billings person came by and asked if we were able to pay. Yes. With our FSA card. Geez. It was expensive. My dad always complained about how expensive I was. It made me feel like a burden. "I should have just sucked it up," I told Jeff.

"Worth it to help you feel better."



After I showed no reaction to the Ativan other than sleepiness, I was discharged. Two in the morning. I started worrying about sleep. I'm going to be tired. We went to Walgreens to fill the prescription. They gave me enough to last me until I can get to my psychiatrist and a counselor.

The next morning, I overslept. I sprang out of bed at 6:51, threw my clothes on, threw food in my backpack, and went out the door. The bus was late. I was late. We arrived at the stop at the same time. Thank God. I made it to work on time. My boss asked me how I was doing. Morning routine. I told her about going to the ER for an anxiety attack, stemming from long-term child abuse, but that I was better and had medicine. She encouraged me to go home and just take the day off. So I did.


I've halved the Ativan tablets per my psychiatrist's advice, and am still taking them for now, to help me recover. It'll help me get through to the counseling appointment on Tuesday. Where has Ativan been all my life? Why had I never sought treatment for these breakdowns before? My psychiatrist said that Ativan would be a good "emergency" medicine to carry from now on.

I'm still looking for a good trauma/PTSD therapist. It's surprisingly hard to find a good clinical psychologist, or a good therapist for that matter, that specialize in what my problems are. We'll see what happens. But I'm doing better now. Mostly. I still get anxious. Even on Ativan. But I'm trying. And I'm holding on.

And I can recover.

Filed under: Abuse


Leave a comment
  • Holly I am praying for you. Your struggles are close to my heart. Peace. Write us an update soon.

  • In reply to Julie:

    Julie, I really appreciate the prayers--thank you. I will definitely be updating soon--like how hard it is to find a PTSD therapist! But so far so good with the Ativan. Hugs to you, too. :)

  • You've been going through some major changes. Cut yourself some slack, dear! You're stronger than you think. Look at what you've accomplished in a year:

    1.) Changed your religion - that's huge, and a big decision not to be taken lightly!
    2.) Changed jobs
    3.) Started a public blog
    4.) Still adjusting to a big city

    Did you check with the U of C for their student counseling services? Many therapists work on a sliding scale.

    Focus on your health. Run because you feel like it, not because of the Chicago Marathon. Running, or any exercise for that matter, will help with the anxiety and stress. Remember: the oxygen mask goes on you first!

    And let's get together again for lunch, soon.
    XO - Margie

  • In reply to EveryCrayon:

    Thanks, Margie <3 When you laid it out like that, I can definitely see where the stress is coming from! Not to mention grad school on top of all that. I haven't checked into student counseling services yet, but that's a good idea. Sometimes they're student-only, sometimes they're for everyone, so I will check. I need to get back into running. I definitely do. It's been on hold, but you're right, running will help with the stress. I would love to have lunch with you soon :)

  • I'm with EveryCrayon. Do not underestimate the importance of joining a different church. I'm sure that is a huge, under-recognized trigger, like a final act of rebellion even though it really wasn't that. I just think the timing is so close that it can't be coincidence. It's Easter weekend for the Orthodox (that's me) so I'm in church for like literally hours a day. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • In reply to Julie:

    Happy Easter, Julie!

    I think you gals are right about this. It certainly would be a compounding factor to all the other stress.

  • Oh, wow.

    It's odd; when you were describing your triggers I was absolutely awestruck, wondering how you got into my head. In my case Mom was the rager, but otherwise it sounds like we hatched in the same kind of nest, as it were.

    And when you talked about not wanting to go to work, about your mind and your body deciding "no, we're not doing this; you can impose any and all of your old-school coping mechanisms on this situation but we are simply NOT going to cooperate"...well, as you might guess, I've been there myself.

    Hang in there. I admire that you have enough self-knowledge to know how to take care of yourself, and when to listen to those who also care about your well-being. You're smart enough and strong enough to ask for help when you need it; that in itself makes it possible for you to recover. One day you'll even be able to ENJOY Easter. :)

  • In reply to Gladystopia:

    Hugs to you, Gladystopia! I'm sorry that you've had to experience much of the same things. And those've described the mind and body's reaction quite well, "No, we're not going to cooperate!" That's pretty much what that is!

    I look forward to actually being able to enjoy Easter (and Christmas, and other holidays). I enjoy them, but it would be so nice if the old feelings associated with them could stay away.

    Thanks so much for your kind words :)

Leave a comment