When I launched London Mind Fit my goal was to illustrate to those who need to hear it most that you can recover from mental health conditions. Not only can you recover, but it is important that you tell yourself that you can and that you will.
While not all mental health conditions are made equal, we are all human beings with will power living in a world where miracles happen everyday. My recovery from my mental health issues has seen great successes and true progress that I am so grateful for. All of the hard work that I have put into my healing process, including making this documentary, has been worth it because of where I stand in regards to my health today.
I am stronger than before, I am wiser than before, and I am disciplined about my mental health regimens. While every day is a new day to tackle obstacles and experience growth, sometimes decisive action is what need, sometimes rest is exactly what we require, and sometimes expressing your truth is what we need to move forward. Learning how to listen to your body, mind and intuition and respond accordingly is how you can best learn how to take care of yourself. At the end of the day, we all have our own very specific, wants, desires and needs.
Remember the saying, “where there’s a will there’s a way?” Remember that the next time it feels like your path has lost light and you cannot see the rest of the way. Ask yourself, can I see the next step? And if the answer is yes, take baby steps and crawl until the lights come back on and you’re sprinting down a clear path of reality again.
Watch #MentalHealth: A Documentary today on YouTube and please share this documentary with your loved ones, especially if you believe that there is someone that it can help.
While I am definitely a member of the mental health community, I am now also officially a certified support for those experiencing mental health struggles as well.
The Be There Certificate is a jack.org and Born This Way Foundation (i.e. Lady Gaga’s Foundation) creation that is free of charge! This course is 100% available and accessible to anyone with internet connection! So yes, if you’re thinking you may want to do this… You absolutely should!
Just go to betherecertificate.org to get started on becoming a better support for those with mental health struggles (including yourself).
After finishing this course I feel more confident in my ability to be there for someone else. Thank you Lady Gaga, The Born This Way Foundation and jack.org for putting this course together. You are undoubtedly going to help many people in need of comfort and support during times of mental tumult, uncertainty, and pain.
We all need an ally when we are going through it, and now I am a certified ally.
Los Angeles is known for its sunshine, but when I think of L.A. sun I immediately think of a dynamic ray of light coming from Cali called Kibbi Linga!
Kibbi Linga is a beyond talented artist, sharing her emotional artistic process online for all to see! Kibbi is a mental health warrior who paints through her PTSD pain and creates stunning pieces of artwork that are visual representations of what she feels inside. Her ability to express herself through art is even more impressive after you hear Kibbi’s responses to my 5 Questions!
I asked Kibbi if she wanted to participate in my new interview segment called “5 Questions With” and she thankfully agreed! I have wanted to interview Kibbi Linga for London Mind Fit since the website’s creation because Kibbi is so open about her mental health diagnosis and her therapeutic creative process. I knew that the interview would be abundant in wisdom and Kibbi did not disappoint! I asked my 5 burning questions and received a treasure trove of insight!
You and I both suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and yet it is possible that our experiences of the condition are almost completely different. For instance, I get night terrors and flashbacks, but it is possible that you do not suffer from either and could still have PTSD. Over the years I have been able to find mechanisms to manage these symptoms, some days with greater success than others. Can you share with London Mind Fit readers what your experience of PTSD is like and how you have learned to work with this mental health condition?
My main experience with PTSD is underlying emotional pain. For me, it showed up in many ways! Prior to embracing recovery, until age 30 I was exhibiting many dysfunctional and self destructive behaviors. Until recovery, I lived in a world of denial so as I started to embrace truth and my denial slowly shed, many new symptoms occurred! I personally have a very chronic case of PTSD, so I acknowledge that not all symptoms may be relatable, but for me I had many night sweats, insomnia, flashbacks (one I couldn’t escape and had to go to the emergency room), irritability, a compulsion to control, a heartbreak from uncovering truth, a dislocated jaw, and extremely tight muscles. It sounds hopeless, but for me I’ve been blessed with many miracles since and many of these symptoms have subsided.
2. At what stage in your recovery did you discover art as a therapeutic outlet? Have you always been an artist?
I found art 6 months into my recovery, in May of 2019. I was never an artist before because I grew up in a very rigid upbringing that taught me not to talk or express myself. When I started painting, I remembered my dreams as a child of becoming an artist to escape my emotional pain. My dream has been becoming more true every day, as well as my progress in healing. As a child, I wanted to use art to escape my upbringing and its impact on me and it’s happening today. For this, I am so grateful.
