“Being a female producer and engineer in the industry poses a lot of issues with imposter syndrome and just generally being unrecognized for your work. Every female or non-binary producer I know has an experience where they have been assumed to just be a singer/songwriter, or has been subordinated around cis-male producers, among other things. Sometimes it’s really hard to deal with feeling like you don’t belong in a space, and that’s why it’s so important to me that I do whatever I can to improve female representation in the music industry in roles like production and entrepreneurship.”
Stress is often expressed and reflected through statements such as “I feel tense”, “I’m worried,” or “I’m restless”; It manifests itself physically in the body from acne breakouts and psoriasis (red, itchy, scaly patches) to neck and chest pain. When you feel stressed, this immediately arouses the brain which then triggers hyperactivity in the amygdala, which subsequently triggers a stress response in your entire being.
I say, often, to clients that it would be shocking if we were not experiencing mental health struggles in the context of the overwhelming racial disparities our communities are forced to deal with (e.g. housing, education, food security, employment). As people of color, we are having very natural mental health responses to a system that is set up to fail us in many domains.
What is one key message you want people to take away from the mental health conversation?
Dustin: I think the general misconception is that PTSD means you are permanently broken. It is just not the case. We know that we can save someone’s life. The only thing they need to do is show up.
“The most crucial part is finding the right psychiatrist. There are not enough good psychiatrists in the mental health field, and that is just the truth. Find someone who sees you as an individual and will listen to your wants and needs. Many psychiatrists would put me on meds that sedated me to the extent that I could not work. I started voicing my concerns around that and did not give up my search.”
“With the country in lockdown due to COVID-19, there has been an enormous increase in discussions around mental health, mindfulness and self-care. The coloring book phenomenon, while not art therapy, stems from people experiencing how using coloring books can be therapeutic in alleviating stress. The uptick in people embracing creative pastimes during this crisis, whether making art, cooking or knitting, is very encouraging as these activities help us manage our stress and improve our mood.”