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Mentally Shutting Down: How to break the Cycle

Mentally Shutting Down: How to break the Cycle

Have you ever had a really rough day or a week and you just feel your brain mentally shutting down? Because if so same. Personally, I find it one of the scariest things to go through. Simply because I should be able to communicate my feelings and emotions to help explain what is bothering me. Instead, I just completely shut down and leave myself o be alone with my thoughts. 


Often at times, people tell me I am mentally shutting down because as I kid I wasn’t really taught how to handle or deal with my emotions. By people, I mean professionals like my therapist. Honestly, it makes a ton of sense. I don’t remember being a kid and talking to anyone about what was causing me stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, or really any of my other emotions. To be clear I don’t blame or hold anger for this. But as an adult, I quickly realized this isn’t healthy or good for me or my other relationships. In fact, it affects my entire life in a negative way. 


I distinctly can remember the day I realized me mentally shutting down I knew I needed to figure it out, and make changes. I knew not being able to express my emotions to myself and the other people in my life. Besides talking to a professional I started taking steps on my own. 


However, I know I’m not the only one who has these issues. So many people constantly hold onto feelings, emotions, or actions that bother them. They grew up thinking if they don’t talk about them they will eventually fade. Many of us know that is typically not the case.  The emotions build-up layer, and layer. Eventually, we snap and either completely shut down or have a complete emotional breakdown. 


For me, one of the big things I wanted to do/work on was trying to break these habits. It is a steep uphill battle. However, I don’t care I want to break these habits for me and the people in my life. So I started taking and doing the following steps. 


  • Talk to the people in your life and ask them to hold you accountable. 
      • By this I mean ask them to mention when they feel like you are shutting down. At times we never notice we are slowly shutting down; until we are already deep in the hole. 
        • It’s a great way for you to notice you may be slipping. Simply hearing  “hey something(s) are bothering me what is it?” is a game-changer.
  • Ask yourself what things usually cause you to mentally shut down and ask why. 
      • Is it your anxiety? A Person in your life? Your career? 
      • Finding the source is a huge step in making progress. Once you are able to figure out what is bothering you, you can then go to why. Then you can figure out how to approach it that makes you comfortable. 
  • Write it out or talk it out
      • Not everyone is super comfortable talking to people about their emotions and feelings. 
      • Writing down how you are feeling and why you are feeling this way gives you clarity to not only your day ut things that may have triggered you. 
        • I also find it very helpful to understand my feelings before mentioning them. Like if my dad did something that bothered me; writing it down helps me say exactly how I feel. As well as how to approach it so I know I am expressing myself and saying exactly how I feel. 
  • Don’t let things go 
      • If someone did or said something that bothered you bring it up. Do not hold onto it forever, do not let it go bring it up when you are ready. 
        • Ex: My friends use to always say we are going to get you wasted for your birthday. You’re going to get so drunk etc. But the thing is I hate doing that. I like mimosas, I enjoy a drink or a glass of wine. But I actually get a bit worried when I start to feel that tipsy buzz because I hate not being in control of myself. Finally, bringing it up was such a  weight off my shoulders. 
  • Understand that it’s going to take time 
        • Breaking old habits take time. It’s hard to re-write your brain t better yourself somedays you’re going to crush it and somedays your going to find yourself in your bedroom alone annoyed about the past week.
  • Always go at your pace
      • Some people may rush you to “fix yourself faster” for their benefit. F*ck those people. Go as quickly or slowly as you need. 
      • It may take you a month to tell someone that what they said upset you. That is okay. But maybe the next time it will take only three weeks next time. 


Mentally shutting down to some can be a defense mechanism but to others, it’s the only way they know how to handle emotions. The beauty about it is so many people want to put in the work to be better. They want to not shut down but rather entrust someone with what going on in their life and how it’s affecting them mentally and emotionally. Consider me as proof as someone who wants to break out of the old habits that they consider as bad or toxic. 


Now if you know someone who does mentally shut down understand they truly appreciate you. Even in those times, they struggle to express their emotions. Be patient, be kind, and be understanding. Those times are when they need the most support. 


I truly think the people who try to break their bad habits or as some call toxic traits are the most courageous people. Not because what they are doing benefits others. More so because they know it’s not going to be easy but it’s the right thing to do for themselves and others. Plus they usually aren’t breaking their bad habits for themselves but for others. Be it their significant others, friends, or even their kids it usually comes from a place of love for someone else. 


Like I said it’s a steep uphill battle but it’s worth it.  Mentally shutting down cuts you off from opening up to other people. It is worth seeing you become a more open person. It is worth deepening and strengthening the relationships in your life. At least that is what I personally think. Remember it’s okay to not be okay. It is okay to ask for help, and it is absolutely okay to put yourself first. Mental health is a serious issue and should be taken seriously. So please make sure you are taking care of yourself. – Unofficial big Sister KMH



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