3. Your artistic process is inspiring to watch! Not only because of the methods you use to paint, nor the beautiful paintings created by the end, but you literally often work through your emotions on the camera as well. What inspired you to show that raw, real, and sometimes very emotional process on camera? How does it feel to create and share that process?
It feels amazing to share the whole process! Exposing my truth and art heals me just as much as creating it! I am saddened that I don’t have the time right now to create more YouTube videos expressing my process, but I have faith that I’ll be able to return in the future! What inspires me to be raw, real, emotional or vulnerable on camera is the healing that I gain from it. When I expose my true self, I heal. It feels scary to do, but I hold faith that it will heal me, and it always does to some degree! When I paint, I aim to manifest my pain into something beautiful, and I find that being authentic, raw and vulnerable helps me get there! That’s not to say it’s easy, but it does help my “I don’t give a F what people think” muscle that I get to continually strengthen!
4. In one of your latest Instagram posts you mention that “social media is a substantial tool” in your healing process. Can you explain to LMF readers how you have been able to use social media in a healing way and how they could possibly do the same?
Social media has been a (safe enough) place for me to express my art, get validated for it and find a lot of support and encouragement! I started Instagram because my feelings and truth were so unimaginable and ugly that I struggled to receive validation. In essence, I knew that my art pieces were my feelings, so I sought out validation from social media. Did I just log on one day, post my art and receive the validation I was looking for? No, I still had to “search” for it. I found other supportive souls or artists to connect with on instagram, spent time engaging on the platform to grow, etc. As a result, many people validated my art (my feelings) which REALLY helped me in the beginning of my recovery because nobody else could validate me. As my social media journey continued, I’ve expanded platforms and use them all the same way. I have truly found a lot of love, support, encouragement, inspiration and unity on the social media platforms! The more love and authenticity I put out there, the more love and healing I receive. I am grateful for social media in my recovery!
5. What do you think one of the most common misconceptions are about those with PTSD specifically and mental health conditions in general?
This is a sensitive area for me, because I am saddened by my own observations that society’s attitude is “don’t talk” and “dont’ feel.” To me, this is denying the disease and others’ pain. I’ve heard many people from acquaintances to mental health professionals tell me that I don’t have PTSD, until it became evident. In short, I think PTSD is widely denied, yet the reason why there is evil in the world today. We, as a whole, are not treating trauma and it is being repeated generationally. In my utopia, when someone wants to be heard, they would be heard! As negative as my answer may seem, my hope is that whoever reads this has a piece of my heart filled with hope and faith that they can find the validation and recovery path that they need. I believe recovery is there for anyone who wants it, despite society! As far as society’s misconceptions on mental health conditions in general, I am more hopeful. I find that people judging me while I’m being brave and embracing pain is probably their own projection. I don’t care, especially when I get to choose not to have them in my life. I am excited to say that I’m witnessing more and more people embrace mental and spiritual health, making it the “new sexy.” I have A LOT of hope in regards to dampening the overall, negative mental health stigma that most of us are used to. To end, I have hope and believe that love always wins!
I waited a good few months to record this episode of London Mind Fit Sessions. In fact, I probably waited longer than that to be honest. The main thing that I needed to see on a personal level before recording a video about reality was what was going to happen at The Inauguration on January 20th, 2021. I needed to see Joe Biden become President.
I was concerned about the safe transition of power in The United States for some time, but never did I expect for the events of January 6th, 2021 on Capitol Hill to transpire. None of us did. While the tensions in The US have been running high for quite some time, the symptoms of such vitriol and hatred can only be manifested the way ugliness can, by rearing its head in unpredictable and perverse ways.
We all experienced a trauma on January 6th, no matter where you were around the globe. That is our reality. And so, with that in mind, in the second episode of London Mind Fit Sessions I will introduce reality and two very important distinctions I make in understanding how it functions. Then we will look at the events on Capitol Hill and the Impeachment Trial as an example of a communal trauma. And finally, I will relay a message to anyone who is struggling, giving insight on ways to possibly regain balance.
Watch the video below and feel free to share with anyone who you think this video may help!
