The reader will be aware by now, if you are suffering from second stage stress breakdown symptoms, that you got this way by using your will-power to ignore the anxiety signals of nervous system overload.
However, if you are experiencing stage one symptoms only, and if you followed all my suggestions so far, you should not develop stage two symptoms. But if you do, you will not be afraid of them, because you know that the second stage symptoms of losing control of your emotions and being unable to ‘psych’ yourself or motivate yourself into doing something you don’t want to do, are just a sign that you must now rest, get help to relieve the stress, and that you must now get some more sleep.
Second stage symptoms are your marching orders, your instructions that this is the end of your ability to stay in the stressful situation without behaving abnormally.
In stage three breakdown you will not be aware, usually, that your abnormal behaviour is due to stress and you will not be able to do anything meaningful to help yourself. When you develop stage three stress symptoms, you will need a ‘rescuer’ to take over and help you.
Therefore, you should regard the symptoms of stage two breakdown, the loss of emotional control and the inability to motivate yourself as easily as before, as a potentially serious threshold not to step over.
If, however, you either choose or are forced to ignore these symptoms and try to continue on under the stress as before, then you will experience serious stress breakdown. If you are to be helped out of your stage three breakdown, the person helping you will have to take into consideration those factors which caused you to ignore the stage two stress breakdown symptoms. You may, in fact, be too strong to stop yourself from breaking down further. You may not be weak enough to prevent breaking down. I know these statements seem paradoxical, but they indicate a basic truth about stress breakdown – strong people are more likely to break down than weaker people.


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