‘Stress made my brain go “pop” and triggered a psychotic breakdown’
We all feel stress, but when it becomes unbearable to handle, the damage can be irreparable. Understand more about how your brain goes haywire and what you can do to bring yourself back down from the ledge.,
Stress is the leading cause of mental health problems, yet many people are still scared to talk about it. It’s time for that to change, says author and journalist Lucy Mangan who reveals how approaching burnout caused her own psychological breakdown – and what she found out in recovery was far more worrying than expected. She has written a book on the subject called ‘Stress Made My Brain Go “Pop” And Triggered A Psychotic Breakdown’.
A new study has found that stress can cause the brain to go “pop” and trigger a psychotic breakdown. The study also found that people who experience psychosis are more likely to have experienced trauma in their lives.
The stress of work, organizing a wedding, and purchasing a house proved too much for Sarah Tait (Picture: PA Real Life)
Sarah Tait, 33, worked in a bank’s property department and was accustomed to working under pressure.
But when she tried to manage her employment with arranging her wedding and purchasing a house, it all fell apart.
Sarah suffered from a mental breakdown as a result of the extended stress, which was compounded by her need for everything to be flawless. She had 20 panic episodes every day.
‘Everything was important to me. Everything down to the tiniest of things. “No stone was left unturned,” Sarah, of Chelmsford, Essex, claimed.
‘I wasn’t aware of the strain I was placing on myself. I’d always been organized, on top of things, and a bit of a control freak.’
The continual whirl of bustle was forced to rest following Sarah’s honeymoon in Italy, sparking a terrible downward spiral in her mental health.
However, she continued to work despite warning indications that something was awry.
On the honeymoon, everything came tumbling down. (Image courtesy of PA Real Life)
That is, until a ‘popping feeling’ in Sarah’s head on a Friday night in January 2019. After that, there was a psychotic episode.
Sarah had fantasies that she had won the jackpot, that she had a brain tumor, and that she was in a coma for five dreadful days.
What exactly is psychosis?
Psychosis (also known as a ‘psychotic experience’ or a ‘psychotic episode’) is a condition in which you view or interpret reality differently from others. It’s possible that you’ve lost touch with reality.
Hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thought and speech are the most typical forms of psychotic episodes.
Psychosis has a variety of effects on humans. You may just have it once, have brief episodes throughout your life, or live with it for the most of your life.
She lost her capacity to communicate vocally and had to rely on her husband’s phone or pen and paper to communicate with him.
‘I was certain that the thicker flags surrounding the bottom of the field were signals being given to me to perform tasks,’ Sarah claimed while watching football on TV with her husband.
The bride started to have hallucinations, feeling she was in a coma. (Image courtesy of PA Real Life)
‘At one point, I was certain I had breast cancer, and at another, I was convinced I had a brain tumor.’ I even mistook myself for a pregnant woman.
‘I remember putting on his phone when I believed I was pregnant, “Make sure you save me, not the baby.”
‘I was writing reams and reams of documents.’ It felt as though I was attempting to scribble everything that came to me onto bits of paper.
‘If you notice a cloud in the sky that resembles a face, you can remark to the person in the automobile next to you, “Look at that cloud, it like a face.”
‘However, a person suffering from psychosis might feel it is a face following them and threatening to hurt them unless they do anything to stop it.’
Sarah’s mental health improved dramatically once she adopted a puppy (Picture: PA Real Life)
Sarah’s husband and mother were shocked, but luckily made the correct decision in referring her to a psychiatrist.
She was given medicine to help with some of the more severe delusions, and she was diagnosed with a psychotic episode.
Additional Information: Health
However, Sarah’s recovery needed months of treatment and medicine, as well as six months off work.
Sarah started studying as a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) coach in 2021, inspired by her personal experience to assist others. NLP coaching focuses on how our behavioural habits impact our mental health.
‘I now realize I was suffering from worry, stress, and poor self-esteem and didn’t know how to express it,’ she added.
But it took her months to completely heal. (Image courtesy of PA Real Life)
She still works at the bank, but in a more senior capacity, and also conducts speeches and seminars to assist people safeguard their mental health, as well as raise awareness of the warning signals of impending collapse.
‘There are a variety of factors that might induce psychosis, such as delivering a kid or doing drugs, but it was simply stress and lack of sleep for me,’ Sarah revealed.
‘My message is that it can happen to anybody, but it can also be avoided by just checking in on yourself and maintaining a decent routine,’ she says.
‘However, I also think that no matter what you face, you can develop from it.’
Questions to ponder about your mental health include:
Sarah suggests that you ask yourself these questions on a regular basis to keep track of your mental health:
- Sleep: Do you get as much rest as you used to?
- Diet – Are you under-eating or bingeing? When you’re losing control of other elements of your life, one of the first things you attempt to regulate is your diet.
- Shutting out the good – Have you given up on the activities you enjoy? Or are you avoiding folks with whom you would typically converse? These are major indicators that something is wrong and that you are attempting to suppress your emotions.
- Obsessing over stressful situations – What do you think about before you go to sleep and when you wake up? Are such thoughts good for you? Do you open your eyes and immediately check your emails or social media?
- Are you keeping yourself active? Moving about during the day might help to cleanse your mind and put things into perspective.
- How can you strike a work-life balance? Are you taking care of yourself outside of work?
Do you have a story to tell?
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“Psychosomatic complaints” is a term that refers to symptoms of mental health issues. The “psychotic breakdown” is the result of stress and anxiety. Reference: psychosomatic complaints.
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