"In My Own Words" is a series where we give artists the space to express what is on their mind--unfiltered and uninhibited. Today, Dallas electro-pop artist LO talks about her mental health struggles and triumphs.
On why she is so passionate about mental health
I’ve lost people because of it, and I’ve dealt with it myself for as long as I can remember. In a lot of communities it’s considered taboo to seek help or talk about it, especially in the Latinx community. As a result, I didn’t have the resources that I needed, especially as a teenager, so I self-medicated. I used drugs and alcohol until I somehow made it to college, where they offered free counseling and other resources on campus. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through or feel alone in what they’re going through. That’s why I try to talk about this as often as I can, and address it in my music. We need to talk about it until it no longer has a stigma attached to it.
LO on stage
On how music helps her struggles with mental health
For a long time, I thought that my art would suffer if I focused on healing. But in reality, it only helped me become a better artist. I’m able to experience so much more life now, and use that as inspiration for my work. I traveled alone several times last year for music, and that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do a couple of years ago because of how bad my anxiety was.
On how the pandemic has exacerbated her struggles with mental health
It’s been really hard, like I’m sure it’s been for so many others. I was laid off from my 9 - 5, I was supposed to perform at SXSW for the first time, and I had to postpone my wedding. It’s caused so much fear from uncertainty, and that’s the thing I struggle with the most. I plan everything; my team has a running joke that I’m the "spreadsheet queen". So, not knowing when we’ll be safe to resume life (or what resuming life even looks like) hasn’t been my favorite thing. I’ve had a lot of panic attacks and been extremely depressed, especially at the beginning of all of this. But as time has gone on, I’ve been able to find ways to manage. I’m extremely lucky to have a home studio that I can use to process through all of this, so I’ve been creating nonstop.
On what she's been creating during the pandemic
I’ve been feeling a lot of different things during the pandemic: helplessness, anxiety, grief (to name a few). Music has been an incredible tool to aid in processing through it all. I’ve always operated like this, using art to process through emotion, but during this time it feels more imperative because this hasn’t just impacted just me--it’s impacted the world. A lot of people are feeling the same things that I’m feeling. So I feel a duty to create things that will help people through this time and the aftermath that it will bring.
One of the projects I’ve been working on focuses on that: I feel this duty to help, but I don’t know how or if I’m even capable. Hopefully it will be in the world very soon. I’ve been self-producing my projects, so it makes it a lot easier to get these ideas out. But I’ve also been working remotely with other artists and producers. There’s been a sense of community among creatives that I've never seen before, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
On what she would like to say to people experiencing similar struggles
These feelings and this situation are only temporary. You will get through this and you’ll be so much stronger for it.
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