Having a nervous breakdown is a long lost art form pioneered by maligned and/or repressed ladies in corsets from centuries past, and perfected by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Francis Farmer and Jonathan Winters. (Do normal people even have nervous breakdowns, or are they only reserved for movie stars?) Forget the modern “psychotic episode” or “depressive state,” go full nervous breakdown for maximum effect. If you do this right, you won’t even have to visit what they used to call insane asylums, which they now have all kind of euphemisms for including being “in treatment.” (How quaint.) Just do this instead:
1. Take to your bed. Essential to any nervous breakdown is the bed. Have lots of pillows, cushions and blankets to throw yourself against, punch or wrap yourself in like a keening farm animal.
2. Tissues- a full pack. There will be crying and lots of it. Sobbing, wailing and the gnashing of teeth are also acceptable, indeed encouraged. (Hopefully your room is somewhat soundproofed and your neighbors/kids/roommates won’t feel a need to call the authorities.)
3. The Internet. While having a nervous breakdown it is essential to research weird possibilities, such as the cost of living in Texas. Make bizarre plans you will never carry out- I once spent two whole months convinced I was going to leave my kids and move to Portland Oregon because the rents are reasonable and they have good coffee. Right now the favorite fantasy running away place is Austin. (Stay away from suicide forums though; while you’re this impressionable cute animal videos are best.)
4. Ice, red marker and paper. If you’re a self-harmer, these are the tools to ensure you don’t resort to that behavior. Holding ice, throwing it against the wall or in a bathtub, or chewing it is a great tool if you start to feel yourself leaving your body- aka dissociating. If you’re a cutter, or were one, writing on your body with red marker and/or ripping up magazines can quell the urge. You may be having a nervous breakdown but there’s no need to act crazy.
5. Childhood stuffed animal or your own child’s pillowcase. Hug it, squeeze it and shed tears on it. It will magically heal you, I promise.
6. Comfort food- mashed potatoes, chicken soup and ice cream, preferable alternating spoonfuls. Try not to get crumbs or detritus in the bed- the last things you need sharing your therapeutic pity party are rodents, ants or other arthropods.
7. Sex toys. Orgasms cure everything. If you’re a dude you could try a fleshlight, or stick your dick in a bag full of lotion wrapped in a towel like they do in prison. If you’re having a nervous breakdown, ya may as well go full “fifi.”
8. Water. You may be grieving, doesn’t mean you have to be dehydrated.
9. As the fever passes through, you might want some eye cream, body oil or a good moisturizer. Rub on your face, hands and body with all the tenderness and love you’re not getting from anybody else.
10. Keep a tiny corner of your consciousness as the Observer. This Observer looks but does not judge, only intervenes occasionally with a quiet reminder that believe it or not, even this shall one day pass; to keep your heart open and your soul awake to the winds of who you will soon become. For you are the seed and sometimes you need to crack (painfully) open to let in the light needed to grow. Keep this Observer voice to remind you that someday soon you shall emerge from your foul resting place, blinking into the sunlight, and be ready for that miraculous, joyous, authentic shitshow called life.