Have you ever just heard a song that describes something so well that you've been trying to put into words for so long and it's just so perfect?
Thank you, Twenty One Pilots.
"Am I the only one I know? Waging my wars behind my face and above my throat.
Shadows will scream that I'm alone."
"I am not as fine as I seem pardon
me for yelling I'm telling you green gardens
are not what's growing in my psyche
it's a different me
a difficult beast feeding on burnt down trees
please let me paint a mental picture portrait
something you won't forget, it's all about my forehead
and how it is a door that holds back contents
that make Pandora's box's contents look non-violent."
Wow, where to begin. Tyler and Josh of Twenty One Pilots really just get it. Their music is upbeat and energetic, but the lyrics really make you think. Break them down line by line and it all starts to relate to you. Funny thing is, Tyler and I have something in common- From what I've read, Tyler suffers from depression, and possibly other mental illness. He is a phenomenal poet and musician and his words are so resonating and catchy because they are real. Regardless of his clinical diagnosis, the lyrics of his songs, mainly this one, sum up depression in ways that I've been trying to for years. Takes one to know one, I suppose. It is extremely refreshing to know that someone else "gets it". With depression and anxiety comes loneliness, because no one else can comprehend exactly how you feel. I have no idea how Tyler experiences his mental illness; it could be very similar or very different from me. But we do share the fact that it is scary and debilitating and terrifying.
Everyday I wake up and put on a mask and tell the world that I am okay when I am actually struggling to remain standing. "I am not as fine as I seem" My thoughts are not normal, fine, or dandy. "I'm telling you green gardens are not what's growing in my psyche" Mental illness is not a choice, it is the result of brain abnormalities and unbalances chemicals. The neurons in the brain fire too much or not enough. Google a picture of a neuron, they look like trees. Those complicated little suckers can affect so much, and it is easy for fear to feed on the fact that these little trees aren't working properly. "A difficult beast feeding on burnt down trees" In mental illness, your mind turns against you. You cannot control it. It's evil and everything around you turns evil as well. "How it is a door that holds back contents that make Pandora's box's contents look non-violent" (Side note: In Greek mythology, Pandora had a jar filled with all of the evils of the world.. fascinating analogy.)
"Behind my eyelids are islands of violence
my mind's shipwrecked, this is the only land my mind could find.
I did not know it was such a violent island
full of tidal waves, suicidal crazed lions.
They're trying to eat me, blood running down their chin
and I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win."
Violence, fear, sadness, panic, paranoia. That's what I see with my depression goggles on. I try so hard to think of anything else. People think it's easy to just stay positive or not to worry. It's not easy. I'm stranded. "Behind my eyelids are islands of violence my mind's shipwrecked, this is the only land my mind could find" But it more than darkness and tears, I'm being attacked. I'm alone and weak and evil takes advantage of that, dying to take me down. Mental illness feeds off of weakness, hoping that you'll get caught in the current and be swept away. "I did not know it was such a violent island; full of tidal waves, suicidal crazed lions"
"and I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win" Strength, Hope, Resilience.
It is possible to overcome mental illness. But it takes effort and work and, if you don't put up a fight, it will win. Believe me.
"I begin to assemble what weapons I can find
cause sometime to stay alive you got to kill your mind."
I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are not your thoughts, and your thoughts are not who you are. I promise you that there are weapons big enough and strong enough to fight even the most persistent lion. It may not seem like it now, because there's a hungry lion standing in front of you, but once you put up a fight to that beast, you can win. Losing to mental illness is not the only option. There have been many times when I let myself believe that I will be defined by my anxiety and panic attacks for the rest of my life. But then I found my bow and arrow and began to attack it and even though it comes back over and over again, I've injured it and I've learned its weakness and I am able to take it down faster than before. And my hope is that one day it'll just give up and stop trying, or that I'll be successful in the attempts to kill my own mind. But until that day comes...
"And I will say that we should take a day to break away
from all the pain our brain has made
the game is not played alone.
And I will say that we should take a moment and hold it
and keep it frozen and know that life has a hopeful undertone.
Am I the only one I know? Waging my wars behind my face and above my throat.
Shadows will scream that I'm alone.
But I know we've made it this far, kid."
Fight the good fight. You are not alone. Life has optimism. Embrace the happy. Remember it. Freeze it.
You've made it this far. Keep going.
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