5 Things to Remember About Mental Health Recovery #rwanda #RwOT #AdvanceHBDPawanKalyan

Written by Johnny Crowder (Introduction by Andy Reed)

Last year I published an interview with Johnny Crowder — frontman for alt-metal band Prison (formerly known as Dark Sermon), mental health advocate, and creator of text-based suicide prevention messaging application Cope Notes. We spoke about how he was using the app to fight suicide and spread mental health awareness amid a world held captive by an uncertain psychosocial climate.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, dedicated individuals like Johnny are taking longer strides to open the discussion on mental health awareness up to a larger audience, encouraging others on ways to improve their mental health through Tedx talks and educational YouTube videos. It takes courage to take a step forward sometimes, especially when it comes to interacting with our emotions and speaking out about it.

Society places a stigma on talking about personal mental health, perhaps to avoid making things awkward with others around us. We might not always recognize how or when to open up, but we can try. Because this is what progress looks like — having hard conversations — and it happens one step at a time.

To keep removing the barriers that prevent us from speaking openly about mental health, below, Johnny breaks down five statements that might apply to you, wherever you are on your journey. Life is tough. And you are tougher.

Here’s what Johnny suggests you keep in mind about your mental health:

1. “Why don’t I feel better yet?”

Let’s face it: We live in a generation where most things are pretty snappy. We can order sneakers to our doorstep, zap burritos in the microwave, and stream movies anytime our Wi-Fi decides to cooperate. And although we like to frame these conveniences as modern ills and pretend we’re not dependent on them, we all know the truth: We absolutely adore that so many things are this easy nowadays.

By contrast, this makes the timeline for mental, emotional, and physical change pretty unpalatable. I mean, if my phone can beam a meme to a friend on the other side of the planet in a matter of milliseconds, why the heck does it feel like it takes a lifetime to kick an old habit or kick-start a new one?

This “Why don’t I feel better yet” fallacy is simply tricking us into thinking that we’re failing if our progress doesn’t line up with the arbitrary schedule we invented for it.

The day after you plant a seed, you see nothing but the dirt the seed was planted in. For anything to grow, you can’t just give it soil, water, and sunlight and expect it to do the rest of the work by itself. Unfortunately for impatient folks like me, you also need to give it time — probably quite a bit of it. “Feeling better” isn’t the type of thing you can rush.

2. “Shouldn’t I have learned my lesson by now?”

With some things, we’re pretty adept learners. I only had to sprain my wrist one time to quit skateboarding altogether. But when it comes to relationships, I’ll forgive the same person 13 times in a row without noticing a pattern. Everyone around me can see it clear as day, but that’s probably because their heads and hearts aren’t all wrapped up in everything like mine are.

When heads and hearts start pushing and pulling, it makes change a bumpy ride. There’s lots of science behind why this is the case but rest assured that if it’s taking you a few tries to take that positive step in the right direction, you’re not alone. And the idea that we haven’t learned anything throughout our 13 recent “false starts” is completely bogus — we’re learning things every second of every day: Primarily, what hurts and what works. Whether or not we actually apply what we learn is another conversation altogether.

3. “It didn’t take them this long to get over it when they went through this.”

No, it didn’t. At least, not judging by what we can see from the outside. And, of course, operating under the assumption that they went through the same exact situation we are experiencing right now with the same exact people. Oh, and that they’re dealing with the same exact feelings, frustrations, hopes, worries, childhood experiences, family dynamics, friend groups, financial situations, employment arrangements traumas, personal triggers, motivations, habits (both good and bad)…

That seems pretty likely, right?


Comparing ourselves to other people, especially when it comes to health and recovery, can get sticky quickly. If no two fingerprints are the same, what makes us think our brains are so uniform?

4. “It’s all in my head.”

Yep. You’re right. It’s all in my head. In fact, that’s precisely what makes it so complex. It’s kind of like telling yourself: “Relax! You’re not drowning, the water is only in your lungs.”

The more we minimize topics like mental and emotional health, the more we set ourselves and our loved ones up for failure. The fact is that the things in my head are very real to me. We can’t just trivialize our thoughts and feelings by disconnecting the concepts of mental and emotional from the concept of health. They’re inseparable. You can’t wish away an unhealthy habit or an unwanted feeling any more than you can wish away a sprained ankle. That sucker needs to heal.

Yes, it’s in my head. And yes, it’s probably going to require some serious time, effort and attention to make some serious progress. But if you can name a better investment opportunity than my own health, let me know.

5. “I just need to snap out of it.”

When you’re struggling with a mental health issue, you can’t just “snap out of it.” While there’s always a chance you’ll fall backwards into that “Eureka!” moment you’ve been dreaming of that fixes things, it’s probably more likely you make progress step by step in your own time in ways that work best for you. If my experience is any indication, recovery really is a process in the truest sense of the word, and it takes a while. A long while. And that’s OK.

I always wanted a Eureka moment, but looking back, I never needed one. I never needed to hit rock bottom. I never needed a certification, a wake-up call, a turning point, a letter of approval. And neither do you.

If you have a chance to start today (and you do), start today.

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