BrooklynButtah: When did you first realize your low points were more than just low points?
Lindsey India: I kind’ve always had extra lower points throughout high school or moments where I felt like I was sadder or more depressed. I didn’t really know why. I realized probably by the time I moved to New York in my junior year of high school that I needed to do something about this, this is a real thing that will probably be with me long term, not just teen angst. That’s when I started getting therapy, experimenting with medication, seeing different types of doctors and specialists, and for awhile we thought it was worst than what it actually was. I would say by the time I got to college I figured out the best technique to deal with things for myself but I still didn’t have the knack of how to make my highs more steady and less exaggerated.
BrooklynButtah: We make therapy seem very scary, when you decided to go to therapy did you feel like you would be judged?
Lindsey India: I started therapy when I was in 8th grade, brief therapy for childhood trauma. It seemed pretty normal – she had board games and stuff – she made it very comfortable. Then I would go home myself feeling judged, not while I was there. When I got home I would think that I’m probably one of the only 8th graders going to this once a week. By high school it felt like a chore to do. I didn’t feel judged, I was annoyed because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. You just have to find the right kind of therapy for you. There are so many different types of psychological treatment, psychiatrists, social workers, people who specialize in different types of psychology – abandonment, trauma, PTSD – so you really have to find the right type, and person, for you to have the right chemistry with.
BrooklynButtah: You reached this point where you can speak about your personal battles with anxiety on a broader scope candidly – starting with the piece “How Hip Hop Seriously Saved My Life” – so who is in your top 5 of artists that you put on when you need that musical encouragement?
Lindsey India: Nas, specifically his God’s Son album, was really helpful for me because that is Nas’ lowest point as a rapper and a human. I was able to not just relate to what he was saying but the pain in his voice at the time was something that resonated with me so much. Kirk Franklin by far, his new album Losing My Religion I play every morning. There’s some Biggie in there, “Suicidal Thoughts” is such an intense song and there’s some truths to what he’s saying – we all have our moments where we think we are a piece of shit.
Everyone is going to judge me for this but I’m going to combine K. Michelle and Keyshia Cole. Keyshia Cole got me through high school and I came across K. Michelle before she blew up in 2009-10. Her first mixtape, What’s The 901, if people listen to that mixtape they’ll see that she has some shit. Everyone judges K. Michelle because she’s raw but there’s a reason why she’s raw. She sings the shit we literally say on Twitter all day. And Joe the singer because just his voice in general is therapeutic but he’s just an amazing songwriter, and the way he delivers his words I love.
BrooklynButtah: What sparked the decision to start this conversation in a vlog format?
Lindsey India: Basically, I got fired from my job during a massive downsizing two months ago and a few weeks after that I wrote a blog about losing myself. I wasn’t able to find any reliable contacts and was at this low point questioning if I even want to be a writer, or if hip hop is going to accept me anymore. I wrote the blog showing my failure because that’s what I was feeling, and the responses – I didn’t even expect that many people to read it – but people said like ‘wow you’re in my head.’ I sat there and said it’s nice to know we’re not all alone but some people, while we’re screaming our accomplishments from the top of the mountaintop, we also have to own up to our failures. I decided that I don’t mind being the scapegoat to being the face of “failure” to show people that you can get over it in some sort of way.
BrooklynButtah: That day when you set up the camera, how many times did you try to talk yourself out of filming?
Lindsey India: Oh, 1,000 times. The first 10 seconds of the video of me panicking are literally me panicking. I literally sat there breathing in-and-out for about five minutes before I even started piecing the words together in my head. I had written out a bullet point blueprint of things I wanted to speak about because I knew if I spoke candidly I would shut off the camera within two minutes. Once I said hello world and introduced myself I thought of it as the on-camera interviews I’ve done. I was like, ‘you know what, this is exactly what you used to do the difference now is that you’re not talking about hip hop and you’re speaking about yourself.’ What I liked about sharing my own story is that I didn’t have to get too vulnerable and in my feelings because I am trying to educate people. I was able to say information the same way I would in a video.
BrooklynButtah: You touch on being a beam of light in the video despite the management of your anxiety and balancing career highs and lows, how are utilizing your skillsets to cope and forge a new career path?
Lindsey India: Honestly, just talking about my truth is a little bit of a way to cope. Once I did the video, edited it, and was proud of the editing and how it came out, I finally started consuming it as a viewer and that’s when I realized that I was saying things I want people to hear. It was a little way for me to pat myself on the back for creating this platform. It was nice to turn my truths, failures, and down moments into something I’m patting myself on the back for.
BrooklynButtah: So what’s next for this new vlog series?
Lindsey India: I have some future episodes planned. There’s one topic I know I want to talk about which is sensitivity in the entertainment industry. People often say if you’re sensitive then this industry is not for you. At the end of the day, if we’re talented why can’t we have a place here? I’m hoping that what I can do is spark the conversation and get through to one person.