EAP Episode 9 – Kina Fields: Conquering Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction Through Art
Our guest on this episode of the Early Accountability Podcast is Kina Fields, a massage therapist, trainer, and artist. Kina has struggled with anxiety and depression since childhood, but only in the past couple of years began seeking help for the resulting addictions and mental health issues, and she is here to tell us more about the role that art played in her journey as well as provide some needed advice to listeners who might also be struggling.
After battling alcohol and drug addiction in an attempt to self-medicate the anxiety that took over her life and surviving multiple suicide attempts, Kina sought help through a group therapy program. In combination with her self-expression through her art, this therapy program has put her back on solid footing and given her the perspective that she desperately needed to realize that depression is real, but no one is alone in their struggle. She also encourages listeners to think about everyone in their lives who need them and the positive change that only they can bring to the world by making the best version of themselves the priority of their daily life. Kina has found freedom in creating her art and she hopes that any listeners in Atlanta can come out to her art show on March 16-17 (website link below).
Topics Covered in this Episode:
- How Kina uses art in her battle with depression and anxiety
- Kina’s advice to others struggling with addiction or their mental health
- How to react if you relapse into your old ways
- Information about Kina’s art and her upcoming participation in a show in Atlanta
Trying to take care of yourself by self-medicating, through alcohol, through the drugs, or whatever is not working. -Kina #HealingThroughArt
I used the art from that point on as a release, even though I was going through therapy. -Kina #HealingThroughArt
Kina is a proud graduate of Florida A&M University. She is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia hence loving long walks on the beach! A fiery Aries who has a passion for helping others, this licensed massage therapist claims love and art as her religion.
Connect with Kina:
Follow Kina on Instagram (@dia_de_arte) here: https://www.instagram.com/dia_de_arte/
Find out more about the Chocolate and Art Show in Atlanta on March 16-17 here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-and-art-show-atlanta-march-16-17-2018-tickets-39852569107
Welcome to the ‘Early Accountability Podcast’ hosted by Kimi Walker. Kimi has a track record serving as a behavior change and improvement catalyst for individuals, groups, and organizations. Get ready to make the best version of yourself a priority. Now welcome Kimi Walker.
Kimi: Kimi Walker here and welcome to the next episode of the ‘Early Accountability Podcast’. Tonight, I am lucky to have with me Kina. Kina is a massage therapist and she does a lot now with just art. So she’s just gonna talk to us just about her personal journey. Hi Kina, thank you so much for being here.
Kina: No, worry it’s my pleasure.
Kimi: Yes, I have to have you. So why don’t you just start by… And I feel like I keep saying this with a lot of the guests that I have. You have so many different things and you’re so multifaceted. Why don’t you kind of just introduce yourself to the audience? Tell us a little bit about you. And kind of what you do now and all of it.
Kina: Okay, my name is Kina. I’m an Aries. I love long walks with my partner. I am currently a massage therapist. I’ve been doing massage for about 11 years now and I am now teaching a group so that’s been great. I am also an artist. I’ve been doing art on and off my whole life, but just more seriously for the past year or so. It’s been really helping me with my personal journey. I’ve been doing skin care [inaudible] [01:32] personal training; all sorts of things. So [inaudible]
Kimi: Yes, yes because we met as [inaudible] trainers back in the days … for the ladies.
Kina: oh yeah
Kimi: And I got a taste that you give a great massage because I know I when I was ready or I was sort of few massages and it’s still one of the best massages I’ve ever had so…
Kina: oh thank you
Kimi: I have to get another one next time. Can you tell people how you got into getting a little bit more serious into art? Like you say you have a little bit more serious …
Kina: Well I got more serious into art. I recently was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and one of the things that… Well I guess I’ll start with my father is an artist. When I was younger he wasn’t there when I was younger. And so as a kid one of the first times I meet him quote-unquote was a piece he had done I found in my grandfather’s garage. And it was worn and just a very interesting work he had drawn it with a pencil. And I was about six years old at the time. But in my little kid brain, I thought that if I drew this picture to [inaudible] [02:49] he would appear, he would show up. And so I drew it. It was a dragon on the photo. And I’m on the picture.
And I did it actually exactly like his. And of course he didn’t show up because that’s not how you know people show up. And so throughout the years I would pick up the art pen or paint brush or whatever and put it back down. It was this sort of escape for me, a sort of a feeling, but also a sort of a pain too. When I did find [inaudible] I was 12 years old and we’ve developed a great relationship… I would get frustrated because I felt like oh you know I could have done so much farther along what I like a pick up sort of thing.