I interact with a lot of mental health media on a daily basis. If you have curated your social media content to look like mine does now, then you get updated often when something new surfaces in the community. But if you don’t, I am here to share a gem with you today in your path towards healing. Peace of Mind With Taraji on Facebook Watch is as refreshing as it is enlightening. One of my favorite things about the show, is that Taraji is unafraid to be candid and open about a subject as typically hidden as mental health.
When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I had no idea what I was in for. And every day since then, I have been navigating this path of living with the effects of trauma but never giving up on having a healthy mind. The whole mantra of this website is “I can recover, I will recover,” which I can say like a broken record (and will). The thing is though, sometimes you need to see it in motion for yourselves.
Cue Taraji P. Henson’s new show Peace of Mind with Taraji. The show delves deep into often taboo or stigmatized subject matters such as PTSD, suicide, and rape but it does so in a way that is different from other media. Something that I pointed out when I was a guest on The Eric Ibey Podcast is that these conversations don’t have to be all dark and dismal, there can be light moments within a difficult conversation. I believe that Peace of Mind with Taraji captures that necessity for mental health discussions.
I want to tell you what prompted me to write this post right now and why I believe it is so important to do so. A lot of people are struggling mentally at the moment, so I want to caveat what I am about to say with that.
I was on Facebook doing a regular scroll down the timeline when I saw a post from The Source Magazine. It was an article written about Taraji P. Henson. The headline reads, “Taraji P. Henson Reveals She Contemplated Suicide During The Pandemic.” I had seen this news in headlines a few times before since the media has been sharing it almost everywhere, but a comment on this one prompted me to read the article. The comment reads, “I don’t want to hear that shit. She is richer than rich and I’m sure she wasn’t all alone or completely staying in the house.“
I would like to address this comment in its entirety. The first message in this comment is that wealthy people do not suffer mentally. The second message is that only those who are “all alone” are given license to suffer mentally. And the third message is that staying in the house at all times is the only circumstance that gives you permission to suffer mentally. The circumstantial nature of this comment is a fallacy. Wealthy people suffer mentally. People who are alone and with company are suffering mentally. And those who are both staying in the house at all times or not have equal permission to suffer mentally.
We are in a pandemic. Times have gotten dark for almost all of us at some point or another during this time period in our history. What is important is that we do not place shame on anyone for any divisive reason we can think of, especially one as lacking in relevancy as socio-economic status.
People from all walks of life can and do deal with mental health conditions on a daily basis. We are all survivors.
After I read the Facebook comment, I went further and read The Source Magazine article about Taraji. After reading that article I took it one step further and finally sat down to watch both episodes of Peace of Mind with Taraji. I knew that I wanted all of the context before deciding to share this post with you. As. I watched the show, and my tears began to flow as I related on so many counts, I also felt relief that there is work being done to destigmatize mental health in an effective way.
This type of work takes a lot of bravery. I would like to thank every single woman on the show for sharing their experiences in order to raise awareness for such silenced topics.
Taraji discuss her thoughts of suicide during the pandemic in the video below.
My recommendation is to watch all 4 videos with comprehension of the heroism it takes to be that open and vulnerable.
In order to heal we must actively do the work and seek out the resources that will help us improve our mental wellness. Well, now you can add a new show to your list.
Tune into Monday’s episode with the iconic Mary J. Blige!
The journey you take in this life may feel as though you walk it all alone, and in some of the most beautiful ways, sure you do… but, even though there may be moments where you are in a room all alone, or rather are in a room with someone else and feel all alone, you in fact are not.
Isolation is an incredible deception because it tells you that you are the only person going through what you are experiencing. Yes, there are unique factors to the situation you find yourself in, it is after all your life; however, in reality, there are roughly 7.8 billion people on the planet, and many are experiencing the same thing as you are, just different versions.
I’ll never forget when I spoke at a Reclaim Your Voice event in Toronto back in 2016. I discussed my experience being hospitalized for mental health issues against my will and how difficult that was for my trust connections afterwards. At Reclaim Your Voice events, participants will write down notes for the speakers to read when the day is done. I received a note from one person in the group saying that while I was speaking about the psych ward and what happened with my family, he felt as though I was describing his life. He thanked me for speaking that day and then the note came to a close. I will never forget looking at the cue card sized note and thinking to myself, “wow, other people have been through this as well. I am not alone.“
Isolation is a liar, and a popular one at that. Feelings of being alone in your experience are not necessarily accurate.Yes, you may experience periods of solitude or even estrangement from others in your life, but even in that solo journey comes the reality that others are going at it alone as well.
