April 13, 2021 by Julia Rose
I've got some questions for you:
Well, this episode is the bite-sized version of my experience climbing out of psychological collapse.
I popped in to social media recently to give an update on where I've been and why I've been there. It wasn't easy to do this episode - in fact, I've wanted to do it for a few months, but felt too much shame and guilt about it to do so.
Recently, however, I've sloughed off a lot of that shame and guilt, and have felt centered enough to share honestly a tiny bit about what's going on. (Hence, this episode.)
Well, JR, hold on... what's psychological collapse? you might ask.
When a human is in a state of "collapse," it means that their internal state is experiencing so much stress and overwhelm that their typical state of functioning essentially breaks down, significantly reducing their ability to "show up" and engage in their world.
Here's an example of this:
Let's say Chrissy typically was a high-functioning individual and was actively engaged in her social and professional worlds. Yet when her father died around her 44th birthday, it kicked up so much of the unresolved and painful issues within their relationship that had - until that point - been sitting dormant inside of her.
In this state, Chrissy starts finding it increasingly difficult to spearhead programs or committees at school, because she is already holding so much in her personal life. She also finds herself wanting to withdraw from her friends and family, not because anything about them or her connection to them, but she is just so globally sensitive these days that she can barely tolerate more than 15 minutes of direct engagement.
Chrissy's symptoms are directly connected to early trauma and current stress, and render her in a state of psychological "collapse."
What we are called to do in this state is effectively focus on the most basic elements of nourishment and functioning. How much sleep are you needing and are you getting that? Can you cut out the things that are activating feelings of pressure and overwhelm? Who can help you feel nourished and taken care of? These are the questions we have to ask in states of collapse.
In this process of recovering, we often find that we've had an experience akin to "the straw that broke the camel's back." That, although we might've been high-functioning before, we were actually carrying around a hefty load of straw on our backs. A load that finally took on that one final stressor that was just too much for us to carry.
It's a deeply humbling experience to break down in this way. It's a reminder that we are not human-doings, we are human-beings. We're not robots that can just be productive all the time; we are humans who require real rest, restoration and nourishment to function.
I hope this episode is useful in some way to you or someone you know. And that it gives you some permission to slow down and take care of yourself.
Warm Wishes, Julia Rose
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