We live in a world where
everyone is always trying to keep it together.
Our appearance, attitudes, bank
accounts, and lifestyles are massive factors in how society
views us. We are constantly pressured to be "on," leaving
little to no room to fall apart.
Family, friends, and jobs are
always relying on us, making the pressures to perform
As we've all experienced, life is not simply made up of a
bunch of highs. The lows come roaring in sometimes when you
least expect it. Life doesn't allow us time to deal with
troubles, physically, mentally, or emotionally, leaving us
frantic as we try to put the puzzle pieces back together.
But can you imagine if we were "allowed" to break down? What
if we lost control and everyone around us let it happen?
We might find resolve much
sooner, since, in real life, we find ourselves pushing away
the inevitable, as the storm slowly accumulates inside until
it hits you that much harder in the face later on.
The School of Life released a video that brings new light to
breakdowns. Called "The Sanity of Madness," it exposes the
trouble with having to be on your game all the time.
No matter how little sleep we
get or what problems at home we are having, mental blockages
we are experiencing, or health concerns are bogging us down,
we are told we must be at work on time, with our
presentation ready, with no excuses given, and a smile
slapped on our pretty little faces.
It can create a vicious cycle;
one filled with energy drinks to wake up, sedatives to calm
down, routines lacking time for exercise, home-cooked
healthy meals, and sleep, and too much attention given to
The video points to the seemingly obvious but the easily
"No good life can or should
go by without a few quite open incidents of complete
breakdown. Moments when we pull up a white flag and
declare ourselves simply unable to cope or fulfill any
of our normal functions for a time."
When these breakdowns happen,
those around us, whether it be colleagues, friends, family,
or complete strangers, might think we've gone insane; that
we have some sort of illness.
But the video says it should be
seen as a sign of normality and health.
Breakdowns can vary depending on the person and the
It could be as passive as lying
in bed, staring at the ceiling for a long time, unusually
babbling on to anyone who will listen about out-of-the-box
feelings or ideas, wearing strange clothes, breaking out in
dance, shouting at the top of our lungs, letting fits of
laughter overcome us, making new friends that don't seem to
fit our lifestyles, and traveling to faraway destinations.
We should be able to tolerate
these phases, not freak out over them.
"We allow our bodies to have
moments of breakdown and rest. We should allow similar
moments for our minds," the video points out.
Another thought The School of
Life brings up is that we need moments of madness as a
corrective for the way we view ourselves in the world:
puppets meant to make a
certain amount of money by working ourselves to the
bone, toxic media clips that brainwash us into believing
we should, look, act, and feel a certain way or else we
are not worthy of attention or love.
The emphasis should be on how to
have a "good" mental breakdown, the video suggests. This
entails doing things that help us to reconnect with valuable
truths that our ordinary lives are preventing us from
These include: sexual
exploration, creativity, contact with our bodies, empathy, a
new kind of self-knowledge.
"The idea is that we should
return from the land of madness and plant in the fields
of apparent sanity a lot of pretty valuable seeds that
can bear fruit and sustain us," the video continues.
"We are not automatons, but
highly complicated, volatile collections of proteins
that needs careful and sympathetic administration. We
should expect that periods of madness just do belong to
every wise and good life."