After taking a year off from music for her health, she’s now releasing a 6-song EP called The Year I Died, detailing her experience. Her first single, “Sick Of Me,” premieres today with a cameo from a choir of people with autoimmune disorders. She shares her story with us below
What advocacy you share in your music! Why is it important to you to share about your health journey?
It’s so important for me to share my health journey because I felt super isolated during mine. When I was diagnosed with POTS 7 years ago, I was under the impression I was one of three people who had it. Literally. And now unfortunately SO many people have it! It still blows my mind that I don’t have to explain what POTS is to most people now – they’re like “oh, yeah my sister has it” or “my aunt has it” or even “oh! I think I have that!” I’ve literally seen POTS go from a “rare” condition on Google in 2016 to a “common” one in 2022.
It was incredibly terrifying for me to feel so isolated and that’s where so much of my PTSD stemmed from. I find it super important to be open about health issues because there’s a lot of collective healing that can come from sharing – on an emotional level, but also on a very practical level regarding what kinds of doctors and treatments people can look into, and so on.
The same isolation and terror, unfortunately, happened again when my long covid and mold illness journey began in 2022 – I felt like I was going insane because my symptoms didn’t match anyone else’s that I could find. I credit Reddit with so much because 6 months into my illness I found a long covid community on the app of over 26,000 people (it’s up to 43,000 now) that were constantly communicating about breakthroughs and epiphanies and experiments and symptoms and trials and errors they were testing firsthand because none of their doctors could help them. A lot of tips from that community helped me to hold on while I was waiting to find help. That was when I started to realize I wasn’t alone, but it also terrified me because I realized how many of us there were that weren’t getting help for such severe illnesses. I kept seeing some mentions of functional doctors and naturopaths where people had improved, and that was very hopeful – and ultimately, it was a functional doctor that saved me!
How has creating changed for you after COVID and everything you have been through?
After everything, creating has become an even more sacred process for me. I’m so grateful to be able to sing again and write again. I missed my voice and I missed my mind so much.
Creating has also become a very heavy process too, I’ll admit, because I want to use my art to really tell the truth about my experiences and my emotions. Heading down this deadly path in 2022 made me realize that we have answers to a lot of things people think we don’t, but they’re unnecessarily hard to find and they’re not mainstream. There can be a lot of judgment and scrutiny for going off the beaten path. Once I started focusing more on my spiritual healing as well towards the end of 2022, I realized that inherently as humans we are so inclined to deny
our personal truths and gut feelings. Society has taught us to cover and hide so much of ourselves, that being authentic is the real challenge. And although I’m nervous to be as vulnerable as I’m being on my EP, I know it’s the duty I owe to myself. I just had this shift where I realized radical honesty is so crucial and it’s missing so much in society, and it’s something I’m really working on harnessing. Radical honesty comes with a lot of social anxiety, but it’s something I’m really trying to infuse into my music.
It’s such a poignant EP title, The Year I Died. Was there ever a moment you thought you were creating your last words?
I actually didn’t want to officially refer to the EP as “The Year I Died” until I was out of 2022 because it’d been such a shocking, tortuous year. Even though I was about 50% better (still fairly symptomatic) and on the road to recovery when I started writing it, I was just beginning to feel the effects of the PTSD sink in mentally and I was so afraid of another plot twist with my health. I’d gotten a Lyme tick bite 5 months into my recovery, which was a few weeks after I started writing the EP, and at that point, I started trying to come up with different names for the EP because I was like “Things just won’t stop happening.” But, I realized in the fall of 2022 that the name was perfect because I was starting to wake up and become a different person with a whole new perspective on life. I’d had a handful of powerful spiritual experiences at that point too (vividly recalling a traumatic past life, meeting my deceased grandmother, and beginning to communicate with her), which made me realize that a lot of me had in fact died in a spiritual sense. So at that point, I cemented the name.
How has your relationship with the world changed after everything you have been through?
