Meltdowns are a feature not a bug

October 6, 2015

Nervous breakdowns are pretty unpleasant things to be in, but like most things in life they carry lots of benefits. I remember once when Colin was giving a talk to all the freaks of the London Seduction Society he said “This is a hard road and it’ll take at least two years to get good. The only people I know who got good quicker went through unbelievable mental pain.”

He’s right. There’s a fairly predictable path of pain in game because ultimately we are talking about a complete overhaul of your behaviours, beliefs and identity.

Cautious hope -> Optimism -> Hubris -> Vague Unease -> Crash -> Recovery

As ever I’m talking mostly about my own experience but I’ve seen this pattern among all the top guys on their way up. And seeing as few of them ever settle at a given plateau (we’re all strivers) then really this is a recurring cycle. When you take your first step in game you are unwittingly commiting yourself to a complete overhaul. You will eventually become the cool charismatic guy. Unfortunately there’s a major obstacle standing in your way:

Your ego.

Your ego is a fixing agent, as I’ve written about before. It’s the force that prevents you being tossed around like a leaf in a gale. It’s what gets your hackles up when someone’s trying to clown you and take what’s yours. Your ego is the force that says “I’m just fine like I am, thank you very much, and I’m not changing.”

Me, May 2015

A bug(s). Me, May 2015

Therein lies the rub for the aspiring player who wants to transform himself from Me v1.0 into Me v2.0. The ego will resist him every step of the way. Much of the “taking action” side of the player’s journey is about harnessing your forebrain’s reserves of mental discipline in order to achieve your forebrain’s goal of getting better with women. All of the negative emotions you feel (principally the approach anxiety and the avoidance weasels) are your hindbrain’s attempt to harness your reserves of emotion in order to thwart your forebrain and to instead achieve the hindbrain’s goal of staying exactly where you are.

So every aspiring player is being double-teamed by his ego and hindbrain. That’s where all the cognitive dissonance and badfeelz comes from. It’s tough. It’s also why most successful players have developed masterful emotional control and forebrain discipline.

Normal men might scoff when you say daygame is difficult. “Dude, all you’re doing is talking to women. It’s not like being in a WWI trench.” They don’t get that the conflict is fully internal and your brain is essentially in a state of perpetual Syria-like civil war. It’s about way more than knobbing some sloppy tarts – you are fighting for your destiny of what kind of person you wish to be. This is why every aspiring player has – and needs – periodic meltdowns. They occur when both sides of your brain have exhausted themselves fighting the daily war of attrition. There’s the last final battle and then like a cataclysmic shock both sides collapse. Both sides wave the white flag and you crash.

It’s awful when it happens. Sometimes it’s the death of hope. Other times it triggers hours of existential angst as you go through a long dark night of the soul. You have to remind yourself that your current emotion is not “you”, it’s just a phase. Your life is still exactly the same as it was two days ago, two weeks ago, two months ago.

Remind yourself this is a necessary creative destruction because your meltdown results in a rare opportunity: Your ego has died. It’ll respawn soon but for a precious few days the hindbrain is compliant. All those beliefs and reference experiences that you’ve tried to embed into your hindbrain so that you can feel (not merely intellectually recognise) the player mindset – the hindbrain absorbs them.

A meltdown, yesterday

A meltdown, yesterday

Every time I’ve had a meltdown, I’ve emerged stronger and closer to the man I wish to be. The calibre of my game always stepped up a level and I felt like my inner game house had been upgraded from hay to wood, then wood to brick and so on. Ultimately, your subconscious is looking out for your best interests. It lets you feel the optimism and hubris so you can go out and accumulate reference experiences, then it lets your hindbrain fight a weasel-based counterattack so you feel unease, and then it throws you both off a cliff and triggers the meltdown.

If you’re a normal guy who wants a normal life, nervous breakdowns are to be avoided. However, if you’re a normal guy who wants to become a player, you have to embrace them when they come. They are not a sign of failure – though they’ll definitely feel that way when they happen. Just remember you are not your emotions and this is the necessary bankruptcy in order to free up the capital to be redeployed into a more efficient enterprise. Your ability to embrace, ride out and then recover from meltdowns is a strong meta-level predictor of how good you’ll get at game.


  1. I agree sir, your insight into this is bang on. keep up the good work you do here K its appreciated 🙂

  2. It’s great that you still enjoy talking about pick up and players in your 40s. Most people mature beyond the pick up phase in their teens, and late bloomers in their early twenties.

  3. Add autism to the mix and you just might be on your way to the Funny Farm where you can attempt your awkward, charming arts on Nurse Ratchet.

