Early Warning Signs of an Impending Mental Breakdown


Ah, spring. It’s that time of the year when the flowers start to bloom, the pollen count starts to rise and Boy Scouts start zipping off their cargo pants into cargo shorts. But as the days get longer, the amount of days you have to raise your grades gets shorter. We’re in the final stretch here, and some of us are just stretched a little too thin. So, here are some early warning signs of an impending mental breakdown so that you can intervene before you drunkenly post aggressive comments on Vandy’s official Instagram and email Dean Gresalfi about how sad you are. 

Firstly, you may be wondering to yourself, “Who is Elaine Li and who is she to tell me about my mental health?” Well, here are my credentials. I am a psychology major, and thus I know everything about all people. I can tell you everything from what your nails say about you to how to finally do laundry at school without feeling intense shame. My hair is also dyed, like, four colors, so I obviously have been through some unstable periods in my life recently. I also write satire, so no surprises there when I tell you there has been some trauma in my past. So, here is my definitive list of warning signs for an impending full-blown breakdown.

  1. Cutting and/or Dying Your Own Hair

This one may be obvious, but no one who is at peace with their life cuts their own bangs after being inspired by a TikTok. The weirdly manic feeling you get from that first satisfying chop comes from the fact that you think you’re exercising agency, free-will or autonomy over your life. However, the shame and regret you feel immediately afterwards will probably make you wish God never granted you those things in the first place. Because the next day your friends will look at your hair, realize that they probably can’t fix it, and say “Oh. It’s not that bad.” 

  1. Regressing to Your Middle School Music Taste

If you find yourself or any of your friends listening to Halsey, Troye Sivan, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Melanie Martinez or 21 Pilots, please get help. I know you are not okay. Talk to someone. 

  1. Taking a Social Media Cleanse

I have never met anyone who was in a good place that decided to take a social media cleanse. You have either cried too many times seeing the hot acquaintances you met your first week here look perfect lounging on their family’s superyacht or doing goat yoga, or you are so desperate for fewer distractions that you decided you had to get rid of something that made you happy. Either way, get some help. 

  1. Overscheduling Yourself

The best way to cope with your problems is to not cope at all. If every moment of your day is accounted for, then you don’t have time to think about yourself. Send those emails, babe. Get lunch with that person you haven’t seen in a while. Set that timer for seven minutes of cry time in Central Library. Go get it, boss babe.

  1. Signing up for VUcept

Since you’ve been through some things, you think you’re able to help others through them too. Those first-years are going to love hearing about that time you failed your chem test, got drunk, cried for two hours, took a truly massive shit that was so big it would not flush and woke up to a text from your floor GroupMe with a picture of said shit and the caption “Whoever did this: I have ointment for torn assholes if you need it.”

Now that you are aware of these signs, please get some help. Maybe eat a Rand cookie. Best of luck.

  • April 7, 2021