Are celebrities more prone to breakdowns than the general public? It would seem so. As we look over the plethora of stars that have been unable to cope with the intense glare of the spotlight, it reads like a list of who's who in Hollywood. Breakdowns can affect anyone from Dave Chapelle, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and even Owen Wilson who tried to commit suicide following a breakup in 2007.
So what causes a breakdown and contributes to failing mental health? What can YOU do to prevent mental and emotional breakdowns in your own life.
1. Recognize your boundaries and defend them like a lion. We all want to please others to a certain extent but there is a line between being productive and creative and tapping yourself out. Most of us are able to recognize when we are coming up a breaking point because we have predictable schedules but for entertainers that are always "on" and whose livelihood is based on their exposure that line is hard to recognize. Practice recognizing and respecting your boundaries.
2. Invest in yourself first- We all need to restore our batteries and they are as many ways of doing this as there are human beings on the planet. Some people may restore themselves through exercise, prayer, meditation or something as small as a chat with friends. In counseling we call these investments - coping skills and we recognize that they are our first line of defense in a crisis.
3. Have a crisis plan and use it as needed. What does a crisis look like for you and how should you respond accordingly? If we wait until we are in a crisis we will not be able to act appropriately so it is important to have that talk with your network about what steps they should take in the event of a crisis. Do you need your pastor, manager, mother, doctor, therapist? Who should the people in your life reach out for and what do you want that person to do to make you whole?
4. Develop your human capital. Practice turning to your people and test run who you can trust in moments of need. Explore your patterns; To whom can you turn for the truth and quiet reflection? Who is going to encourage you to develop insight and protect you when you are vulnerable? As human beings, we depend on others to sustain us and help us in times of need. Without others we become emotionally bankrupt and we are only as good as the people that we surround ourselves with.
5. Finally, get a little perspective and make sure that you are sleeping and eating well. Healthy self-care is the foundation to a healthy life and works synergistically for a stronger and better you. There are always options in our culture and we need to take a customized approach to what healthy self-care looks like. Make a self-care plan and if possible do a wellness wheel to identify areas of need.