I had a breakdown in my late 20’s that I (regretfully) covered up.
In hindsight it’s hard to see how I or anyone around me missed the signs. I had always been a perfectionist, tried to control everything and the thought of failure? Too
scary to contemplate. However, it was gradual, the slow replacement of socialising with longer work hours, not taking holidays, or breaks, or sleep. The constant obsessing and overcommitting. I had optimised my life around work to keep doing more; then once I couldn’t squeeze any more out of myself, I broke.
I had a breakdown in my late 20’s that I (regretfully) covered up, this is the first time I’m talking about it and it’s in the hope that I can help others avoid what I went through. I was probably at the height of my creative/technical output. I was flying and helping the team on a massive awards winning streak, but that came with too much expectation and pressure… One autumn lunchtime I inexplicably found myself in Hyde Park sitting on a bench in front of the pond. My ears were ringing, and I was crying uncontrollably while contemplating suicide. Thankfully I didn’t and let’s face it I’m not sure how effective the pond was going to be.
I went through six very hollow and dark months before seeking help. I’m pretty sure my work colleagues never knew but maybe they suspected. It took me almost 18 months to get my drive for life back again. I don’t know if I’m completely back to how I was before it happened, but that’s ok. I’ve changed a lot about my life that wasn’t good for me and learnt a lot about myself. In the moments when I sense those old feelings I know how to back off; I take holidays my wife takes me on holidays, I use cycling to restore balance and I get plenty of sleep.