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Physically ill after emotional breakdown (+ a vent)


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This post is a bit of a vent/self revelation. But also a question, does anyone else feel physically ill after having an emotional breakdown or panic attack?


Over the last year (+ a little more) I've been coming to terms with my childhood. It's involved therapy, put strain on my relationship and overall made life very stressful at times.


There are moments where I make a connection/realisation of "this situation happened again and again as a child, no wonder I react this way as an adult!". These moments are great in a way because it feels like progress and gives me strength.


My boyfriend needs a holiday....well we both do. But he's been working very hard, is facing financial stress and also has to deal with my moodiness. He keeps on mentioning going away for a few days to visit a friend in another state. If I'm in a good mood, I tell him he really should go, he deserves a break.


But if I'm not feeling emotionally sound, I take his need to "get away" very personally and see it as him wanting to get away from me. Which then makes me feel guilty for making him feel so worn down by me. I've asked him if he wants a break from me, longer than a few days. He's said of course not, he just wants some time away from his every day life and to see his old friend.


This topic came up again the other night and I just lost it. He stood up for himself and said he can't believe that he can't go to stay with his friend for a few days without me getting upset about it. I sat there and thought about it and apologised for being so selfish, I then lost it. I didn't lose it at him, I just cried and cried because I realised why I was taking this so personally.


As a young child, my mum would sometimes pretend to leave forever (Note: I didn't have a father around). Sometimes she would just say "that's it, I'm gone, you can look after yourself" and would walk out the door and be gone for half an hour. Other times she would add drama by packing a bag and leaving, only to return an hour later. The worst times were when she would actually threaten to kill herself. "Fine, I'm leaving, I've had enough of you. I'm getting in the car and hopefully you will hear sirens and will know that I've crashed in to a pole and died". I would just walk around in circles in my house or curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out while she was gone.


This threat as a child made me even more emotionally attached to my mum, for fear that she would leave or even worse, die. As a kid, your parent leaving you or dying pretty much means your chances of survival are gone. You NEED them.


So my boyfriend mentioning every now and then that he wants to go away for a short while (even though he never used it as a threat) brought on the abandonment feeling. So like I said, after I apologised to him and was crying like crazy, I told him of this connection I made in my head and he held me tight while I cried. He cried too, because he hates the thought of me as a child having to deal with that kind of thing. My body tensed up and I couldn't breathe and kept crying until I nearly vomited. I literally had to stop crying because I could feel my throat gagging, but I managed to stop and calm down after some time.


We didn't sleep well that night, so the following day I felt very tired, nauseous and had a terrible head ache. I felt much better emotionally, I actually WANT him to go on this holiday because he deserves it. But physically I felt shocking.


I didn't sleep well last night either, but did get some sleep. Today I STILL feel nauseous, tired and my headache is even worse. But again, emotionally I feel much better.


So has anyone else had physical reaction after an emotional breakdown? I mean, I know I feel sick when I'm nervous about something. But this feels like some kind of horrible hangover from the stress of repressed memories, like my body has gone in to shock.

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Oh gosh, this really makes me think of things from my past, notably when I was in my early 20s. It was not uncommon for me to have a breakdown like that. When I was with this one guy, he got pissed off and took a walk for awhile to cool off. Suddenly I was overcome with the idea that he might not come back, and I ran outside in the snow without shoes looking for him, crying. I just wasn't thinking at all. I felt like I was 5 years old looking for a parent. Eventually the cold got to me and knocked some sense in me and I went home. When he came back I barely let him in the door before I jumped on him, sobbing. It was a real eye-opener for me. It helped me make a lot of connections. I don't want to talk about them here, but I do understand. Even reading this serves as a trigger for me. Although I haven't ran after anyone shoeless in some years(lol), the feelings do crop up but I have a much different grasp on it and am able to set pause on that overwhelming sense of raw emotion, so I can rely on my sense of reality and logic.


But I do remember feeling sick after that. Nauseated, vomiting, and like every last piece of energy and life had been sucked out of me. An intense emotional reaction involves your entire being. Old wounds like that, childhood stuff, when it hits you unpredictably it really hits hard. It's, like...primal. Tough stuff. Hard to engage your adult self along with it.

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Hey Cheetarah, I can't get over how similar we seem. You poor thing walking through the snow in bare feet, then actually vomiting later


But you really hit the nail on the head, I literally feel like a lost 5 year old in those moments too. It's funny, occasionally my boyfriend will have had enough for that moment and just needs to go for a walk to clear his head. I feel so upset and overwhelmed when he does this. But have gotten better at giving him that freedom, he deserves it. Everyone does.


It seems like you don't want to go in to much detail here, but I don't mind if you feel like it. Or if you want to PM me I am more than happy to hear your story if it helps you.


Thank you for your reply sounds like you have a much better grip on things, it's reassuring to know that you sometimes do have those raw feelings but are able to control them. I find I'm much better equipped at dealing with them too, but there are times like the other night that I just have to let it all out.

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Oh no, I'm ok. If you want to chat though, you're always free to PM me.


Yes, it wasn't one of my proud moments. I always remind myself that adults cannot be 'abandoned' - When I say that, I mean that if someone leaves my life, I'll be ok. I am not going to starve, I am not going to live on the streets, and even if I did, I'm grown and I can easily search for resources. That's not exactly what I'm thinking at the time it happens, I'm just overwhelmed with the fear. But putting it into perspective really helps. Asking myself what the worst thing is that could happen, if this person decided not to return to my life. Yes, I would be sad, I would grieve, I might get depressed. But I don't need them to survive.

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