  4. I never have approach anxiety, but what are avoidance weasels?

    • Similar concept.
      Coming up with weaselly reasons to avoid opening – she looks busy, she probably had a boyfriend, etc

      • Thx. I need to focus more on bringing my mental “party” to people and seeking out other people with mental parties. I can get caught up in analysis. An autism thing. We autists have to do a lot of post mortems to learn, so analysis is mandatory. I can compensate very well at my age because of all the learning I have done. (Most people are unaware that I’m autistic.) If I’m focused on social cues, I can respond in a timely manner. Otherwise, I see them in post mortems.

        I’m narcissistic, so my ego is invested in me. Pussy is just pussy.

  5. Facing anxieties day in and day out sounds romantic but from a medical standpoint, constantly preoccupied with anxiety can in the long run cause clinical depression (which is a death knell since depression will also cause sexual difficulties – GASP).

  6. You have the most transparent haters I have ever seen, LOL. Definitely means you’re doing something correctly.

    Just wanted to say that this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thank you for all of your hard work, Nick.

    • The fact he is 40 and he’s living life on his own terms and consistently banging girls in their early twenties really pisses Blue Pill guys off that’s why he gets so much hate.

  7. Nice to see your serious side every once in a while. And it’s important to remind people that the road to excellence, whether in pickup or anything else, is paved with mental duress.

    An ego death is a gift. Many go through life without ever experiencing it. Each instance of one will propel you to greater heights.

    Nice one, K.

  8. Two questions:

    What does a meltdown look like? Telltale signs? Timespan?

    Do you get meltdowns outside of game / for other reasons?

    I’m in a therapy right now, looking for ways to get out of the mess I got myself into.

  9. Are the breakdowns more frequesnt at the beginning of the players journey because of the learning curve and do the spaces between each breakdown increase because of smaller margins for more experienced players? Can a general model be created for this? Also, do the breakdowns telegraph themselves like a migraine headache and can measures be taken or do you just have to ride the wave? [My guess is they are spaced out according to the speed of identity change, so more in the beginning when you are making most drastic changes. I had two in 2014 and only one in 2015. I seemed to remember a ton of then in 2010/11 but it’s like women forgetting the pain of childbirth. K.]

  10. so, what i’m hearing is that you focus on your forebrain discipline resources to force yourself into new/novel situs…this creates cognitive dissonance…do it enough and those experiences stress your ego/hindbrain until it panics and gives up and shuts down…causing huge amounts of anxiety…but when you don’t REALLY die, your hindbrain/ego have to concede the point and you end up at a new equilibrium…is that about right?

    if so, have you noticed whether that process applies for more than just situs with girls? (seconding Wake’s questions…) [Yes, it’s about right. It probably happens in other things but I haven’t really noticed. K.]

    • Order out of Chaos…. Humans beings are an Open System or Dissipative Structure when the system is getting bombarded with a stimulus it can no longer handle something called a Bifurcation Point occurs were the system will either die or escape into a higher order of functioning were it can now handle the things it couldn’t before.

  11. I seem to get a headache the morning after a serious daygame session (7/8 hours solid solo daygame) .. I suspect something is happening in terms of brain neurology / chemical balances in the brain following adrenaline/dopamine/serotonin releases the previous night. When I daygame I go really hard, I found what you said about catabolic and anabolic periods quite fascinating, I have integrated breaks into the session but this still happens. Also, its difficult to really get deeply into my work for a day or two (studying financial statements / modelling .. all requiring logical esoteric thinking). Any insight on this phenomenon and why it happens … and strategies to mitigate so the next day or so isnt a total wash out? [Daygame really drains you, even when you’re on and having a ton of fun. It has to be some bizarre mix of hormones causing it. K.]

  12. I’m pretty sure I had a meltdown a few weeks ago. I think that the reason I am able to bounce back is because I strongly believe in game and what it can do.

    This ties in with your last post. The guys who I talk to who don’t last long at all in game just don’t believe in it. And it’s especially hard when their ego is telling them that everything they have done up to that point is right.

    Just bought your Daygame mastery book a few days ago. Gonna be using it for the second first date I’ve ever had 😉 [Good luck. K.]

  13. Great post. “”You have to remind yourself that your current emotion is not “you”, it’s just a phase. Your life is still exactly the same as it was two days ago, two weeks ago, two months ago.””

    I’ve experienced this. I’ve also had situations where in the middle of gaming a girl and getting shit-tested, I just feel like pulling out or blowing up and saying “You’re not following!”

    This generally happens when I’m over-invested in the outcome or have set myself up for an all or nothing scenario. I’ll blame the girl for not being worth my effort, I’ll blame the environment, I’ll blame myself for not knowing what the “right” thing is…

    But ultimately your post offers a real insight. The blame game is an ego in free-fall. I’m slowly starting to chill, enjoy the successes and learn from them but not see them as some sort of defining moment of success or loss. As my game has improved so have other areas of my life. It’s not always going to be smooth sailing. But ultimately the path should be forward, the successes or notches should be savoured and the learnings from each should be applied. Being realistic is crucial.

