Why I am grateful for my mental breakdown

I know that sounds weird. I mean, how can a total mental breakdown be good for anyone? But you’ll understand in just a moment, how my nervous breakdown has helped me to find out what I actually want out of life…

Ever since I can remember, I have been a pessimistic person. My glass was always half empty, never half full. Looking back, the signs for my mental health issues have been there ever since I was a teenager. However, up until a nervous breakdown 2 years ago, I wasn’t aware at all I had mental health issues.

mental breakdown signs announce themselves early on

What I also didn’t know was, what I want to do with my life. Already during high school, I chose the easiest major to pass because I had no idea which one to choose. I didn’t like any of my subjects at school and my grades were mediocre at best. After graduating high school, I had the same problem, no idea what to do next. So what can I do with a mediocre GPA? I went on to study at a Business School, hoping that all the different courses would eventually unveil something I liked. Turns out, I kind of liked economics, so I did my major in economics.
I started to envy all my colleagues at university who were passionate about different topics or who at least knew what they would want to do after graduating. I still had no idea at all.

Next step in my life was living in Cape Verde for 2 years. There, I worked as a tourist guide, which was a nice experience at the time but I knew I would not do this forever. Eventually, anxiety issues brought me back to Europe earlier than expected.

mental breakdown - we all have mental health issues to some extent

After returning to Europe, I moved to Lisbon to do a Master’s degree. Hopefully, that would help me figure my shit out. Only that it didn’t… The only class I really liked during my degree was my Entrepreneurship class. So I thought the solution was working in a start-up. I worked in 3 different start-ups and never stayed for more than 6 months. I just couldn’t do it, I felt so deeply and clearly that this was not what I wanted but simultaneously I had no idea what else to do.

before and after my mental Breakdown

In two of those start-ups I worked before my mental breakdown. So, might be that the problem was my mental health why I never stayed longer at one job. When I started going to therapy, I thought, maybe that’ll allow me to stay at a company longer. Two months into my new job, I knew, I wouldn’t stay much longer. This time though, I knew, I would not just blindly look for a new job. I was so fed up from jumping from one job to the next.

How did I find out what really makes me happy? A few sessions into my therapy I started researching more and more online, about what you can do when you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I read that our lifestyle plays a big role. So I started going back to Yoga, practicing meditation and really getting into nutrition.

Turns out, I am super fascinated by the effects food can have on our mental and physical well-being. I spent all my free-time with reading about nutrition, what it does to our body and how a well-balanced lifestyle cannot just heal certain medical conditions but even prevent disease.

mental breakdown - seeing light at the end of the tunnel

I started cooking and trying out all sorts of recipes and turns out, I’m actually a really good cook. Not only do the effects of food on our body fascinate me, but I found out that cooking calms me down. When I cook, I forget everything around me and am completely in the zone. Cooking has helped me manage some of my worst anxiety symptoms. Here are some of my recipes I cooked in the very beginning.

First time I knew exactly what i had to do

Not long after this, I inscribed myself into a programme from the International Institute of Naturopathy in Switzerland to become an Integrative Health and Nutrition Consultant. For the first time ever, I knew this was exactly what I needed to do. I didn’t doubt my decision for a second and I was so excited to start the programme.

The more I got into the health and well-being topic, the more I knew it was the right decision. For the first time in my life I am passionate about something. I can honestly say, this is what I would be doing, even if I wouldn’t get money for it. This is something I can actually see myself doing for a long time.

mental breakdown - without it, I'd never found what I really want to do with my life

Finally, I realised that I want to help and inspire others. I found a beautiful quote somewhere, which perfectly describes what I want to achieve: “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say because of you I didn’t give up.” – Helping people living their happiest and healthiest lives and reconnecting with their own body through nutrition.

What my mental health issues have taught me

My mental breakdown has taught me, how important it is that we live in harmony with our body, mind and soul. I am convinced that without my mental health issues, I wouldn’t have taken the path I took. That’s why today I am grateful for all the struggles with my mental health and I can only recommend everyone to embrace those struggles instead of neglecting them. You might be surprised what they can teach you about yourself and which unexpected doors they might open for you.

If you feel you need support but don’t know where and how to get it, feel free to reach out to me. I can give you some contacts that can help you.