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3 Ways Twenty One Pilots' Music Influenced My Mental Health

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After being introduced to Twenty One Pilots in 2015, I quickly became a huge fan of their music. Not only were their songs catchy, but the lyrics touched on various mental health subjects in a way I hadn’t heard before. With lines such as, “’…Cause sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind,” and, “Peace will win and fear will lose,” I was officially hooked. Sorry not sorry for sounding cliche, but their music kind of changed my life. The more I listened to them, the more they became a form of support I didn’t know I needed. Now, I can wholeheartedly say, “If it wasn’t for this music I don’t know how I would have fought this.” They have helped me through a lot. So in honor of the battles they’ve helped me win, I put together a list of the top three ways they have influenced my mental health.

1. Their music became a vital coping mechanism.

I may have joined the “clique” a little late in the game, but their music ended up having a massive impact on me anyways. Much like other people around the same time, I was a big fan of their album “Blurryface” and for my 26th birthday, I was on a mission to find that album. However, upon arriving at the record store, they only had a single copy of their previous album, “Vessel.” I was a little disappointed but looking back at the experience, this was the album I desperately needed at the time. I wasn’t yet experienced with exploring my own mental health issues and songs like “Car Radio,” “Migraine,” and “Ode To Sleep” really kept my head afloat.

This album became an anchor on my mentally demanding days where I felt myself randomly leaping out of my body. Tyler’s excellence in rapping gave my mind something to focus on as I trained myself to keep up with his speed, tone and pronunciation as best as I could. This album got me through a lot and will always have a place in my heart. But that doesn’t mean “Blurryface” wasn’t special as well. Some months later I ordered the album through Amazon and I was ecstatic. It was a great album, but as time moved forward, I started to feel uncomfortable listening to it. I assumed it was nonsense and kept listening anyways despite the headaches. Even though this album was a bit upbeat like the previous one, there was something about the personification about “Blurryface” that seemed to tug at my own issues. After understanding that difference, I realized this was an album I clearly couldn’t get through until I was in the right head space. A year and a half later, I was finally “there.” I took this as a sign of the things to come and I was right. I began facing my own demons and this album helped carry me through it just as “Vessel” had carried me through my anxiety. All in all, both albums played an important role in my recovery and continue to do so today.

2. They show that despite what you’re battling, you’re still able to create amazing things.

It’s no secret that the boys, Tyler and Josh, both struggle with mental health issues of their own. Tyler has spoken many times about “Blurryface” and the significance of the character. Their openness about their struggles means a lot to those who find themselves in similar situations. And with how fast and wide their fan base has grown, it’s empowering to see two people struggling with these things while simultaneously creating meaningful work. For a band with only two people on it, it’s obvious how much work they put into their craft, and thus inspiring an entire fan base to do the same. Their lyrics have inspired writers, photographers, painters and more to express themselves in the best way they know – through art. They show that no matter what you’re struggling with, you’re still able to create something worthwhile.

3. Their authenticity is contagious.

Even though I’ve been a fan of the band for the past two years, I’ve only had a few moments where I felt completely awe in them and their authenticity. Late one night, after binge-watching interviews on YouTube, I came across a video montage of their past shows. This was nothing new, but the video ended with a quote that read, “We wanted our shows to be more about others than ourselves, creating an unpredictable but always beautiful dance with the people in the crowd. Honesty and authenticity work, and as it turns out, people want to be part of that.” Even as I type this, I can feel the goosebumps traveling up my arms. More specifically, it was the end of that quote that got me right in the feels.

Nowadays, it seems like those two qualities are so rare that they make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a unicorn in hiding. They approach everything from their interviews to interacting with their fans to performing in a way that feels so different from any other band out there. In addition to their remarkable showmanship, during their Emotional Roadshow tour, they played a short vignette on the big screen showing just how far they’ve come. The video showed a young Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph trying to change a tire on their trailer and then later it shows the two boys playing for a crowd of maybe less than ten people. The video is reminiscent of their music video for “Ode To Sleep where the boys are playing for a similar sized crowd. But one major thing has remained the same over the years, which is their obvious commitment to their craft and energy. 

No matter how famous they get or how big the venues become, they clearly have been putting in the same effort since the beginning. But my favorite thing they have done thus far was accepting an award at the Grammy’s in their underwear. Rest assured, this wasn’t because of the obvious lack of clothing, but more so the story behind it. Once the boys reached the stage, Tyler recalled a time when the boys were watching the Grammys (in their underwear of course), when Josh turned to him and said, “‘You know if we ever go to the Grammys, if we ever win a Grammy, we should receive it just like this.” And in that moment, as Tyler told that story, I felt like a proud parent. They not only won something in honor of their hard work, but they accepted it in a way that was true to themselves .

To conclude, the boys have done a lot for me over the years, way more than I could even list here. They have been a constant reminder to stay alive, to face my own demons, to laugh, to stay authentic and to appreciate my close friendships. It’s inspiring to see two people work so hard for what they want and to essentially remain the same people since the beginning. I may not know them personally, but from everything I have seen, read and heard about them, they seem like two amazing dudes and I cannot thank them enough for helping me face my own “Blurryface.”

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Lead photo via twenty one pilots’ Facebook page

Originally published: July 18, 2017
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