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What a car crash taught me about mental health

KOII is an electro-pop artist from Berlin. Her second single, “Alien” has just been released.

A few years ago (actually more than 10 years ago already… time flies) I had a really bad car accident. My family and I were on our way to a summer house in the South of France to spend some time at the côte before winter was about to hit Germany. We had a beautiful old VW van and enjoyed the ride towards the sun. My sister was driving, my parents sat in the middle and my best friend and I were sitting in the back. We decided to drive “through” the night, my parents and my sister alternated so that each one could catch at least some hours of sleep. In the middle of the highway suddenly one wheel burst and we fell over to the left side. As they told me later, my father screamed and shouted, asking in panic if everyone was alive and we all affirmed. A few seconds later six cars crashed into ours and… silence.

I don’t really remember anything. First thing’s first: everyone made it. Each of us with some broken bones and more or less heavy injuries but we were all alive. One vertebrae of my back (spine) was broken and I lost my short term memory because of the collision. My brothers told me later that I read the same magazine over and over again, as I always forgot that I had already read it before. I still don’t remember that much of my childhood (and I have tears in my eyes when I think about that) yet over time many memories came back. Today I don’t really enjoy riding a car on highways, it gives me a strange feeling of a possibility to lose control – but I do it when I have to.

My mother is a psychiatrist and I learned a lot from her. I know that the accident was a true trauma and that I should have seen a therapist. I actually did, but only one or two times, as I didn’t like her and felt kind of ashamed. Today I know that I should have done this therapy cos even I never admitted, this incident did something to me and my mental state. Today I know that mental health is so important.

For me, mental health includes emotional, psychological and social wellbeing and living/feeling in balance with all different pillars of life. points out the early warning signs of mental health. From “pulling away from people and usual activities”, “having low or no energy”, “feeling numb or like nothing matters” to “feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared”, “feeling helpless or hopeless” or “smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual” they list about 15 indications.

I would call myself a very happy person but when I think about it, I definitely have some issues. But who doesn’t?

I am singer, songwriter and founder so I’m always pretty busy. When times are really stressful, I tend to get petite panic attacks. I then feel my heart beating loud in my ears, I feel lost and can’t really focus on one thing, to be quite honest in these situations my mind feels really chaotic – I hate that feeling. But I learned to talk about that. My close friends know literally everything about me and I learned that talking helps a lot. I need my space to breathe and refuel so nowadays I make sure to get enough room to reset.

As an artist I want to speak up for those who are afraid of talking. You are not alone, we are in this together. Even if everything is shiny on the outside, everyone knows these situations. I want to empower women to support each other and spread love vibes instead of fear or hate. It might sound cheesy but if you think about it, life is way too short for not spreading a good vibe. So here is some advice I wish anyone would reconsider:

You are not alone. Learn to talk about your feelings, sharing your thoughts always helps.

Keep away from bad energy people and stay in your own magic. Most importantly, don’t worry too much what others may think about you.

If you are a happy, healthy person: Don’t judge or talk about others badly if you don’t really know them.

And last but not least: spread a good vibe and energy. Love is all we have.