12 Signs Your Mental Breakdown Is Actually An Emotional Breakthrough

‘Breakdowns are usually breakthroughs that we just haven’t seen the other side of yet.’


1. You’re questioning everything.

You’re done believing that things are as they appear, or that what you were raised to believe about something is the right way to think overall. You’re exploring new ideas of philosophy and spirituality and politics and thought, and you’re coming to find that you didn’t know what you didn’t know.

2. You’re realizing that there’s a difference between happy thoughts and happy feelings.

You’ve been trying to fill yourself up with “happy thoughts” forever, only to find that you get attached to a certain outcome (that doesn’t become reality) and you’re even unhappier in the first place. You’re realizing that there’s a difference between “a way of thinking that lets you enjoy the moment” and “a way of thinking that makes you happy about potentials, possibilities, and things that are everything but what’s actually happening.”

3. You’re starting to see patterns.

You’re realizing that many of the things that keep resurfacing in your life – relationships, jobs, ideas, feelings – are products of what you believe they are or should be. They are patterns, and maybe if you could figure out how to change them, the way they emerge would change, too.

4. You feel irrationally angry.

Anger is a good emotion, that is, when you finally figure out that you’re not mad at the world – you’re mad at yourself. This is usually what happens right before change is going to be made. Anger’s younger siblings: dissatisfaction, resentment, irritation, self-pity, etc. are unpleasant but not disturbing enough to make you act. Anger makes you act. It burns through you and delivers you somewhere new.

5. You’re starting to question: “is this all there is?”

You’re starting to wonder whether or not you really were meant to just sleep, eat, work then die. You’re starting to wonder if this is all that exists, or if it’s a small aperture for a far greater reality.

6. You had the million dollar idea, found The Relationship, got the big break, and all of a sudden, you’re paralyzed.

We call this some good ol’ resistance. When we perceive happiness, we perceive fear to an equal degree. It’s not actually that you’re resisting your new life, it’s that your very clearly identifying what you want (and experiencing a natural, and balanced amount of fear about it).

7. It seems like your emotional state is unwarranted.

You shouldn’t feel anxious and depressed, but you do. There’s no reason for your irrational fears, but they’re there. You can’t quite make sense of what you’re feeling, and you realize that’s because you’re in the process of developing that skill.

8. You’re uncertain about who you really are.

You have come to terms with the fact that you’ve defined yourself based on either how people see you, or how you think you should be, and there’s a bit discrepancy between what you think you want and what you actually want.

9. You’re experiencing feelings and fears you had when you were a kid.

It’s all coming back up to the surface, and what you’re realizing is that it was never really gone in the first place. The thoughts, ideas, beliefs and feelings you kept tucked away were silently guiding your life. You just didn’t know.

10. You’re terrified of loss right now.

Namely, you’re terrified of losing one specific thing that you think, in some way, will “save” you (even just emotionally). This is what happens when you begin to realize that nothing can do that for you. You’re not afraid of loss, you’re afraid of being forced to accept that reality before you think you’re ready.

11. You’re giving up on the things you need to give up on.

You’re not giving up on your dreams. You’re not giving up on your relationship. You are simply giving up on the idea that these things will be something more than what they are. You are giving up on what’s not right for you. You’re learning that “giving up” is such a negative term for something that’s really healthy when necessary.

12. You’ve decided you’re not going to be the victim of your own mind anymore.

People don’t have breakdowns unless they are on the precipices of “breakthroughs.” Breakdowns – or any kind of intense mental-emotional turmoil – is always a sign that things are in the process of changing. Otherwise, they’d just be “normal.” You’re done accepting your old “normal,” and you’re onto bigger, better, brighter, happier things. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.

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