World Mental Health Day 2021

I have had every intention of uploading a new episode of London Mind Fit Sessions for quite some time now. In fact, there’s a lot that I have planned to say in future episodes. But today’s theme was global mental health as it is World Mental Health Day, and this is without a doubt a conversation that I wanted to participate in.

So grab some tea, coffee, water, and get comfortable. Here’s the latest episode of London Mind Fit Sessions, featuring your girl, Arielle London:

5 Questions With… Kibbi Linga!

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!

  1. 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!

Follow Kibbi Linga on Instagram at @kibbi.spills.art, on Twitter at @KibbiLinga, check out Kibbi’s official website here and all of Kibbi’s links here!

One Decade Later

I’m conscious of dates.

I’m aware of the cyclical nature of time.

I believe in paying homage to important events when their anniversary arrives, not because I want to linger in the past, but as a way to remember who you are.

After what happened a decade ago, I have had to install mechanisms into my life that remind me of just that.

When you engage in any romantic relationship, you take risks. Normally the risk you worry about is getting your heart broken, not your mind.

When Youssef raped me on this day 10 years ago, he broke both.

When you have a broken heart you can feel lost, but when you have a broken mind you definitely are. He didn’t break my heart by being a perfect man and then letting me down. He didn’t break my heart by promising me the world and then not delivering. He didn’t break my mind by telling me I was the one and then choosing someone else. He didn’t break my mind by asking me to be his girl and then hiding me from the world.

He broke me through rape.

Rape is used as a tool in war. The mental health ramifications of being sexually assaulted can manifest themselves in many different ways. Trauma leaves a burden on the survivor to either remain seated by what you have experienced or figure out how to stand up again. It seems like every time I tried to stand back up I was pushed down again, but like Cardi B says, “knock me down 9 times but I get up 10.”

At times the pain and the mountains I was facing felt like I was taking on Mount Everest without a map, proper gear and other key essentials. But I trusted myself to get to the other side. I believed in something bigger than myself, whether you call that energy source God or The Universe, and I had faith in that higher power. I had belief in nature and the good in the yin and yang.

2Pac said, “there’s gonna be some stuff you’re gonna see, that’s gonna make it hard to smile in the future.” Right now is one of those moments I am having trouble smiling in. As George Floyd’s murder has sparked Black Lives Matter protests worldwide, there is an incredible amount of violence seen at the hands of police against peaceful civilians exercising their right to express their frustrations with a system that can only be described as a “failure”. The system has failed me numerous times, but you don’t see me raising my white arm screaming “All Lives Matter” because no one is saying that all lives do not matter by saying “Black Lives Matter.” Just as being an advocate for women’s rights is not saying that men should not have rights too, the Black Lives Matter movement is about advancing the human rights of the Black community, not eradicating the rights of others.

To me it’s simple, you’re either down with human rights or not. So you’re either with Black Lives Matter or you’re not.

As I have reflected on the days leading up to this one, it is impossible not to think about all of the Black women who have been raped. It is impossible not the think of my friends around the globe from all different places who have been raped despite the various differences in our societies. Sexual assault and rape are issues that plague every single sector of society, the consequences of which affect everyone. It is a women’s rights issue that we should all be able to stand up for, not against.

Today I decided to go back to where it happened. I had been wanting to go the Old Port neighbourhood of Montreal for a while now to sit by the St. Lawrence River but hadn’t worked up the nerve to do it. Youssef lived there and that’s where we used to spend time together.

As I sat by the water today, I thought about all of the people that I represent on this issue. I thought about all of the silent voices that cannot speak because they are minors. I thought about all of the silent voices that cannot speak because they do not have the ability right now. And, I thought about all of the victims of rape who do not survive and cannot speak because they are not here to do so.

I came home and then I made this video of my day, edited alongside two of my songs “Loved U By Mistake” and “Tidal Wave.”

When I got home from my day I wrote this:

Truth be told I want to scream

In fact, when I got there

To the place we used to go

That’s how I felt

Like I want to scream so loud the whole port could hear me.

Scream so loud the whale in the St. Lawrence river would create a tidal wave with his fin just to wash away the tears you’d made me cry by the water so many times before.

But this time there were less tears.

This time I reflected on me, not you.

This time I didn’t see you hurting me, but I saw me getting stronger.

This time I didn’t feel your presence lurking.

This time there was a sun shower.

That NEVER happened with you.

This time I had peace.

I NEVER had that with you.

This time I was whole.

I was NEVER whole with you.

I stared at the water,

Mesmerized by the waves

And I didn’t think of you.

I didn’t think of anyone.

I thought of me.

I thought of my strength.

I thought of my courage.

I thought of my survival.

10 years later,

I can return to the place

Where you took a flower’s identity

And you tried to erase.