You know a sketch here and there when I’m working with my massage school it really helped me respond that. You know draw [inaudible]. But I never took myself seriously because by the [inaudible] artist to date … to his stuff. And you know I thought I would never be a pair. Well life has a tendency to happen. And within a period of three years, I had closed the business, got a divorce, made a major move, lost my girl’s father, had a financial downfall, lost a job, changed a job. And like everything that could happen happened.
Kimi: that’s right
Kina: And so with that as far as the depression that we’re honestly there early on from when I was a child actually started to be more prominent at this point in my life. And I remember I was sitting at home and I was waiting to get into this therapy program and I was a group therapy program at one of the hospitals here in Atlanta. I was on the waiting list for the start to come and in the meantime I just started to draw a good get I’m gonna draw because I wasn’t working at that time. It had gotten so bad I could work and it had gotten so bad that I was drinking.
Like every day I was drinking by myself. It had gotten so bad that I was smoking weed a lot for a personal trainer. That’s before [laughing] And so it’s like oh my God [inaudible] I’m smoking, and I’m eating … at this point. And so I’m just super depressed and not really having an outlet for it. I’m saying to myself, “What are these people gonna do in the group therapy.” So long story short, I started to draw a picture of my mom and I just kind of let all of my emotions out onto the paper, picked up a couple of markers and just started to hazard it. And it actually turned out pretty well. And so that Christmas, I decided to… because I wasn’t working. I didn’t have any money.
So I decided to paint her and my sister a picture for their Christmas present. And they loved it. And I kind of used the art from that point so as just a release even though I was going through a therapy and had gotten on the medication. It’s still put me in a calmer emotional and a still mind set. So I really use it as a force to channel everything that’s going on inside really. So that’s kind of how I got into art lately. Just picking up the paint brush and doing whatever I can.
Kimi: How often do you typically paint is your?
Kina: Right now I paint… I’m painting a little bit more than usual because I have an art show coming up. My first one ever in March. I’m training like at least every day just trying to be better. Because I’m gonna be [inaudible] [06:19] Oh my God I could set my game up. So I usually say like now everything. Every day if not every other day. But before I was really training when I was really going through it. And the past two years, it’s been for periods of a come at weeks. And then I’ll pick it back up again for a couple more weeks and just kind of like I mean it would take me like all day. I’m painting from the time I get up till the time I might lay down, go to sleep, and wake up, and do it again.
Kimi: Now were you ever able to get into the group therapy or art really became that modality for you?
Kina: I was actually. It was a ten week program. I went in October of 2016 and it went all the way through April of 2017 and I’m actually still doing the finishing. I’m still going the follow up or Maine therapy with that…
Kimi: oh okay
Kina: So I still go. Yeah, I still go …I still go to the group sessions, I still talk to my psychiatrist. I still do all of that.
Kimi: Wow! Now especially in the African-American community a lot of that is taboo. So talking about mental health, and group therapy, and psychiatrist. What was the point where you said this is the step, or these are part of the steps that I need to take for myself? Like enough is enough.
Kina: I had tried to kill myself and I did not think anything of it because I had tried to do it before. No one knew about it. This particular time my partner was there. I was so far gone that it didn’t even dawn on me that normal people don’t try to do this. Especially with other people around.
Kina: And so when that happened, one of my best friends is also an advocate. She’s an advocate for domestic abuse. But she also knows a way around psychology and all that stuff. So she was able to get [inaudible] really advocates really trying to find okay what resource are available, what programs can I get into obviously the way you’re trying to take care of yourself by self-medicating, through alcohol, through the drugs, or whatever is not working.
For the fact that you can’t get out of is not working and I guess go point where I have fallen so far down that I don’t even realize how far I had gotten into this whole you know. I had started going to therapy a little bit before then as I had been in the past just to see a therapist. You know nothing as far to get no medication or a group therapy or actual program just you know talk a little bit. But it was uncomfortable because I had my parents… on with my mother and my grandmother [inaudible] [09:09]
What are you seeing a therapist for? You don’t need to talk to anybody, you know black people don’t do that, we don’t do that. You just need to … pray about it, move on. … comments you know what and maybe have one or two sessions and then cut it off because like okay well stop. I don’t need it anymore and then will go right back into the same cycle. So when that happened, when that incident happened I ended up get into the program and that ended up … But yeah, I think it was programmed and if it wasn’t for those who I probably wouldn’t … strength to actually get …
Kimi: Was it an outpatient program?
