This post was originally published on August 27, 2018.
“Adversity is like a fire that, rather than destroying you, can refine, strengthen, and beautify you.” – Tim Keller
If you’re like me and have had a breakdown or two, you know they’re not fun. It’s terrifying to be out of sorts — your mind fills with lies, anxiety paralyzes you and maybe in your darkest hour, you believe the world is better off without you. There are many types of breakdowns and they vary in nature from person to person. For some individuals, a breakdown can be a point of extreme physical exhaustion. Others may experience a mental collapse of sorts.
For how common breakdowns are and for how serious they can be, there is still little talk of them. No one wants to admit they’ve come undone, but so many of us have. With all the mental setbacks I’ve had in my life, I can genuinely say there is still good that can come from falling apart. I’m learning that I can only go up from here.
Here are five ways breakdowns can make you better, not bitter:
1. Breakdowns bring clarity.
My setback has given me great clarity. Once the fog of my depression and confusion lifted, I was able to do a lot of personal reflection while also identifying the habits and addictions that were not serving me well.
2. Breakdowns give you a natural “reset.”
My breakdown provided me with a total reset— a reset I desperately needed to help heal me. It gives you the freedom to throw destructive habits out the window while giving you the opportunity to cultivate new, healthier ones. Whether it’s waking up before sunrise or putting down your phone for hours, breakdowns give you a clean slate to make more beneficial choices.
My breakdown provided me with a total reset— a reset I desperately needed to help heal me.
3. Breakdowns show you how much you need other people.
We are not islands; coming apart forces you to accept help. While not everyone has access to the best resources or a stellar support system, breakdowns have a way of showing you that you require help while reminding you that it’s OK to have needs. Recognizing this can help us bolster our support network, which will only make you stronger in the long run.
… breakdowns have a way of showing you that you require help while reminding you that it’s OK to have needs.
4. Breakdowns help you identify “your people.”
Whenever you go through a hard time mentally or emotionally, it can often put relationships to the test. Some people will see you differently for your setback and put up walls. As hard as it can be, this helps you “weed out” your fair-weather friends. While this is never fun, it does show you who will stay and love you the same when life gets hard.
5. Breakdowns can humble you.
Nothing gives you a slice of humble pie like a breakdown. Breakdowns can be used to mold you and remind you of how fragile you really are. Genuine humility attracts others to you and makes you a better version of yourself.
What “benefit” would you add to this list? How can falling apart help us gain perspective?
Images via Liz Wang