The 5 Benefits of a Breakdown

breakdown benefits

“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, while 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 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.

breakdown reset

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 okay to have needs. Recognizing this can help us bolster our support network, which makes one stronger in the long run.

… breakdowns have a way of showing you that you require help while reminding you that it’s okay 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 make you humble.

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?

Images via Liz Wang

Allie is a writer, dreamer, and kooky surfer-girl/wannabe cowgirl who lives in North Santa Barbara County. She serves as the Founder and Director of Wonderfully Made, a non-profit dedicated to helping young women know their value and worth.

  • Anna Oates January 7, 2017

    All really great points and all very true, I’ve gone through quite a few bad ones in 2016 and I’ve learned a lot from them!

  • Hannah December 11, 2016

    Number three and number four so true. Stigmas often come with having a break down, even though we all experience them. Having had more breakdown moments physically and mentally has brought my close friends closer and shown me how much I need community, and at the end of the day all you really have is the relationships you invest in. Great piece darling!- hannah

  • Elaine December 11, 2016

    I would add to keep managing the thoughts-stay as positive as possible, do something each day to find joy, the simplest things, move physically to help thru these dark days, know you can come out on the other side. Be kind to yourself. thank you for sharing 😉

  • Anonymous December 10, 2016

    Allie Marie,
    Sometimes we don’t need five pages of exposition to hear wisdom.
    Thank you for your simple truths on an often painful subject,

  • Kate merrick December 10, 2016

    Allie writes so beautifully and truthfully. Thank you for encouraging us all with honesty! She gives permission to be courageous even in the real mess.

    I would add that breakdowns give us nowhere to go but up:)

  • Elisabeth Fondell December 10, 2016

    I think any time we stop and take a full inventory of our emotions it’s helpful, breakdown or not. I wish we could all allow ourselves to do this before we hit the breaking point!

    I was just having a conversation with an old professor of mine – we were talking about this idea, the idea that people are incapable of stopping, of taking a moment, of thinking, of resting, of just being. This is so important.

    Thank you for encouraging all of us to embrace our vulnerability! Much love to team Darling. xoxo!

  • Charmaine Ng December 10, 2016

    Number four is so true. Throughout the years, I’ve weeded out basically all of my fair-weather friends. Though I have quite a few “best friends” I hang out with on a regular basis, I can really only count two friends as my best friends right now.

    – Charmaine

  • Natalie Harney December 10, 2016

    Thank you so much for this, it couldn’t have been timed any better

    – Natalie