This holiday season, do what is right by you when you celebrate. Make the day special for you even if you cannot be with your loved ones outside of your home. Do something you love to do, or even just something comforting, and enjoy your time to yourself. 2020 has presented unique challenges for us all, and even though we are all going through it alone, we are still in this together.
It’s been a while since I have posted on London Mind Fit. That has been deliberate. I was going through a lot on my own and didn’t feel it was appropriate to bring you on that potentially tumultuous journey with me. I was right.
Back at the beginning of lockdowns, I began to think about how to create a mental health mini-podcast series. I wanted for it to be on point, which means that I needed to be. Finally, the first episode of London Mind Fit Sessions has come together! The subject matter for the first episode is one that is heavy to a lot of people within the mental health field: diagnosis.
To watch or listen to the first episode of London Mind Fit Sessions click play below.
Start at the root of the issue and analyze the effects of that epicenter.
Retrain your thoughts.
The process begins with the will to not be ruled by what isn’t truly real.
Mental health is more than a hashtag or a slogan, it is a necessary topic for conversation because it is such a “mystery” to so many. Whenever people recover from a mental health ordeal it is always a case of “how did they do it!?” or “it’s a miracle!!” While yes, it is God-sent in my opinion, it is not as enigmatic as some may make it seem. There are active things that you can do to build your mental strength. And on that same train of thought, there are active things that you can do to regain control of your thought processes. One such area that can be tackled, (and needs to be approached in that direct of a manner) is triggers. Triggers are deceptive as f*ck. They take truths and cloak them into lies rooted in paranoia. But like everything that can feel insurmountable, the process begins with BABY STEPS.
Now, first off, I want for you to be very conscious of the fact that dismantling your triggers involves a lot of emotional work. It requires rigorously monitoring your thoughts and actions until it becomes second nature. But YOU CAN DO THIS! Learning how to break down what sets off negative mental patterns is a highly empowering experience because, it allows you to live in what is true and real as opposed to what your deceptive associations dictate. When you begin, remember to BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Pull out the tissues if you need to and get busy working on what it is that has been controlling you.
Grab a pen.
Grab some paper.
And get to work!
The work that you will be doing will help you in every aspect of your life. When you look your triggers straight in the face, you show yourself that you are not afraid. You are choosing to not be afraid of what is going on around you and what is going on inside of you.
I dove head first into my triggers and rode the wave all the way through. Whether or not that was the right way to do it, I can’t be sure. But, here I am on the other side. I did meet some people along the way who were able to get through to me when my triggers had taken control. I am grateful to those people. I am grateful for the mirrors they held up to my face that forced me to see myself when more than a fog had set in.
Triggers can be highly disorienting. They can set you on a path of self-destruction that, if you had the tools in your mental health toolbox to deal with them prior, could have been avoided. This is what I am talking about when I refer to preventative measures. This is what is necessary for the future of our society. We need to approach mental health education as being necessary for our youth. It needs to equip our children with the knowledge of how to deal with mental struggles because let’s face it: we all struggle mentally at one point or another in our lifetimes. Whether it is a breakup, grieving from a death, or the results of trauma, we all go through some form of mental turmoil at one point or another in our lives. While most can relate on that point, not all of us experience intense and overwhelming triggers to the extent that they need to be unpacked. Well, there is no shame in being a part of that group, but it is a shame when you deny your membership because then you deny yourself optimal functioning and happiness.
If you need help, reach out to someone you trust. Do research on exactly what your issue is. Do not pull the ostrich approach when it comes to your triggers, your head deserves to be clear.
Healing is a process that begins with identifying a problem. Tupac Shakur diagnosed what he saw in the streets with his concept of “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.” When you look at those two words together you can potentially think one thing, but in reality 2pac broke the term down letter by letter to mean something that most people I encounter do not expect. The acronym stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everyone.” And in my opinion, there is no truer talk.
I have always loved Tupac. Ever since I first heard “Changes” on the radio I fell in love with his music and Hip-Hop as a whole. But, it wasn’t until I heard about T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. that I realized just how intertwined my purpose is with what Pac was talking about.
The hate people give children is what creates the pain we encounter daily in society today. Until the issues 2pac was addressing with T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. are properly addressed in our social system, we will continue to see hurt, and pain, and suffering.
I found out the meaning of the acronym around the time that I was working on my theory for the promotion of children’s rights, The Child-Centric Framework (CCF). CCF utilizes dominant psychological theories of human development to drive the point home that the relationships we have as children affect the dynamics we experience with others throughout our lives. CCF draws on the evolving nature of the social conception of the child and the proven effectiveness of macro level policy changes to help guide that evolution. I focused on this theory for a year, and realized at a certain point, that I was addressing 2pac’s concept of T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E with The Child-Centric Framework. CCF promotes child empowerment for an end result of healthy societal functioning. It is a perspective to begin a conversation from.
Tamir Rice would have turned 18 this week. 18. He would have finally become an adult. This week, as if almost overnight, Tamir Rice would have acquired all of the rights and responsibilities of being an adult in this world such as, the freedom to make his own decisions. But, because he was playing with a toy gun in a park, and was Black, he was shot by police and died as a result. Tamir Rice was 12 years old.
In 2012 Trayvon Martin was killed. People can play guessing games all they want as to why my mental health suffered at that time but they would be wrong. It was Trayvon’s death that I couldn’t handle. When I heard of his death, all I heard in my mind was a child being murdered. I had seen so many deaths and instances of police brutality online that when Trayvon was killed I broke open. That’s when I wrote my first rap verse. That’s when I turned to Hip-Hop to survive.
Tamir Rice was 12 when he died. Trayvon Martin was 17. Tamir Rice was playing, and Trayvon Martin was just getting Skittles. Please let that sink in. Do not forget their names because they were both someone’s sons and they were both valuable human beings in their own right.
Since George Floyd’s death, I have not known what to say publicly on this website, because I have mostly been having thoughtful conversations in private about it. But when I saw the above meme, “Healing comes from repairs. We need a systemic repair.” a quote by Mily Gomez, LPC, I knew how to contribute to this discourse properly.
Healing is something that needs to be done actively, so that eventually it can be done automatically, in order to allow you to proceed to the next level. Consider the concept of healing a physical injury, there are concrete stages that you take dependent on the type and severity. Well, our entire system is injured, so we must take steps in order to achieve the end result that we want, which is a healed new system.
When it comes to police brutality what we are seeing is generational policies embedded in white privilege isolating and targeting Black communities. As a collective, we cannot accept this as daily life. In a world that is over half a century down the road since the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that outlines the rights of every citizen globally, how can we accept the systematic murders of innocent people for any reason. How can we accept the ignorance of racism being as rampant as it is in countries as wealthy as the United States, where it is commonplace to be harassed simply for being Black. Just as Tupac identified the root issue of T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E., we must identify the root issue that is plaguing every single one of us, every single day, due to the fact that racism can spread like diffusion. It can poison the mind, and it can create bias that costs others their livelihoods and even their lives.
The truth seekers are those who either actively or innately lift the veil of the lies that bind us and prevent us from living our lives more fully. The truth seekers can change the world, because to live in an ignorant state of any kind is to set yourself up for either failure of a major kind, or a sheltered and inaccurate existence.
As a starting point for a conversation about the root issues in our system, look at where the most pain resides. If you listen to 2pac’s music you will notice that he is often talking about pain, particularly the pain that he sees in his own life and his own community. Begin your journey of looking for solutions to the problem. Begin with T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E
Then, as a next step, think about The Child-Centric Framework as a springboard perspective to approach your problem solving for the issue. And from there, let your mind soar.
While thinking about potential solutions, think freely. Allow yourself to let a train of thought fail, so that you can eventually get to the one that does not. Trial and error is a process, and trial and error is often a process that is required in order to find the answer that succeeds in solving the problem.
I do not know the cure to racism. I do not know the cure to all of the root systemic issues that infect our society. I do not know how to solve all of our problems. But I do know some things when it comes to human rights. And I know that the bottom line is that everyone deserves to have them, not just those whose complexion matches the authority’s opinion of who should receive fair treatment.
The Child-Centric Framework was created in response to my identification of a mental health crisis across the globe. I saw a problem and I chose to address it by creating a framework based on a hunch. I knew that children’s rights was a part of the answer, it just wasn’t until I dove into the research, finished the theory, and then delved deeper into 2pac’s concept of T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. that I realized just how potentially powerful CCF truly is.
Racism is an issue that affects everything, because like Pac said, “the hate you give little infants f*cks everyone”.