When you think of Oprah Winfrey, you think of a strong, capable woman who can do it all -- NOT someone who would find herself on the verge of running around naked in the streets. But last year, Oprah felt like she might be on the verge of that kind of nervous breakdown. It hit her when she interviewed Kony 2012 director Jason Russell, who said he had a nervous breakdown from stress -- and he was found running around naked in the streets. As she heard his tale, Oprah suddenly realized she might be next! Oprah told Access Hollywood: "I was sitting and listening to Jason Russell describe his symptoms. [I thought], 'Um, this sounds pretty familiar to me.'" YIKES. Oprah! Running around naked. Does. Not. Compute.
Oprah says things hit rock bottom last year, when she was simultaneously trying to run her new TV network, OWN, and filming The Butler. She said:
I was in the middle of doing voiceovers and I remember closing my eyes in between each page because looking at the page and the words at the same time was too much stimulation for my brain.
Oprah says she was just doing too much and not slowing down and taking the time she needed to recharge and destress. I think it's something most of us can relate to these days -- especially with computers and cellphones, it seems like your workday never ends. And with social media, the amount of stimuli you're subjected to every day is bottomless. Used to be a time you perhaps caught up with one or two friends a day. Now your feed is glutted with the details -- both big and small -- of dozens or hundreds of people. Your brain is on constant overload. Oprah says:
It was just sort of speeding and a kind of numbness and going from one thing to the next thing to the next thing. I thought ... 'if I don’t calm down I’m going to be in serious trouble.'
Some signs of a pending nervous breakdown include:
Mood swings. Finding yourself happy one minute and rageful the next.
Panic attacks. A feeling of not being able to breathe normally, throat closing up, heart beating too fast.
Paranoia. A feeling that someone is watching you or that everyone is out to get you.
Depression/anxiety. Unable to sleep, withdrawal from social activity, dizziness, upset stomach, headaches, and a host of issues can arise from depression and anxiety.
Luckily, Oprah knew enough to listen to her body, and she slowed down. 'Cause Oprah running naked through the streets would have been totally weird, right?
Have you ever had a nervous breakdown?
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