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!

London Mind Fit Sessions: Ep. 2 – Reality

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!

Dear London Mind Fit Reader,

I am in this with you.

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.

Wishing you love & light,

Arielle London

How To Conduct A “Self-Interview” While You Heal

To kick off Mental Health Awareness Month on London Mind Fit, I am going to start with a very important technique that I used during recovery. In fact, it’s something I continue to use and see myself using for a long time. It’s called a “self-interview.”

At a time when the majority of the world is in, or emerging from, some sort of lockdown, collective mental stability is essential right now. Maintaining our critical thinking at this time is more important than anything but making sure not to lose ourselves and what is important to us is another.

No matter where you are on your journey of healing or self-discovery, I find it helps to periodically conduct a “self-interview”. I started this practice when I was in a debilitating depression where my self-expression was practically null. When I began interviewing myself I did it verbally because I wanted to hone my verbal skills back to the level of expression they were at before, or better, and through this practice and other exercises as well, I recovered.

Recovery is a process, one that I continue to be in every single day. This is what I committed to and what is most important, and I have seen the results of putting my mental health first help transform my life for the better. Improvement is what is important here, not achieving some sort of image of perfection.

A self-interview is simple, although for some it may be harder to complete than others. That’s okay though. Some self-interviews are very emotional because we are the ones asking the questions, and when it comes down to it, we want the answers to the big ones. If you’re not sure where to start, perhaps consider setting the lighting to one you are comfortable with and meditating first. Or, if you’re ready, dive right in!

Aim to ask yourself around 5 questions but don’t be disappointed if you start with less or even go over. The idea is to not overdo it but also to get to a good place in your responses, and believe me, the responses can be revealing.

You can conduct a self-interview verbally or in writing, and I would recommend doing the writing by hand and the verbal interview definitely when you are alone. I am a writer. Sometimes I use dialogue to illustrate a point, so writing in someone else’s voice is something that comes naturally to me. But this is something ANYONE can do. You just have to believe that you can.

If you find that it’s just not working but you’re committed to seeing what you find out about yourself and how it helps you with your freedom of expression & communication skills, start with brainstorming labels of identities that you associate with. Then use some of those labels that you identify with to help guide your questions like an interviewer looking at you would.

If you want to hear a little bit more about the self-interview and the origins of this practice in my healing process listen to the episode of The Eric Ibey Podcast where I discuss it.

Healing is a journey we all take, and mental health is something that affects everyone. You have a mind right? It’s in your body, right?  So, therefore by law it must also be subject to at least some of the same principles as the rest of the physical form even if it has its differences. Well, I applied the concept of repetition in exercises like for a physical workout towards my brain at a time when everything looked bleak and got out of it. Now that I’m in this place, I’m going to do everything in my power to stay here and continue to improve. In the process, I am also in a place to share the journey with others.

Balance is essential, but learning who you are in life can help any person, whether these words resonate with you or not. For me, the self-interview helps when I need some unscrambling, venting, clarifying, or healing. For you, perhaps you can find that it is helpful in different ways. But whichever way you look at it, you really don’t have anything to lose in trying it out.

The one fear you have to overcome prior is finding out the truth about yourself. The intention and expectation is that you will answer these questions honestly, otherwise you will get no where. You are supposed to learn what you want to know about YOU, not someone else.

Another great tip is to envision your favourite interviewer asking you the questions. I visualized Barbara Walters and Oprah to start, and now I don’t need to envision anyone else doing the asking.

An example question and answer from a written self-interview I did in 2019 is:

Q. What is it about mental health that makes you so interested in the field?

A. The fact that I had accomplished as much learning about health, had experience in the field, and an attentive eye on the mental health crisis affecting our global community and yet, until my bipolar diagnosis, I didn’t know the full extent of what mental health was. How deep it could go and how complex it can be.

The answer goes on for another long paragraph, but you get the idea. Ask yourself things you would want to know about yourself and go from there. This sample question is from a 6-question long interview that I conducted at a time when I needed to make, what to me was a big decision. I may not have come to the decision through the interview immediately, but it helped me in the process to see things clearer.

Make no apologies for what you do to maintain your mental health and never assume that it does not apply to you to do some work because there was a day when I had no diagnoses or real issues to speak of. Prevention is key to avoiding any type of crisis. Who cares if you look silly to someone else? It’s your mind, and it deserves some attention and challenging exercise sometimes.

If you’re looking for a place to start with your mental health, this is an effective practice to throw into the mix.

And if it doesn’t work for you, cool, but it could work for someone else who needs it.

It worked for me.