Kina: Yes, it’s was a … outpatient program. We met four days a week from nine to two. Yeah in this particular program they combine addiction and mental health. So in the program whether you had addiction or not, you had to go to like a meeting for … whichever one you decided to go to. Either way you weren’t supposed to drag it off especially if you’re gonna be put on medication, yeah. I did that and I have not had a drink in over a year now.
Kimi: Oh wow! Congratulations to you and thank you for sharing because that’s definitely not I think an easy story to retail enough for. But I think one of the good things I really like is that you also found… because eventually like the group’s stop their therapy becomes less frequent. You still found your own coping mechanisms or your own outlet to help you with just your inner peace or bring yourself back to center.
What does that look like in addition to art? What does that look like for you now? As you say like you’re in … and just kind of maintaining. What does that look like for you? Do you have some days… because I think sometimes people think that they hit a certain point and you never have low days again or never feel bad again. How do you keep pushing forward, and what is your self-care regimen look like today?
Kina: Great question. It’s not easy and I’m gonna say that straight up. It is truly not easy as a matter after I had gotten out of the program was feeling much better with medication with seeing my therapist afterwards, regular meetings. I tried again to kill myself. And this was June of last year and this one landed me in the hospital with [inaudible] [11:43] swallowed all sorts of … And so what it looks like for me now is a schedule. Accepting things that I cannot change, knowing that depression and anxiety are real.
It’s not something that I just made up. It’s not something that oh I just can’t handle, it’s not… It is something that can really take me out and it’s a day by day, minute by minute even on medication. Even with all the coping mechanisms in the world is day by day. And so I have to be patient with myself and that is something that has become very hard is to be patient. Because I’m so used to go, go, go, do, do, do, and I can do this with everything that I’ve accomplished so far and I have a can if you look back on that you know I don’t need this or I don’t have to be do to therapy today or I could maybe you know I don’t need the medication.
I have to remind myself no. You know I have to stay on this track and stay on the schedule planned out if I know that. I’m not feeling well and acknowledge that and be honest with the people around me about it. And doing things like this right now is actually helping because holding it to myself actually made it worth being able to share it with other people to have them say, “You know what? I experienced the same thing.” Helps you feel less alone.
Kimi: Right and you’re not the one.
Kina: You’re not the only one and it’s okay.
Kimi: And point you brought up too. Hope you can expand on it a little bit is like just relapse and I know relapse I can say I experience most with just my weight or [inaudible] difficulty for me. So sometimes in my grade, or you’re training for something, or whatever is done and you [inaudible] piece one slice turns into like a whole pizza and a bag of chips. And like this … relapse regardless of what it is.
It is difficult and sometimes that can within itself make people feel like a failure and just wants like with your relapses. How did you pick yourself back up? Or what advice would you give to somebody who like you just… I went through all this program, I went through all this training, I did all these, put all these resources in place, and I still do whatever I was trying to overcome. What is your …
Kina: Be kind to yourself.
Kimi: yes okay
Kina: Be kind to yourself. If there was nothing else to be kind to yourself because these are habits. So these are things that could build you know and one day it’s not just going to be gone nobody’s gonna wave a magic wand and it just disappears. Be kind to yourself. And also don’t allow yourself to get complacent. I find that in the past where I have relapsed mentally right before it was a time of complacency where okay [inaudible] [14:42] going great. And I started to slack on this thing that I know that I need to do to keep myself on track or letting … knowing that … something may happen, and I need to take extra precautions today. You’re just always gonna be on your toes. So not being complacent and being kind to yourself. Patience too and … you have to …
Kimi: That’s great. You said have to you’ve taken art from like you’re doing it now. You’re like you’ve gotten back. You’re doing like shows and things like that and I thought that was really empowering because at one point you felt like you weren’t even good enough with that and now you are confident enough to be an art show. Like I think that’s… I don’t know if you notice I like reading what you say. Was like your dad and I never be this good or I stop. How you’ve been persistent enough to even be like you say with other great artist which you are great too. You’re confident and comfortable to even put yourself out there on that platform. I think that within itself shows a humongous triumph, and a humongous amount of growth.
Kina: Let me tell you how that is a fluke. [Crosstalk] [16:01] I saw artists that I follow, and I found out he was gonna be in an art show. And when I met him again it was a very small art show. Maybe like 100 people or less that came out … And I thought, “Okay, maybe I could show a piece or two which … You know maybe get out of my comfort zone. So I sent an email to the coordinator and if you work. And when you know I found out later on that this is no just small art show. This show happens in major cities across the nation. It’s two days. It’s the [inaudible] art show …
Like what do you mean? I don’t even know what I was signing up for when I did … Went to the other artists that with our oh my God …So you know is it you know record I think again that not being complacent and encourage … what’s happening right now. So I am terrified to say that. But I am excited. I am excited because I want to see. You know that … just to be able to say that I did it. You know kind of like we are in America that are back I don’t know whatever. It’s like you are terrified, but you just want to see if you can get to the finish.
