Experiencing a meltdown: This morning whilst at work... - Headway


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Experiencing a meltdown


This morning whilst at work I received a call from my letting agent regarding changing my oven. Basically to say my landlord can't arrange so I need to order and pay then get it reimbursed on my rent payment. I was very confused following what they were telling me (at a very fast pace) and I then lost it with stress. I am getting my dad to deal with it now as I can't cope with sudden changes and stress. I can deal with situations but only at my pace by planning bit by bit. Suddenly being told what to do does not work anymore. Does anyone else have this problem too since a TBI? In addition I recently lost my dear younger brother in May so I think the tears that followed may be from that.

Just when you think you are coping well it rears its face again. 3 years since my injury.


10 Replies

Hi, I’m 6years onand stressful situations like that would still throw me.

If I have to speak with anyone concerning all sorts of issues, this morning it was getting British Gas out to deal with a breakdown of my boiler. They were great but the 15 mins hold on the the phone didn’t do anything for my stress.

I have to rehearse all kinds of scenarios so I’m not thrown and then my speech goes.

It’s much easier if I have to initiate it, but I still have to work up to it.

Janet x

I do empathise Rosemary. I first realised how emotionally challenged I'd become when my pharmacist lost one of my prescriptions (but denied it) and I turned into a shaking, angry, tearful wreck in seconds...……...which only served to convince him I was utterly bonkers.

6 years on, I've learned to step back a little more and bring humour into play, but I will delegate difficult issues wherever possible as the red mist is always lurking.

But the combination of a brain injury and bereavement for your brother is a potent recipe for losing control. Be proud of what you're otherwise achieving Ro ! Cat x


I've lost nearly every job in the last few years when I've collapsed past brain fog and pain into tremors, the cessation of all logical thought and a complete meltdown.

My last manager told me that I "need professional help"...I asked if 3 spinal consultants, 3 neurologists, 4 max fac consultants, 4 physios, 1 occupational therapist, 2 neuro psychs, 1 cbt and 3 therapists counted?!!!

Still smiling! (Is it snooze time yet?)

A brain fog is exactly how I would describe it too Neverdidmind. It feels like not being in reality and being suddenly dragged into a violent sea of chaos. No logic or reasoning helps as the emotions have already exploded. A day later now I am still feeling the exhaustion from it. When I left work I felt like I was drifting above in a dreamlike state. Almost wobbly vision. Our poor brains... I spent the whole of Sunday alone in peace and quiet. Feel like I need a week of it now!

I empathise. 12 years in and I can still lose the plot and experience total meltdown when faced with something different under pressure .

I have been dealing with Virgin Media for a while now because of a service issue and several calls have ended because I got so twisted up just trying to get them to understand what I needed that I ended up completely incoherent. It was very frustrating.

Each time I called I had added to my initial set of notes...and armed with my increasingly detailed notes, today I finally got things sorted ...and I began by telling them they had to let me finish - which was written and underlined at the top of my notes.

I find it helps to ask them to slow down and to repeat back to them what I believe they asked me. After doing things a few times they seem to start to get the idea that things will progress faster and more smoothly if they take it slower.

I hope you got your issues sorted.

I’m a caregiver who’s new to this community but already I’m finding it so supportive.

Reading all your honest posts is giving me insight into what it’s like for my partner to be on the ‘inside’ living with a hypoxic brain injury acquired during a cardiac arrest after a significant heart attack in July 2017. He spent three weeks in ITU but has since made an incredible recovery and most of our family and friends see him returning from the brink to appearing exactly as he was before.

What we still struggle with is the invisible emotional impact of his ABI. Most recently he’s started having angry outbursts directed at me which come completely out of the blue. We’re both finding them distressing and it’s difficult for me to understand what’s happening as he only says that he feels stressed.

So whilst everyone’s situation is different lwhat’s been said here about meltdowns has been enlightening and will help me be more patient and supportive of my partner so we can keep getting better at surviving this together.

Thank you and best wishes to you and yours on your own journeys.

Hidden in reply to Ossmh


There will be triggers that you can identify if he keeps a journal - will help you to manage the situations more easily if you can work out what is causing his brain to overload.

Eg environmental issues such as:

Conflicting noises

Flashing lights

Crowded places

Activities with a duration that have extended past his ability to function:




Practical issues such as:

Pain management

Sleepless nights

Multi tasking

Or it could be that he's dealing with emotional issues such as acceptance, or feelings of frustration or isolation, or an inability to deal with conflict, where a counsellor/headway group might be useful.

Hope you're both ok.

Hello Rosemary

I really can empathise as a similar thing happened to me recently and completely took me by surprise. A lady from Age Concern called to assist me with (confusing) forms relating to claiming JSA. One hour later when this lovely lady had made various phone calls and helped me to complete the necessary forms she asked me to sign the form. I picked up the pen and......nothing. I put pen to paper and nothing happened. I could not remember how to write or what my name was. Everything else was clear to me - where I was, who I was with and the purpose of the lady's visit but I could not begin to write. The moment kind of escalated and I got very distressed. I cried and cried as I was totally confused by this and unsure if I was yet again becoming ill. My husband was very supportive and got me to walk around the garden and "chill out" a little. He was marvellous. I did settle down and I can sign my name now, but it was just a little moment. As others have suggested complicated issues and even a little pressure can cause my brain to shut down - even 2 years plus since my brain illness. To say I was shocked and surprised by my response to this situation is an understatement. I guess those of us with brain injuries are on a continuing journey of learning about our levels of coping with life. Take Care of you. Clare

Hi, Sorry for my late reply. I've not been here for a while due to personal circumstance. I am still having meltdowns in stressful situations, particularly when challenged or with unexpected changes or stressful situations. I understand it now and recognise it when I feel it starting and sometimes try to remove myself from situations. Reading your post I understand exactly where you're coming from.m Firstly you were at work and in the middle of an already brain engaging activity which was no doubt using your brain energy. Then you get a phone call about a major thing that needs sorted out and the outcome was taken outside of your control. What you expected to happen didn't happen. Add to this your recent loss of your brother. There you have the conditions for a melt down. I hope you're feeling a bit better now and I hope the oven is sorted out now. Try to allow yourself to not be upset with yourself if a meltdown happens .........its just a result of an overload. Keep going with everything and well done being in your job and all.....remember your achievements. Wishing you lots of more peaceful days to come. x


Yes,get it 40+ years on! Last time in tears that i can remember-jobcentre when DWP stopped ESA for 8 months til tribunal(was shouting in there that they don't give a shit,etc!),then in the tribunal(when DWP didn't even turn up!).

I hate sudden change also!

So,perfectly normal to me. :)

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