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Question
Posted by: Strath | 2010/01/26

breakdown?

What does someone mean if they say that they had " a nervous breakdown" ?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I have no idea. This is an entirely lay term with no medical / psychiatric meaning whatever. So ordinary people use it to mean whatever they think it means, and these meaning differ very widely indeed. They may be referring to an episode of a recogniozed, diagnosed, serious psych illness, or to a time when they were just very upset about something. So you'd have to ask anyone who used the words, what they were meaning or describing

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Sam | 2010/01/27

Well, I had an “ episode”  when I was 17. My parents got divorced (my mother left my alcoholic stepfather for another man). First my mom moved to another province, taking only my 4 year old sister, and leaving my brother and I with our violent angry stepfather, and then I was kicked out the house by my stepfather for looking like my mother, and then in a very ugly custody battle, my sister was taken from my mom, and placed into my care, till the welfare could decide who gets her, all while I was just 17, still trying to go to school everyday. I went from someone who’ s only worries were passing Math, to being a full time student and full time mother, who just lost her own parents, over night. I had to learn to cook, do washing, wash my sister, arrange day care for her and somehow suck the money for day care and school fees out of thin air. I was in such an emotional state, that I couldn’ t function normally –  I didn’ t eat, drink, sleep, or do anything normal. All I did was cry. I didn’ t talk to anyone, and broke off ties with all my friend and family. That was my “ nervous breakdown” ! To this day, if I listen to any songs that were a hit in that year, I become physically sick!

Reply to Sam
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/01/27

I have no idea. This is an entirely lay term with no medical / psychiatric meaning whatever. So ordinary people use it to mean whatever they think it means, and these meaning differ very widely indeed. They may be referring to an episode of a recogniozed, diagnosed, serious psych illness, or to a time when they were just very upset about something. So you'd have to ask anyone who used the words, what they were meaning or describing

Reply to cybershrink

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