We sat down with Emma Lov of Loote who is very passionate about ending the negative stigma around mental health. This has certainly been a challenging year on many accounts for ALL so we think it’s important to raise awareness and have others know they are not alone.
How have you coped with anxiety over the years or continue to cope?
My parents are smart cookies - I've been in and out of psychotherapy (talk therapy) since I was a little kid. Being able to understand and articulate why I feel [xyz] made it easier to talk to adults about more complex issues and feelings, as I got older.
Post-9/11, my whole family dealt with our own traumas differently. Without going into too much detail, I was 5 and we lived in Battery Park City. It was my second day of 1st grade. We were all there when it happened, and we all remember it differently; I fully believe it f*cked me up in ways I have barely scratched the surface... but I digress;
post-9/11, I developed a pretty severe separation anxiety, amongst other things. I became terrified of traveling to and from school, alone. Going to the grocery store. To piano lessons. To guitar lessons that were legitimately 2 blocks away from my apartment. And then, one morning, I had my first panic attack. And then another... and another...I felt really weird. Lonely. Hungry. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to explain my thoughts or feelings to anyone. I was just scared. I wanted it to go away.
My guitar teacher gave me this assignment one week - to write a song.
...approximately 1 second after playing it the first time, I realized 3 fundamental things: I like this. Doing this makes me feel good. I will do this until I die.
And the next day, I woke up a perfect person. lol. just kidding.
20 years post 9/11 I’m STILL in therapy, still talking about how I am; what’s going on in my head; finding ways to heal.
In high school, I met my long-time psychiatrist. He specialized in the treatment of ADHD/ADD. Upon meeting with me for the first time, he diagnosed me with ADD and a panic disorder. Not by having me talk about it. But by having me do weird brain exercises throughout the session. I would attribute much of my academic, professional, and personal successes to our almost ten years of consistent sessions and open dialogue.
Sadly, he passed away from covid in March. It’s something I’m deeply affected by. This year has been particularly hard, and I’m still finding ways to cope with the anxiety I have from it all.
Why do you think there is such a stigma about mental health?
People are scared of what they don’t understand.
The human human brain is both complex and simple. We experience things - good and bad- and then those memories become the basis on how we react to other situations, even when they’re completely unrelated/different.
To admit “I’m not okay, I’m off and I definitely need help navigating this,” is scary as hell, and people don’t prepare you for that. No one wants to believe their kid/spouse/sibling/friend/etc. is unwell, because you’re perfect to them.
What’s one thing you want people to know?
It really is okay not to be okay. But you NEED to tell someone. Anyone.
What advice have you received in recent years that stuck with you on how to improve?
Just because you feel a certain way does not mean it’s the same situation. Understanding that you have the power to tell your emotions “no, this is different- it’s okay,” is SO powerful.
What's your daily routine like to keep your mental health in a positive state?
I don’t have a “daily routine,” so much as a daily list of requirements.
- mint tea/ water
- meds (I DO take medication for ADD. I know it’s a hot topic, but my treatment is so much more than a pill. It’s the constant communication and coping mechanisms, the psychotherapy, and yes, the medication.)
- I try to practice mindfulness in the morning, and let my brain go on it’s own little journey, without interrupting. My psychiatrist used to joke around about how the brain is constantly just trying to do its job, keeping us alive, and we get in the way. But if you take the back seat and let it, your brain does know what to do.
- I never skip breakfast. Breakfast is my jam. Pun intended.
Our favorite ALL question: If you had 30 seconds to say one thing and everyone on the planet stopped and listened what would you say?
Find a doctor you trust. It’s the most important relationship you will have with a person who isn’t yourself or your loved ones.
And for real: TELL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOUR MEDICATION MAKES YOU FEEL OFF. You know you better than anyone else ever will. If something is wrong, you HAVE to speak up.
And if they dismiss you, find a new doctor.
Love you all 💛
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