Writing by Ebony Emili // photograph by Samuel Graves
Over the last few years, my mental health seesaw has been extremely difficult to level out. Throwing myself into the music scene has come with both pros and cons, but here are a few notable things that have helped me navigate my wellbeing.
First and foremost, you don’t have to be at your lowest to accept help. Seeking advice from a professional is a phenomenal starting point! Whether it’s just to have a vent about your week, or to try uncovering something that’s more deeply rooted, it’s a wonderful step to lead with. I found that once I found a psychologist that I could bond with, I learnt so much about myself and finally could untangle all the confusing emotions and thoughts I was experiencing.
Onto my next tip, get educated about your mind! Dig deep to figure out what’s going on upstairs, then find relevant books, podcasts, journals and go nuts. This has helped me immensely through intense anxiety, depression, and disordered eating when professional help wasn’t so easily accessible. Understanding the issues and where they stem from is so important to overcome them head-on.
Building a support circle is my third hot tip for maintaining your mental wellbeing. I completely understand how hard it can be finding help, being stuck on a waitlist, or not being able to afford to see a professional, so talking to your friends, family, pets, or anyone that’ll listen is super important. Feelings shouldn’t be suppressed, and mental health shouldn’t be a taboo subject. When you suffer alone it’s very easy to feel alienated and smaller mishaps might feel catastrophic. I found the more people I spoke to about my own battles, the more normal I felt and the more willing I was to confront them.
That brings me to my final tip, turn your feelings into art! You can do it in so many ways and you don’t have to be artistically inclined to give it a go. You can write a song, paint a picture, take out some aggression on some clay or give poetry a try. This is a more blasé way of attacking things and sometimes that’s the best way to go about it. When I was writing Alright Andy, I was writing about a time that I was deeply upset and I had a lot to say but I wasn’t confident enough to voice what I was going through. I write my feelings into songs really often as an exercise, and this song just snowballed into something I loved so much that I just had to share it. I buried the deep pitted issues under a groovy beat and bright sounds and at first listen, the lyrics are pretty well hidden. The beauty behind expressionist art is that you can make it so puzzling that no one has to know the true meaning of something unless you want them to know.
I have grown so much through experiencing extreme highs and lows, experimenting with ways to navigate my mental wellbeing, and taking the time to get to know myself. I now not only want to keep writing honest music to express my own feelings, but I’m motivated to keep writing to humanize feelings for anyone who might be listening.