I have experienced total mental breakdown more than once. If you have experienced this, are in the throes of it, or want help for a loved one, you may want to read on.
In the Winter of 1992; perhaps the Winter of my discontent, I was in a deep depression. Having lived in New York City for five years, with a good job, but one I had long since grown out of, I was lonely, without girlfriend or spouse, and had no family nearby. Life was going nowhere, and I was on my own.
As I waited on customers behind the counter of a busy cafe with my co-workers, a man walked in with two guns and asked me for the cash in the register. I gave him the money, making it clear by how I kept the register drawer open, that I was not holding anything back. He then asked for the brown bag; I guess he thought we kept money in a bag, but the notion was incorrect, and so foreign to me, that I just stared at him incomprehensibly, at which he turned and left the store.
I spent a lot of time over the next several days with the police, trying to aid them in their investigation: looking at mug shots, sitting in the back of a police cruiser prowling the streets; all in search of the suspect, but he was not caught for 6 months, as he continued on his spree in search of free cash from local businesses.
While the others at work were emotional after the holdup, I was not. At some point, my mental acuity started to unravel, and I became unable to work or concentrate. A customer of the bakery who was a therapist offered to help me, but I had already decided to leave town and stay with my parents again. I ran away, with inordinate fear that the suspect (this was prior to his capture) would come after me and kill me for fear I would identify him.
My stepfather collected my things and transported me home, where my health began to disintegrate further.
(End of part one)