Kimi: I think too like what you said with it just like you kind of got into it is like overachievers and high achievers like yourself. Like people who you know you’ve conquered a lot of different things, a lot of different sectors. You know like what… massage is not easy and … training. I know you’re doing it like some of that stuff I was struggling. You just like [inaudible] [17:56] anything like I was there.
So coming from this kind of like we even have a kind of like societal pressure sometimes especially like women of color. The kind of do everything or be great and everything or you know say oh I think it’s important sometimes you just like you say you just do it to enjoy it, or just to try, or just to see, or just for the experience not necessarily to be number one or you know it’s for your personal making the best version of yourself a priority. Not what is the best version of someone else.
Kimi: Right so, what… like a couple of things or two. What advice would you give to someone who were wary you were at where you would say you were at your lowest like rock bottom. What words/encouragement would you give them?
Kina: You’re not alone, to not give up, keep pushing. It feels like the world is coming to an end and feels like they get better. It feels like there’s a [inaudible]. You know and whether it’s permanent or just a moment in time, keep pushing. You may not know why you’re here. I’m still trying to figure that out. You may not know why you’re here. You may never find out why you’re here.
Kina: But somebody else knows why. Somebody else needs you and to the point where you feel like that I’m feeling so much pain and I don’t want to be here. I’m in so much pain and I can’t. Never know how much you impact somebody else. Even if it’s just for one more moment. Just [inaudible] just keep going, keep pushing. You’re not alone.
Kimi: And those are some very shower words and you know if even if just one person that hears that. Because we don’t know a lot of times people are going through. We wear a lot of mask; men and women. [Inaudible] color or not. You can see a lot of people out and they have it all together and someone like you you’re really like cheery, you laugh all the time. You know someone may come in contact with you would never know that. I’ve known you for [inaudible]. I would say, “Oh my God! How would you even know you’re always smiling, you’re always laughing.”
Just like and even people I know well. We worked together when I was… she was so happy, she was like the greatest spirit. [Inaudible] We don’t really know deep down when it’s somebody else is going through too. So you can really say of yourself. Sometimes we have to be patient with others because we don’t really know what battle they may be fighting. We just such as don’t know our special people are difficult. But we sometimes just really don’t know. [Laughing] I try to tell myself that.
Kina: oh yeah
Kimi: So try to practice that myself too. Where can people follow like your art journey, your show? You said your show is coming to Atlanta. Like tell us when and where. How to stay in contact [crosstalk] [21:16].
Kina: Oh definitely. Yeah, you can follow me on Instagram @kina_ day_artist. So that’s D I N A _ D E _ A R T E. And also Instagram I have [inaudible] I’m working on. I [inaudible] on that page. I would definitely post pictures from the event. Definitely post information about that. It’s gonna be the art and chocolate, or chocolate and art show. You know when our [inaudible]. You can definitely get in touch with me there and yeah.
Kimi: So people in the area can definitely buy tickets to it.
Kimi: the chocolate?
Kina: Chocolate and art show.
Kimi: Chocolate and art; okay.
Kimi: I might be there.
Kimi: I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for your time, your honesty, your transparency. That’s very empowering to even me. [Inaudible] because it’s that’s not easy to do. So you’re very, very, very powerful for in that. If nothing else in that alone. So just thank you so much for coming and sharing your journey. And we definitely want to hear. You know follow how the art show goes, and how you feel about [crosstalk].
So thank you for the mental health encouragement that people may need because sometimes people forget that… You know people think of goals. We think of like… You know like them you know losing weight or starting a business and then all you have sometimes people just really need their goal is I really need to take care better care of myself or take your my health or take care of my… And we forget that there is something that is important too so.
Kina: That is so true.
Kimi: Thank you for the reminder thank you for educating…
Kina: my pleasure
Kimi: … and sharing. So thank you so much.
Kina: Absolutely my pleasure.
Kimi: And till next time it’s on the next episode with Kimi Walker.
It was a pleasure to have you join us on this episode of the ‘Early Accountability Podcast’ with Kimi Walker. Be sure to visit earlyaccountability.com to sign up for the Early Accountability newsletter. We look forward to activating your greatness and helping you reach your goals.