    The times I’ve not wanted to go out but forced myself…I’ve had the best times and my game has been more confident and the interactions more enjoyable.

  14. Grest inner game post bud.

  15. Krauser, thanks for this. I had a partial emotional breakdown after my first 30 cold approaches or so. It never occurred to me until now to take it as a mark of possible progress.

  16. Fantastic post that. It is a constant battle between the forebrain (social norms) and the hindbrain (primal nature). Girls of course go through it too.

  17. Not disparaging a post they most of your readers seem to love Nick (and I like it too) but I highly doubt you have actually had a nervous breakdown. I´ve seen genuine nervous breakdowns in my immediate family, and I´ve been through this with you when you are on a low point, and what you describe is not a nervous breakdown. You wouldn´t be able to think as cogently as you do, nor recover as quick if you had actually had one.

    I think a lot of people genuinely underestimate just how serious mental illness really is. [I’m not the expert on this, so I tend to call them “meltdowns”. I think some people have the genuine nervous breakdown but you’re probably right that mine are somewhat milder. K.]

  18. Interesting post. How does a meltdown manifest itself in other areas of your life? Would people you don’t game with notice that you’re “off” somehow? [I think so. My meltdowns normally involve lots of bitching and moaning in the “vague unease” phase. K.]

  19. Here more stress means growth. Something to be welcomed.


  20. Man meltdowns are annoying when they come. I had a lot starting out and was borderline suicidal on a few occasions. It affected the relationship I had with friends and family due to the mix of emotions I was getting from going out and trying to enforce change.

    It hasn’t been as bad in recent years due to being aware of when it comes and knowing how to deal with it. But the key thing is not to bottle it as it is very unhealthy. Its the reason why I’ve started to disagree with Eckhart Tolle’s teachings of being in the now. It’s almost like a new age concept of avoidance and weaseling. Blocking and micromanaging your emotions actually makes it worse.

    What I tend to do now is literally acknowledge how i feel and accept it when it comes. So If I get blown out or something screws up at any point with a girl, I acknowledge how I’m feeling, take a deep breath and carry on, It’s a necessary part in the journey and one that can’t be avoided.

  21. Good post. I remember last year I was going through a monster dry spell and getting so close to getting laid but not getting it. I was pretty much going crazy and was melting down. A few of my friends sat me down and intervened by basically telling me how I was being way too hard on myself, and that I needed to just relax and realize I’m a good guy.

    That weekend, I met a stripper during daygame that I insta-dated, and then fucked a couple of days later. That was the point where my game improved significantly, and since then I’ve had better results despite living in one of the toughest cities out there.

    Same thing this summer, I was absolutely struggling during daygame, tons of AA and just feeling very frustrated. I had to sit down because I was so damn frustrated. I SDL’d a hot chick.

    As I read this blog, I’m getting more and more insight on how to make my daygame more effective. There’s not much structure to it currently, except my game is fairly decent in the sense that do night game as well so I can talk talk talk, and I know how to lead and pull. Hopefully I’ll pick up some more structure through the blog.

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  23. Nice post reminds me of a convo we had in Zagreb about meltdowns and how they transform your identity and ego. I wrote a post on it following up from that but this is great.

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  25. Right on bro. As someone who strives to achieve “more” out of life and push my skills in all areas (not just with women), I’ve found that I have these kinds of moments more and more often. I’ve never heard of a PUA who goes through this or talks about it, but it’s there, and it’s real. I have personally felt this way many times regarding my Krump skills. There’s always overwhelm, doubt, and more. Same with pickup and everything else. But working through it, I always come out better once the feelings pass… I believe it is you simply becoming more aware of what you don;t know, and then filling those gaps in with actual skill. An interesting phenomena nonetheless.

    I write about self improvement and game on my blog, although it is not designed as a PUA or game blog – I simply suggest people work on themselves and develop real value than PUA’s who simply affirm to themselves that “they are the prize” without anything to back it up! If anyone is interested my blog is here: House of Pheromones.

    Thanks for the great info.

    – PheroJoe

  26. I like the idea that we should strive to get these meltdowns to improve quicker. I don’t recall having these strong meltdowns during last two years. Apathy to go out and mild discomfort is common however. This post reminded me that it could be beneficial to crash myself on some periods more by approaching absolutely hottest women and uncomfortable situations. But not all the time as it would probably kill my positive vibe. Maybe conciously add few of these “suicide mission” to each daygame session.

  27. Jesus this is great. Exactly what I needed to read. Definitely just had a break down. Still, I also know deep down, I’m about at the end of the last level, and I’m about to level up.

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