How to have a healthy mental breakdown

By Priya Logan

( Even in the face of larger ones)

Breaking down is natural, think of anything in nature. Reimagine it as composting, stir, add food and rest.\

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NB( this has been mainly inspired by punk music; the benign void in my brain; personal experience with real compost and prolonged emotional meltdown, though to be clear those two have never converged in real time, and is dedicated to everyone who gets stuck and unstuck)

Invite the worms: do activities that churn your ideas of yourself into something new: take up something physical, wrestle with interesting but unsavoury ideas and argue with them when they annoy you. Do this in short protected bursts.

Write about it: write about it madly, unguardedly and inappropriately. Hide or burn what you have written, or not.

Spend time with people who accept you: you don’t need to win anyone over at this point.


Lie down in the woods: like a reset button for 10000 years of evolution, green filtered light is like going to heaven. You are a mammal with added complication.

Listen to music that is completely regressive: hits from the 80’s anyone? Or watch a film that is completely unaspirational but comforting.

Forget your name: your history, anything you ever did and go on a day trip somewhere. It will make you remember how so much of the structure of your life has been defined by seemingly tiny choices. The same is true for everyone.

Develop a trust that despite everything there is something in you that is intrinsic, indestructable and linked to everything else. There are ways to try that out, art and creativity can be a gateway. Wandering can too.

Cry, rant, scream and accept your own fallibilities. Realise you can’t make everything right but you also don’t need to.

Apologise when you need to.

Accept help.

Find something you care about more than the limitations of your own personality and dedicate your life to it. Meaningful work churns the world into being. Work is also much more than just the 9–5 or anything you get paid for.

Rest: know that everything is in hand.

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