When physically effected by something, it is easy to spot the signs. For instance, when you over exert at the gym, the muscle tension is the one indication screaming that your body cannot take it anymore. If you continue to go beyond your limits, your body is likely to react negatively. The reaction impedes your functionality. This is known as a breaking point.
Understanding a Psychological Breaking Point
Analogically, a human break down is similar to a demolishing building. Hit repeatedly, it endures some blows but continually grows weaker and then finally crumbles down. In the exact same manner, emotional injury is borne until the plateau is reached. Upon reaching the stagnant point, the entire body, the psyche, and the system react, resulting in a psychological melt down.
Several individuals do not comprehend well their mental strength. It is difficult to do so. It is complex, but if you don’t understand yourself well, how will you snap yourself out of the emotional slump? Here is an overview of the outer manifestations of reaching ones breaking point.
Note: With the many individual differences, the pattern, signs and symptoms vary. However, the following is a pool of information with great depth where you can reach out, as far as you want, to uncover useful information.
Sign1: The Defense Mechanisms
Sigmund Freud crafted many defense mechanisms to categorize coping strategies. There are three parts of the psyche namely the id, ego and super ego. Id propels the impulsivity, super ego takes into account the society and is the ethical one, and ego tries to strike a balance between the id and the super ego. Ego makes use of the ego defense mechanisms that helps cope with the stress that results from the constant conflict between the superego and id.
Let’s look at an example that involves stress, a breaking point, and the ego defense mechanism of regression. ‘Regression’ occurs when you literally relapse back to a technique of stress dealing that you adopted as a child. One of the most popular regressions occurs with an oral fixation. Under oral fixation, oral stimulation is said to have a soothing effect.
At an early stage in life, thumb sucking is seen as a means of calming the internal turmoil. At a later stage in life, when under stress, you are likely to return to the same habit or a slight variation of it.
For instance, the stress of workload for college students leads many to reach a point where anything that they study does not make sense. At this point of emotional vulnerability, they begin cigarette smoking and feel a renewed energy. Hence, they regress back to a habit (oral fixation that was previously satiated with thumb sucking and now with smoking) that recaptures their calm.
When you find yourself regressing or adopting any other defense mechanism, pull yourself out of the situation. How to figure out the time when you are unconsciously reacting to an event? See if you are being under control and if there is an uncomfortable force stirring inside you. Move away from the source and take your time. If there is an argument that is bothering you, or your studies or anything else, distance yourself from the source and your psyche will have the time to sort the deal out in a mature fashion.
Sign 2: Losing Control
In the movie Zero Dark Thirty, when a character Ammar is brutally interrogated, he reaches a point where he starts to murmur randomly. Sleep deprivation, lack of food and nutrition, and water boarding cause him to lose control and reach a breaking point. He has no control over his thought process or the speech and several a times, we undergo a similar phase. There is so much coming in from every direction that we tend to lose control and start to malfunction.
Have you ever found yourself saying ‘I don’t know what is wrong with me?’ Previously you were good at something and then you lost control to find yourself completely helpless. It is believed that when there is repeated assault on the identity, you lose your sense of self and hence reach a dangerous melting point.
The Jonestown Massacre in 1978 is another example of how one man made about a thousand people reach their breaking points. Jim Jones started off by taking away tiny bits of belongings from the people of Jonestown. Soon, he held tight the reins of every ones lives and upon his command they collectively committed suicide. Similarly, when you let stress be the Jim Jones of your life, it can drive you towards unhealthy escapism.
One of the best ways to save yourself from losing control is to talk it out with others. Find a person, be it a parent or a friend or anyone else and learn to open up. We all are social animals but we also have a need to put up a façade of being content. So, before you come down crashing under that façade, save yourself and open up with a trustworthy source.
Sign 3: The Anxious Reaction
One of the most common responses to stress is the ordeal of anxiety. Anxiety has many forms. For some individuals it takes the form of palpitation and for others an uncontrollable twitch or body shiver. It is your body’s way of showing that you have reached a burn out point.
To deal with anxiety adopt this small technique. Take a piece of paper and grab a pencil. Start to shade it. You do not require an artistic streak to be able to sketch random lines. Continue to shade and you will feel that your internal discomfort decreases as you proceed because you jot down on paper the feeling that grows on the inside.
Anxiety is one of the most common psychological signs of stress. Another effective way of dealing with it is to be mindful. Be in the moment and pay full attention to the physiological discomfort that you undergo. For instance, if anxiety causes palpitation, focus on your heart beat. Tell yourself you will be fine and try to calm yourself down. You will notice that soon, you will relax and your anxiety will go away.