Ways I Deal with Breakdowns

Personally, I have a bit of a routine when it comes to breakdowns. By “a bit” I mean it’s erratic: it changes; it’s sometimes more healthy than other times but there are a few things I seem to do pretty much every time. After feeling absolutely atrocious because of emotions a few days ago and comparing it to a huge breakdown I had in Barcelona, I realised that there were certain ways I dealt with it: I looked back on past “breakdowns” and decided to compile a list of ways I cope. This isn’t a “5 ways to deal” because it’s different for everyone but this is just how, sometimes, I deal with my emotions going haywire. I hope this can help anyone who needs it, like I needed it.

I class breakdowns as any time where I lose complete control of my emotions. I won’t go into what causes them – that’s for another post – but in a way, dealing with them has informed me what causes them. As my mental health has got worse, I’ve had to internalise a lot of things I used to be able to express more and so I hope that writing about this will encourage me to speak up.


This might seem like an obvious one but there have been times where I’ve felt so terrible but not let myself cry about it. Perhaps it’s cliché to say this but tears can really be a release for pent up emotion. When I let myself cry, although it panics me, it gives me a way to get something out. That’s far better than shoving it all back so that it appears later, worse. I don’t force the tears if I know they won’t fall but I try my best to let them out when I know I need to. If no people are there, I don’t quite know how to deal with them which often forces me to try and ignore them but if people bring my tears out by talking to me, or something happens which means I can’t not cry, I feel a little calmer afterwards. When I cry a lot, it does make me exhausted but it doesn’t end with me feeling angry and like I’m running to nowhere.

Grounding Myself

Part of a breakdown for me is feeling really disconnected with everything. Because of that, when I feel like I’m about to start sobbing or I’m in the midst of it, I often touch objects around me, put my hands behind my back or talk to myself about what’s happening. That last one makes me deal with it and, weirdly, makes it a bit more bearable because I’m proving to myself I’m still here, still able to express myself and still myself. If I’m around someone, I’ll either hold their hands usually or be close to them: when I was in Barcelona, my friend told me to punch a pillow really hard and also held me; the next day, I stood by the wall and pushed against it with my hands to remember where I was because I was alone and couldn’t deal with going to find anyone. In these situations, I do everything I can to remind myself that what I feel is real.

Lying/sitting on the floor

Okay, I know that might seem weird, but I’ve noticed I do this a lot especially when I don’t know how to deal with anything or when my emotions get really bad. Sometimes I can’t really help it if I walk into a room and don’t have the energy to sit on a chair but a lot of the time, it’s purposeful. Previously, I hated myself for it because I thought I was attention-seeking: in Barcelona again, things were getting too much and I went on the floor, someone said “It looked like you did that on purpose,” and I didn’t know how to tell them they were correct without looking attention-seeking. However, I’ve come to realise there’s a bit of a reason: excuse the pun but it’s another thing that grounds me. Shortly before the person had said that, I’d gone to the room I was staying in, sat on my bed and slid onto the floor to try and make myself as small as possible. I did that recently as well and just sat there, with nothing else around me to distract me and just breathed. Depending on the situation, I sit/lie on the floor for different reasons but it always seems to help in some way, without making me feel pathetic.

Talking to someone about it

A huge thing for me is that I need to talk about things or they get locked inside my head. My friend Rapunzel saw the worst breakdown I’ve ever had in front of someone and encouraged me to spend a while just breathing and then to talk about it – and, although I was so upset that I couldn’t form many words, I gave it my best try. Not only does it act as a release but it also gives me closure. Whenever I do talk about it, the next day, I don’t feel so panicked about whatever I broke down about and I can start to deal with it. Dealing with it by myself makes me feel sick because often, there are too many thoughts in my head. Talking to a friend or anyone about those thoughts makes me feel guilty for shoving all my problems onto them but if they’re willing to listen to my ramblings, I’d talk until I couldn’t any more.


Last night, I felt as if I was about to start shaking and that I wouldn’t be able to stop. After calming down and reading for a little, I decided to just relax and not to stress out. I had a shower, put a face mask on, moisturised and started writing. As it always seems to do, it made me feel as if I had a little bit of control over myself and made me as happy as I could be at that moment. At some point, I’ll deal with what was making me unhappy – namely, shitty, unresolved feelings and fear that everybody hates me – but this was a good starting point.

I really hope this helped, even if in a little way. I’m not the best at coping but I’m getting there. Every single emotion I have is a learning experience and with them, I learn more about myself. I’m not perfect but I’m not hopeless, either.

How do you deal with breaking down? Are there any things you’d like to do to help yourself that you don’t do currently?

