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.
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.