Despair and depressive moods do not fit Börni Höhn's image. In Switzerland, she is known as a passionate musician and cheerful person who is bursting with energy, especially on stage. Her circle appreciates her as a reliable and caring friend - a sunshine who makes others laugh. Today, Börni feels closer to this version of herself again. Prior to this, however, lay numerous sleepless nights, many conversations and a bumpy journey in finding herself.
A destructive professional relationship, which also spilled over into her private life, caused Börni to slip unexpectedly into a depressed mood in the first year of the pandemic in 2020, which she had never experienced before. Her business partner and friend at the time promised her heaven on earth, brainstorming new ideas with her and making big plans for the businesses future, where she was heavily involved. "Gradually I noticed that he often didn't keep his promises, fabricated strange explanations and reasons for them, and constantly lied to me."
Since Börni had also brought people from her personal network on board as employees or as investors, a guilty conscience began to plague her. "When I realized that not everything was running cleanly in the company, I felt incredibly bad". Her attempts to remedy the situation, and prevent the worst from happening, failed when her partner ran off with the money.
"I felt naive and exposed. It hurt like hell."
Driven by her sense of responsibility, Börni threw herself head first into damage control, to ensure that no more people were harmed.
When the pandemic triggered the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, Börni - despite residing in the U.S. - was suddenly no longer allowed to travel back to her second home in Los Angeles. "I was stuck in Switzerland and lost in my attempt to limit the business damage. I wasn't performing anymore, and I wasn't meeting with my friends. If I did socialize, I was often told that I seemed sad and exhausted." The need to constantly explain her feelings, led her to meet with fewer friends, in order to avoid questions about her general well-being and health.
"If you're honest, everyone always wants to treat you in the same way. Nobody wants to just listen. But sometimes you just need a sympathetic ear and no suggestions for solutions."
Plagued by worries and her guilty conscience, she tossed and turned in bed for hours before she could fall asleep, pondering how this situation could have come about. The exhaustion of the sleepless nights carried over into days. Nothing brought her joy and she no longer saw any meaning in her existence. "There came a moment when I thought; if there is a button I could push without consequences, and the lights could just go out... I would do it. But I have a mother, a father and even more people who love me, and that stopped me."
"I knew at some point that I wasn't going to end my life, but I did struggle with the thought a lot. It was very upsetting."
In those dark moments, Börni also found support in God: "When you read the Bible, you realize that a lot of people sat in the shit for a long time and also blamed God. I could identify with that. And then I also believed again that I could endure that, too." When the worries that weighed on her heart like a mountain could hardly be borne any longer, Börni decided to get help.
"I didn't want to just book a therapy session at random. Someone was recommended to me, but that therapist was not available."
So the initial search for help came to nothing. Börni felt herself becoming more and more thin-skinned and less compassionate towards others - which was out of character for her, as she is a highly empathic individual. She lost her energy and the rest of her zest for life, and at some point realized that it couldn't go on like this. "Then came the phase of aimlessly trying to distract myself. I went hiking, out into nature and tried horseback riding. But these attempts at distraction also came to nothing."
That's when it became clear to her that she needed to attempt another run at seeking help. "One friend was particularly supportive towards me at the time. He was just there. He'd take me out for beers and just listen without trying to patch me up right away." This friend referred Börni to his father, who worked in counseling.
"From the first conversation, I had huge expectations. But it takes time for talk therapy to work. After all, it takes time to get into the whole predicament."
Börni realized that she first had to heal from the inside out: "Only then can you try to change circumstances where possible". She regained access to her musical side and started making music again as well as writing for others. "I don't exactly have to improve the world with my music. It already fills me with happiness knowing it touches so many individual people."
Through talk therapy and the joy of being there for others, Börni managed to stop her downward spiral. "Helping someone also means always helping each other. Shifting your focus from yourself to others in between doesn't always mean running away from your own problems."
"Giving to someone else has been the most beautiful salvation for me."
In the term 'content' there is also 'peace'. Börni has found her peace again. "I also find 'consciousness' an extremely beautiful term. To be conscious. One 'is' conscious, one 'lives' consciously and perceives everything - in all its facets." Today, Börni is happy with herself, her life and her dreams. The time she went through made her the person she is today and opened up new views and insights for her:
"Loneliness is a result of depression. Today I know that I have never been alone and will never be alone. I have learned to be ugly, to be sad, to accept pain, but never to give up."
"The highest accomplishment in life is to be at peace with oneself. In times, it can feel like banging and grasping all around, but I'll know I'm okay." What helps along the way? "Listening to your own body. Taking fatigue and exhaustion symptoms seriously. Nurturing your own soul. The body and mind are strong, but at some point, even they can't take it anymore. You can say no and look after yourself a lot more than you think, and when you say yes to something, you say it right and then it doesn't drain your energy, it gives you a whole lot of energy back."
Börni is a musician and entrepreneur based in Switzerland. From 2010 to 2020, she lived first in New York and later in Los Angeles to focus on her music. When the 2020 pandemic started, she moved back to Switzerland. In October 2022 she released her fourth album "Two Truths" and the single "I'm Alive", in which she processed her depression through music.
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