As a society, it’s very clear we are talking more about mental health which for me, I couldn’t be happier about. With May being known as Mental Health Awareness Month, FPComms got in touch with me to see if I wanted to interview two entrepreneurs who champion the topic of mental health. Over the next two Sunday’s, I’ll be posting two interviews I conducted with two entrepreneurs. First up is Latoya Lovell!
(Photo Credit: @LatoyaLovl)
If you’re not familiar with Latoya, she is an influencer, a soon-to-be novelist and a freelance writer from London. She has a new book coming out towards the end of 2019 which uses her experiences of her depression to bring her villain characters to life. She tells us where you can find her on social media at the end of the interview so I hope you enjoy!
(Disclaimer: As a warning before reading on, depression is one of the topics discussed and there could be a number of triggering words for some, so please take caution before reading.)
First of all, for those who don’t know, can you tell me who you are and a little about your background in your career so far?
I started doing interviews for a magazine called We Are Collision and after realising how much I liked media working for them, I decided to master the Media Industry.
I believe you went through a stage of depression, in as much detail or as little as you would like, can you tell us about this? What’s your story with depression?
After a few years of working in the media industry I started to feel like I was letting people down when things went wrong. I was in a bad situationship with a male friend and when we stopped talking to me, he said it was because I disappointed him. At the time I never realised it was a trigger word for myself but it made me feel like I was disappointing everyone. I convinced myself I was going to disappoint my son and so I decided he would be better off without me. I wanted to complete suicide and I went and got my hair done and wrote a letter to him and sent messages to everyone saying goodbye. I left the salon and when I arrived home, my friend was sitting on my stairs waiting on me. She collected my son from school and looked after me for several days. We identified what I wanted to do over those several days and it also made me realise my triggers.
After this experience, you started to write your own series of books. Now, I know that they aren’t released yet but can you give us a sneak peek on what the first one is about and an insight into some of the characters?
The book is based upon myself and my 2 best friends. We are a diverse bunch and I wanted to highlight how 3 different women from different cultural backgrounds still loved and embraced each other. How women empower each other but I decided to make us 16 with superpowers. I realized by showing the lead characters as how me and my friends look I could show younger girls that being natural is fine.
Did you find it healing writing about these experiences or did you find that initially it was hard having to look back to the battle you were fighting at that time?
I actually used the book to write about how I wish my life had progressed with certain situations. Like I never spoke to my Biological Father before he passed but in the first chapter, there is a letter to myself from him. I guess it’s what I would’ve liked him to say to me but now I realise that even that isn’t needed because I am ok.
Social media plays a large part in many of our lives now, how much do you choose to share online? Do you share the positive and the negative, or do you still struggle (like many of us) to find that correct balance?
Before I was someone who only wanted to highlight the positive because I believe in focusing on solutions. However, recently I have decided to show the negative but how I follow through to my solutions in hopes that people may use tools I am suggesting and it will help them live a better life mentally.
What do you do as a form of self-care when you start to notice that your mental health isn’t as balanced as you would like?
First, I look at my environment and whether I am allowing the wrong people or putting myself into the wrong situations and I withdraw. As someone who likes to please sometimes, it is hard to say no but my mental health has to come first.
I have also learned how to do things alone like go to restaurants or the cinema things I would never have done before because I cared too much that people would judge me.
Lastly, I do activities that I know will release endorphins like exercise or eating chocolate because sometimes the little things really help.
How important has it been for you to be open and honest about your mental health with your children?
My son now understands that I am human too and I make mistakes. However, in my household I say it’s like a job so he still understands that there are certain behaviours that are still not acceptable to a boss. I also try and show him that it is not an excuse, it is something to survive from and grow from. Mental Health will only stop us if we allow it.
For a parent or guardian who is currently experiencing their own mental health problem at the minute or have come out the other side, what advice would you have for them in order to be able to be open with their own children?
To be honest, we give children a false perception of an adult and then when they go into the real world, sometimes they are not prepared. I try to make sure my son knows what the world is really like because otherwise he could fall into the trap I fell into and feel not good enough.
Finally, if anyone would like to find out any more information about you and the work you do, where can they go to do so?
@LatoyaLovl on all the socials and www.latoyalovell.co.uk
Thank you so much to Nicola from FPComms for facilitating this interview with the lovely Latoya and thank you again to Latoya Lovell for taking the time out of her day to answer my questions.