“The surprising benefits of a nervous breakdown”


(Watercolor somewhere in Italy.  By the author.)

Yes, I’m having one.  New experience?  Don’t really know because I handled stress pretty well before. But not now!

I can site factors that certainly would be ground zero for this ‘state’.  My brother’s stroke and coma exactly a year ago, the death of our 15 year old dog, Merlin on our wedding anniversary in December, the tragic death of Grayson, our four year old cat, my ‘shadow’ at an emergency clinic, and the damn  vet never showed up.  Her agony for 3.5 hours certainly was enough to send me over the edge. The ‘living’ in crime soaked Atlanta, where there are multiple shootings reported by the news every morning.  It’s like the corpses are piling up and nothing can be done.  Mostly by gang associates and this overwhelming gun culture here.  Even the police don’t know what to do, as there are 71,000 gang members in spread out all over Georgia.  Leadership? Bah.

Sorry, I didn’t make this situation and I have no answers for ending it.  I just know I go to another town to pump my gas where the attendant watches out for me.  The ‘sliders’ issue.  There are a lot of us women who are riding around on fumes.  LOL!

Exactly a week ago, I found a young Cooper’s Hawk under my birdbath, wings spread, still alive and I stressed it further by trying to net it to take to a proper vet.  It died after we left and it was hell to pay for two days to find out whether it recovered.   I love birds of prey and have painted them for years. This was a further nail in my coffin.


Probably publishing two novels in eight months was not the greatest of ideas.  It was exhausting, and though some have read these books, I haven’t had the strength to do any marketing.

I was taking Prozac for a year (requested when my brother went down)  and stupidly cold turkeyed about 6 weeks ago.  Thought:  “I’m fine, nothing to it.”

Boy, was I wrong.

Hello, depression, anxiety, open mouth syndrome, (eating) and other bad things.  And a general feeling of uneasiness, and no sleep for days.  Don’t want any prescribed drugs to “help” with this condition.

I will work myself out of it. But I see I need isolation, quiet, reading, and applying kindness to my chickens, dogs and cats.  I need the outside world to leave me alone. I need to leave the outside world alone.  I need not to be on any social media because it is agitating and pointless.  Besides, no one is listening.  They have to reinvent the wheel and that  is probably a fundamental of human nature for all of us.  And politics???? Bah.  We get what we deserve.

But there is hope!  Some loving neighbors, some poets, writers, who are supportive and have gone through the same things.  And surprise!  A sister in law.  That was unexpected, but she has been a shoulder to lean on and with loving advice. Thank you, Ellen.

She also asked to clarify the benefits:  I think self-isolation is very important.  You don’t want to walk around in public weepy.   People will look at you strangely.  You center your recovery around self-indulgence.  You can stare at your (expanding )  stomach, you can forgo any opinion, and you can hum to yourself.  LOL.  And sometimes your husband feels such sympathy, he does the dishes, takes out the garbage and makes dinner.  Benefits indeed.

When you can rely on the strength of your talents, that is a plus.  I am writing a sequel to “The Kimono”, published on Amazon last October, called “Tsuki” and it helps.  Somewhat.  Really, too early to say. Might be another irritant.

Painting is my ‘go to place’ and will be central in my recovery of my senses.  I am just starting sumi-e painting and it is totally strange  to me. A world unknown. My dear husband is presently building a very low table for this endeavor.  A totally new technique.

I know I will recover, but this is a painful summer to get through.  Cooler weather and no mosquitoes will help.

My sympathies to anyone who is going through a nervous breakdown.  Everything right now is an irritant.

Especially the Mosquitoes.

Below is a lovely example of sumi-e painting.  I aspire to develop to such a level.  I should live so long, but perhaps this IS a reason to live.

Sesshu painting.png


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2019


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to ““The surprising benefits of a nervous breakdown””

  1. petrujviljoen Says:

    A lot on one’s plate for sure. I also went cold turkey on Prozac but it wasn’t as bad as your experience. In fact, felt no different on it, than what I felt like before I started the course, or when I dumped it. Just made me stupid and sleepy.

    I also need the isolation. Love being able to hide behind a computer screen. Stick the stuff on it and walk away.

    Still sore about the hawk too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Petru. Prozac…it’s either a big scam, or something…..I never felt any different, except it seemed to calm the ‘tapes’ for a while…then? nothing Sleepy, yes.

    These things are not in our heads…they come from concrete conditions (the constant violence of our city) and what happens to us. Yes, the hawk, exactly one week today, still pulls at my mind. This morning on tv…wake up to 4 women students who were shot…mostly in the legs, one in the chest last night at a block party to celebrate the beginning of the school year. College students. Horrible in every case, and having to be alert constantly for this gun violence takes its toll. Isolation is what is the healer, not more and stranger/stronger drugs.

    The sweetness of silence, painting and mostly isolation from what is outside….is a clear and practical answer. Thank you, Petru. May the Blessings of the Universe fall on your head! LOL>


  3. petrujviljoen Says:

    May the Goddess direct the Universe Jane!! Be well, always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ladynyo Says:

    And to you, Petru! Always!!!


  5. Kanti Burns Says:

    Thinking of you, Jane.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Kanti, thank you! That is so kind of you. Today I’m doing better because I’m getting sleep. Hooray! That makes all the difference. I think these things are not so much a failure of our brains, but spring from concrete conditions out there. Our environment, our relationships with people. And people come in so many fashions and varieties that it is hard to comprehend others some times. It’s been a difficult ride for the last year, but things seem to be straightening out. My once comatose brother is now talking, and that is a fine blessing. And that he is talking to me means so much. I can’t replace the deceased pets, but I can treasure and love the ones who are still here. We have 10 cats and three dogs. LOL. And I can try to stay away from the violence of Atlanta. It’s just so damn random. You never know where the bullets will land. Serious stuff in this town. Even children are hit and killed. These gangs and ignorant people…..


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: