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.
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!
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.
I recently saw a tweet that said something about being cautious when it comes to “toxic positivity” in the spiritual community. The point of the tweet was to make the reader aware that it doesn’t have to be “good vibes” all of the time and that being human involves feeling low in some moments. Some healers make it seem as though they are constantly happy, and maybe for some it is not an act but most human beings experience highs and lows. Some experience highs and lows in greater extremes; however, for the most part we all respond to stimuli that is positive and negative that has an effect on our emotional regulatory systems and mental health patterns.
My last post was about being sexually assaulted by someone that I cared about, and while it may be difficult for some to read it is important that you know that just because someone is a mental health advocate does not mean that they are “cured.” If anything, it means that they have a certain level of insight into mental health and are advocating based on that knowledge set. Some people advocate based on personal experience, others because it is the people they love who are afflicted and so on and so forth. Every source has a particular reason for speaking out…mine is that I’ve come so far and feel as though I can help others through sharing my story.
At this site, I want for you to feel as though your mind is sparked on the subject of mental health. I want for these words to instil thinking, and hopefully healthy thinking in the long-term. Everyone is on a mental health journey whether they recognize it or not, but this website is particularly intended for those who are on that journey actively. I am looking to reach those who want to be reached, not those who are close-minded. This is not a diss, but a strong alliance I have for people who are “in the thick of it.” People who have gone so deep they see no way out. I was one of those people. Hope pulled me out of it and faith kept me going.
Sometimes with mental health issues it can feel like there is no rulebook for regaining stability. The truth is the path to get well is really deep within you. It is rooted to your happiness and learning to follow that path in order to bring positivity into your life and higher vibrations to your being. Happiness smiles through all of your cells. Speak kind words to yourself, be patient with your path back to you if it is going slowly. Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither is a mind that needs to be rebuilt after a struggle.
I want to leave you with one final thought. Mental health issues can be likened to a house fire. Imagine your mind is your home and there is a fire in one of the rooms of the house. There are multiple options for how this fire can be put out, and there are multiple scenarios for how much damage this fire can potentially do. This is like your mind in crisis. If the issue is dealt with correctly, swiftly, and with care, there could be minimal damage requiring few repairs. However, if the fire becomes out of control, is not dealt with in an appropriate time or manner, the fire can devastate the home and potentially burn it to the ground. Now, either way, we assume in this scenarios that the person survives the fire, however, they still need a home. They have the funds to rebuild (i.e. the physical capacity/inner will) and they have options for how to rebuild their mind.
The fire in my mind required me to rebuild my mind entirely. I sought to have as sound of an infrastructure as prior to my mental health issues, filled with even greater knowledge sets and skills sets structured to fulfill my purpose in this life. This looked like doing self-interviews in real life, reading books on mental health, watching documentaries, creating as much as I could, and praying to God that I would get my mind back.
Trauma may be able to set a fire, but you have the power to put it out. If you need help from a professional there is no shame in that, my best advice however is to thoroughly research the individuals you are going to entrust with your care. You are in charge of your mind, the work you put in to make it stronger, and the knowledge you feed it to make it wiser.
Feel your power, claim it, and own your experience.
This morning marks 8 years since I survived my first night in a psychiatric unit of a hospital. Well, an emergency psychiatric unit to be specific. I say “survived” because not everyone is so lucky. My first night sleeping within the cold foreboding confines of a hospital ward, designed to detain those in heightened mental states, was exactly as you would expect. The first 24 hours from the moment I stepped foot into the hospital until the following afternoon were composed of straight horror film scenarios, except it was real life.
Between the tall male that had just been released from prison who was warning me that where we were was “worse” casually bringing up rape, to the heavy-set woman who tried to choke me out in my sleep, I knew shit was f*cked. Worst of all, no one was taking my personal testimony on something as private as my own thoughts, and there were no psychologists or therapists to speak to at all. Just a shrew of a psychiatrist who diagnosed me within 20 minutes of arrival. I spent most of that 24 hours frantic about my new reality, and for the other portion of time I drew “universes”.
I sat on my hospital bed in a communal room where for the first time in my life I was being observed under harsh circumstances, and all I could think to do was draw.
Since that day I have become stronger, not because I was hospitalized but in spite of it. There is a problem with the way our healing system is set up and it is okay to recognize that. In fact, it is imperative to do so. If we ignore that the mental health system has its failings then we fail any member of the public in crisis.
What I saw in those first 24 hours didn’t tell me everything about the journey that laid ahead, but it did show me that I could get through it. I survived that night and many more…many worse.
Since that day I have had to rebuild myself, my reality and almost every aspect of my life.
To all of the psych ward survivors out there: I see you. Even if you aren’t raising your hand to say that you’re a part of the club…
Baby steps are the best place to start when you are trying to climb out of a difficult spot. While regular steps tend to involve the more arduous heavy lifting, baby steps are a necessary part to beginning any journey.
“Baby steps” are sometimes the most nerve-racking steps to take, because they are typically the first ones. Everything at this stage is unknown and you are a novice, but once you find a momentum, those baby steps will eventually be eons away. You will eventually be making great strides. What is important is that you start, and what is important is that you believe that you can recover and reach your end goal.
Sometimes you have to start and stop, just to re-begin again when you are in a better place. There is no shame in that and the end result will be the same. We all have different stories and experiences that shape our perspectives. How we feel when we hit the depths that push us to finally do something about it has a lot to do with when baby steps can begin. It is often from hitting rock-bottom that things somehow can become clear again. And for everyone, this moment looks different.
In my mental health journey I have had to start and stop just to re-begin, more times than once. Actually more times than I can technically count. But there was a key “baby steps” moment in my life when I was “in the thick of it” mentally. I reference this moment on The Eric Ibey Podcast.
The instance I am talking about right now was when I couldn’t write. I was in my mid-20’s and I was highly depressed after harsh hospitalizations, overmedicated and trying to process trauma. At this point I could barely speak, and I definitely couldn’t write. This was especially alarming for me because I am a writer. I had no idea how to dig myself out of the hole I found myself in, and the mental health professionals didn’t seem to have the answers that I needed.
So one day I purchased a Van Gogh notebook and decided that it would be my second book. I called it “I & I”. At the point when I got the notebook, I couldn’t even write a sentence let alone a whole book. I knew that writing an entire book would be ambitious at that point but that was my end goal at the time. And so I told myself, “Okay, first I will write a word. And then, the next day, I’ll write a sentence. After that, I’ll write a paragraph. And from there, a page.” And so on, and so forth. “I&I” didn’t survive as a book, but within a few months of starting it I would write an 80,000 word book helping me process my trauma.
That process would lead to being published on multiple writing platforms online, writing numerous manuscripts, and finding the confidence to pour myself into songwriting as well. But none of that would have been possible without the baby steps at the beginning.
If you’re in a place where you have to take baby steps, please be patient with yourself along the journey. Most things do not happen overnight but with layers of bricks laid to create a solid foundation over time. Find your rhythm and put in the work; the results are always worth the effort and time where your mental health is concerned.