“Help! I’m having a nervous breakdown!!”
We’ve probably all have heard these words at least one point in our lives. But what does it mean?
As we noted last year, a nervous breakdown is just a general, layperson’s term for a bout of mental illness. But Benedict Carey over at The New York Times examines the history of this phrase, as new phrases have entered the popular vocabulary trying to takes its place. These new phrases include “burnout syndrome” (or just plain “burnout”) and “vital exhaustion.” I don’t think any of these will catch on than the all-inclusive “nervous breakdown,” though, because of its longevity and history (since 1900!).
What gives the “nervous breakdown” phrase such power?
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