Why is it that a breakdown is mostly viewed as something bad, and for some a personal failure? What went wrong that left you unable to hold on and keep going? Very often it is seen as weakness. Ironically we have an increasing number of people having breakdowns due to stress, and many people experiencing such a breakdown feel isolated and stigmatized.
I have had my share of hard times and experiences of breakdowns. Small or large, breakdowns that at times have filled me with anxiety about what would come next, and if large enough, with doubt about whether I would be able to pull through. If you recognize this you might also recognize how some of your hardships eventually have turned out to be gifts that ended up being the catalyst for needed change.
What if we started viewing a breakdown as a perfectly healthy mind and body telling us very loud and clear: “Something needs to change”? That it is actually our bodily intelligence trying to create space for a change and potentially a breakthrough.
As a society we are not very fond of breakdowns and the sooner we can fix the person or the situation so that everything can get back to normal and be business as usual, the better. But is it right to fix yourself so that you can potentially re-enter a situation that was truly not good for you?
What if breaking down the old things is necessary to unfold and progress? What if we could help each other view a breakdown as the first step towards a breakthrough?
If you could do that it would lessen the anxiety and fear because you would know that you are on your way to needed change. There is nothing wrong with you and you are not weak. You have finally started listening to the warning signals from your mind and body.
If you can view your breakdown as an opening it will make room for focus on what is called for in this challenge. In a breakdown old habits and structures are inevitable checkmates. Although grieving and letting go is a part of the process, you are also in a place where you are very open to new ways and new tools. As the axiom goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Be sure to ask yourself: “What can I learn about myself from this situation?”
If we help each other to use this perspective, a breakdown can be the impetus of needed transformation. Although it is not without pain, it will help the process and maybe even result in a breakthrough.
Finding new ways in a breakdown
In a breakdown your pain and vulnerability is inevitable and it is essential to start sharing so that you will be connected to other people that are able to help you. You need all the support you can get while turning a breakdown into a breakthrough, but specifically the kind of support that believes in you actually pulling through.
The greater the breakdown the longer you are likely to have seen and heard signs that point to something not being right for you. Most of us have a tendency to hold on to old habits, beliefs and life circumstances for far too long, even though they are not good for us. When we are not able to hold on any longer, the breakdown surfaces.
After being physically stabilized, the best way out of a breakdown is to start feeling and recognizing what is truly important to you (LINK) – In fact the very same things you had become an expert ignoring. This will give you a new direction to head in that has the potential of being more sustainable for you.
Slowly it will become clearer which things you should pursue and avoid, and the breakdowns you will experience will consequently be less dramatic and easier to integrate.
When you are ready to turn your breakdown into a breakthrough, here is how you can help your process:
- Initially nurture yourself and be open and vulnerable. Find people to share your emotions and thoughts with – make sure that they are people that believe in you pulling through, rather than pitying or victimizing you.
- Ask yourself: What can I learn about myself from this situation?
- Start focusing on what is good for you and begin the process of finding your personal values (LINK) and personal vision (LINK). Let this be the guide to your breakthrough.
Next time you meat someone that is experiencing a breakdown I hope you will help them believe that they can pull it through and that it can be the start of a breakthrough.