The best way to describe my new world perspective is I feel like I just found out I’m Truman in The Truman Show – not in the sense that everything revolves around me, but in the way that everything I thought I knew about my environment changed. I realized that the majority of illness is caused by environmental and food toxins, that our healthcare system is not equipped for chronic illness care, and that some chronic illnesses can be cured (I dumbfounded Vanderbilt when I went for my POTS annual in 2022 and no longer had POTS), that we’re all carrying trauma from this life and from many past lives, that everyone’s a bit psychic, and that our reality is literally what we make of it. My religion, my lifestyle, my beliefs – it all changed. Infinitely huge props to my husband Grant and our family for so lovingly and patiently being on this ride with me.
What is next for your artistry?
I am so glad you asked! I’m writing an album called Star Child right now that has an A side and a B side. The project speaks to the dual nature of the term “star child.” On the A side, the music is focused on the results of trying to be a ‘golden child’ by earthly standards and doing everything society tells you too. On the B side, it’s representative of a spiritual awakening and the songs suddenly shift to realizing we’re all children of the universe, and that we’re all star children of a much different orientation.
I’m looking to be uncomfortably honest in my art and write about how I’m truly feeling, even if it makes me nervous to release it.
I’m also looking to build my live show up because I haven’t performed in a year and a half due to what my husband and I have jokingly been calling “healthgate.” lol
What do you think people with autoimmune disorders would want others to know?
In my mind, there are two groups of people in the “others” category. There are people who aren’t autoimmune like my husband and my family who literally picked up my prescriptions, cooked my meals, drove me to appointments, supported me financially when endless medical bills were rolling in, and saved my life every day by carrying the weight of my world. So we’d want those people to know they are earthside angels and we love them more than life itself.
For the doctors that tell us our illnesses are anxiety and the people who don’t quite buy into invisible and autoimmune illnesses, I’d like them to know that we’re really f***ing sick. I don’t know if I can swear, I’m so sorry if we can’t lol. We’re REALLY FUCKING SICK and we’re not making it up. We’re putting in 5x the effort daily just to get out of bed and go get the mail. It is such a painful existence. Having an autoimmune disorder feels like you’re trying to exist in a world that is not made for you. The majority of our food, our makeup, our household chemicals, our water systems, our air – everything is riddled with toxins and some people are way more genetically sensitive to this than others when your body finally gets to the point where it becomes autoimmune it’s like the whole world becomes your enemy. We’re genuinely trying our hardest to survive.
That is so beautiful that you had a choir of people with autoimmune disorders on Sick Of Me. How did that idea come about?
When I was writing and recording Sick Of Me, I just kept thinking about how many people the song related to. I get messages all of the time from people who just got diagnosed with POTS, especially after COVID, and recently I’ve been getting more messages of people who think mold is the cause of their health issues or they are trying to figure out how to test if they are in a
moldy spot, and so on. I do my best to answer questions, share my story and hope that something resonates with them and can help them begin their healing journey. My disclaimer to them is the same illness can have different root causes, but there’s a chance that what happened to me is at least similar to what happened to you if we ended up in the same place.
It almost felt weird to me not to have other sick people on the song with me because so many of us are going through the same hell.
What does World Health Day signify to you?
My producer Femke and I were discussing when to drop the first single of the EP and when we saw that the motto for this year’s World Health Day on April 7th was “Health For All” it felt like perfect timing. To be honest, it’s almost sarcastically being released on World Health Day because “health for all” is so inaccessible right now. So many people don’t even know where to begin with their healing or what doctor to see (I feel that I was very lucky), or what a functional doctor is (and for the record – it’s an MD with additional schooling and expertise in the field of functional medicine, which focuses on root causes; mainly viruses, parasites, mold, infections like Lyme, heavy metals, and other toxins that can accumulate and manifest illness in the body), or that some chronic illness can be healed, and beyond that – insurance doesn’t cover most functional medicine. That makes healing unbelievably inaccessible on so many levels.
Releasing Sick Of Me on World Health Day with this year’s motto being “Health For All” is perfect because, to me, Sick Of Me is a cry for help from the chronically ill community begging for health and healing for all of us.
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