From Elm 🙂

34 thoughts on “Ways I Deal with Breakdowns

  1. These are all really good ways to cope with it. I think crying is definitely a good way to release things, but I’ve found that I’ve pushed stuff so far down sometimes that whenever I do cry it always does lead to me having a bit of a breakdown. For some reason I just can’t cry in front of people – or at least not properly – so I find that it always happens when I’m alone, normally in bed at night, and I finally have no distractions to stop myself from thinking. It’s kind of a grabbing my head, crying my eyes out, feeling like I’m going completely crazy moment and the next day I normally feel absolutely dead but then I guess that’s just how it is. It’s kind of a weird thing because it’s different for everyone and sometimes it’s hard to really define it or know what to do, but I guess acknowledging that it happens and knowing that so many other people deal with it too helps in a way. I normally just let it run its course so I can get rid of all the emotions and then sleep it out, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s the best thing to do? who knows really, but I like that you brought up this topic and I think it’ll be really helpful for a lot of people 🙂

    • I hope so. Thanks for opening up 🙂 I only feel really dead when I haven’t had any way to release the emotion, so if I cried loads and loads and don’t get anywhere with anything and I feel awful and wretched the next day. Yeah, it’s so true that everyone deals with things differently and to talk about those differences, I feel, can really help you to cope with things because you’re hearing how another person deals with their breakdowns.

  2. I’ve found a lot of comfort in grounding myself when I have an anxiety attack, and I’m glad to hear that it works for you as well. It’s also wonderful that you have a good support ring! These are all great pieces of advice, and something that needs to be talked about rather than shoved in a dark corner, so I’m really glad to see this post. 🙂

    • I’m so glad that you found it helpful – thank you! Surrounding yourself with people can be really helpful and I’m glad you have good strategies to let yourself deal with it. And yes! It’s so important to talk about these things because if you talk about it and that works for you, you can help yourself a little more.

  3. When having a breakdown, I delete all of my social media apps and just use text to talk to people who support me. Then, I get my laptop and watch Grace and Frankie until I fall asleep or when I’m tired enough that I can’t continue my breakdown

  4. Hi,
    Hope you’re doing ok 🙂
    One of the best teachers I ever had used to say that it was good to cry if you felt that you needed to, as it just helps to release your emotions. x

  5. I do a lot of the things you talked about aswell when I’m breaking down. I think that crying is one of the best ways to let everything you’re feeling out, although I’ve felt like I’ve needed to cry recently I just haven’t and I don’t quite know why because I know it would help. I think I’ve just distracted myself with other things and tried to push the things that are worrying me to the back of my mind. I’ve never been good at explaining to people how I’m feeling but I’ve improved on that the last few months, well with my family and tried to talk to them about my worries but I still don’t tell them everything and sometimes act like I’m fine when I’m not because all the things that I pushed to the back of my mind before just come back when I’m alone. I know I definitely need to work on this and knowing that I’m not alone really helps. Thank you for writing this Elm, your posts are always so helpful. Stay strong lovely, I hope you’re ok xx

    • I think it’s part of personal growth and how you feel about yourself and I’m so glad that you’re working on that. I do exactly the same when I shove something so far to the back of my mind that I don’t know how to register it’s even there. Or, I lie to myself and then can’t cope when I realise I’m not okay.

      I’m so glad you found this helpful. If you ever need to talk at any point, I’m here; I know how difficult it can be xx

  6. This was really helpful. Something I do, mostly to sort of prevent a breakdown, is if I feel really angry or upset, I’ll go for a run. And I’ll kind of just run until I’m so exhausted that I have no energy left. And then after I feel calm and kind of a sleepy happy.

  7. That’s a really good way to deal with breakdowns. I call mine ‘crisis’ rather than breakdown but I feel that when I am in that state of emotional wreck, I’m in a very dark place, it’s literally a crisis because it goes two ways, if I let it escalate I damage myself further if I can manage to calm down I try to live and learn. I’ve still yet to learn how I can cope with very strong emotions.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience with 🙂 I feel like dealing with strong emotions is incredibly difficult and you can’t just have one solution to deal with everything for one. There are multiple ways to help yourself and he won’t know every single one at the same time. Keep on going and if you need any help I’m here X

  8. I just cry lol 😛 It’s the best way of dealing with pain to me, some time ago, I wasn’t really able to cry, literally, but with time it passed, now I cry about the stupidest things, not in a bad way 🙂
    I think all of those ways you deal with breakdowns are great as long as they work for you, you’re very strong, keep going, always!!!!! 🙂

  9. I really loved what you wrote.. I was inspired and through what you wrote I found out about myself and how I deal with mine.. I cry😃.. All these while I always thought of it as being childish and all but now I know it’s not instead it’s a way of letting things out.. All thanks to you.. Thanks so much Elm for your post.. Loved it😍😘…. I’m very happy😊☺ I came across this cause right now I am passing through so many breakdowns and I’ve been holding back my tears not knowing whether to pour them out so as not to show I’m weak or something.. But now I know I can… Thanks a lot.. You’re an inspiring writer🙌

    • Hey Ella, thank you so much For your comment 🙂 please remember the crying is never a sign of weakness, it’s more that you’re just letting things out! I’m always here if you ever want to talk; you shouldn’t have to go through breakdowns alone and it’s completely okay to just cry and not understand why you’re crying! Stay strong as you can but it’s okay if you can’t right now XX

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