What constitutes a "nervous breakdown"?

A rather unscientific term, I know. However, things with me have been kind of downhill lately, (no sympathy needed from the masses, please) and I threatened to have one the other day. I’d really like to know what I might be getting myself into.
Ideally, this would involve a nice long hospitalization and some quality bed rest time.
Any attempts at definition or examples are appreciated.

This is a non-scientific point of view. I think it really refers to when you cannot function any more. You have “reached the end of your rope”. You end up in a fetal position on the floor not caring if dinner is done or the bills are paid. I suppose a better explanation is just that you have been given more than you can take. You just shut down emotionally and mentally and physically. You fold. I hope this is not the direction you are headed in Miss Davis, we all need to take care of ourselves and give ourselves some time out to relax and let the stress roll away. I hope you have someone you can talk to, I am thinking of you. Be good to yourself no matter what.

Ideally, there should be some gibbering - and sticking straw in your hair is always a nice touch.

Adding to what Gabriel suggested:

We had a woman at my old work place who had what I believe was classified as a ‘nervous breakdown’. Her kid had health problems, her marriage was on the rocks, and her work doubled overnight with a company reorganization…then her Dad died. She really was a wreck. Random spurts of crying, no sleep, and it culminated in something akin to epileptic seizures, where she would just sit there like a zombie. I never saw anything like that before and almost wondered if some of it was just dramatics and being faked. Finally, she transferred and I hear she still has these problems when things get too stressful in her life. Her doctor told her she could only work a maximum of 30 hours a week.

I believe the current term for a nervous breakdown is something like “unable to cope”. Basically different people react to this condition differently because everyone has different ways of handling stress.

I wouldn’t say that I ever had a “nervous breakdown”, but I probably came close a couple of times. I would stress out by just clamming up and never saying or doing anything about the “stressors” of these particular events. As a result, I became quite reclusive and got sick a lot.

-Dragwyr
“If God had meant for man to eat waffles,
he would have given him lips like snowshoes”
-Rev. Billy C. Wirtz

This was also discussed relatively recently:
Nervous Breakdown


Marge: Your father is… resting.
Bart: “Resting” hung over? “Resting” got fired? Help me out here.

I was headed for something similar a couple years ago, I think, due to a chemical imbalance. Couldn’t eat, sleep, play around with the computer, nuthin’ but read a llittle and watch TV a little. I forced myself to get up, do the bare minimum housework and cooking, but put the family on alert I was not well. I forced myself to do my part because they depended on me. If I had been living alone, well I guess someone would have broken into my apartment by now, curious as to the cause of that horrible odor…perhaps you should see a doctor for some help or temporary medication to get you through. I toughed it out, I’ve always felt I was very strong way down inside, and it passed. Exercise helps, it really does, exercise not only tires you out physically it releases chemicals in the brain. And meditation and breathing techniques (inhale, think “relax”, hold breath and think “be calm”, exhale and think “feel better”). I was told this sets up a neural pathway in the brain. I’ve heard doctors will prescribe tranquilizers and such, but you don’t want to have to depend on medication forever if you don’t absolutely have to. Good luck!

Incidentally… I think it should be pointed out that a nervous breakdown isn’t a voluntary action. You can threaten all you want, but trust me… all you’re doing is playing hookey. It usually happens under extreme stress when the defense mechanisms your break creates to deal with life break down leaving you with nothing. This sort of creates a breakdown of the senses, inability to control yourself emotionally, physically, verbally. Generally nasty stuff can happen… If all you need is a break and some sleep, take some vacation time. Otherwise, go see a doctor.

Screeme

to missdavis . . i hope you are still here. i think most of us have been to the point at one time or another where we feel “were losing it”. and when i felt very down … thats when i started back up . . said to myself; ah the hell with it . . i want pork chops and mashed potatoes . . and made dinner. i dont have the “big” answers i guess; but when im down . . i try to focus on whats important to me . . what gives me happiness . . then make it to tommorrow. and then its another day . . say to yourself, “what am i gonna do for myself today to make me feel good?” . . bubble bath . . edy’s ice cream . . leons ribs?

to missdavis . . i hope you are still here. i think most of us have been to the point at one time or another where we feel “were losing it”. and when i felt very down … thats when i started back up . . said to myself; ah the hell with it . . i want pork chops and mashed potatoes . . and made dinner. i dont have the “big” answers i guess; but when im down . . i try to focus on whats important to me . . what gives me happiness . . then make it to tommorrow. and then its another day . . say to yourself, “what am i gonna do for myself today to make me feel good?” . . bubble bath . . edy’s ice cream . . leons ribs?