Domestic violence and trauma survivor Swey Jitti hit rock bottom at a delicate young age. Due to all the physical and mental abuse that she suffered from and the lack of opportunity to grow up in a safe environment, she was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety.
Her panic/anxiety attacks began at age 10 in full force, which was also around the time that she began diving into self-harm because she felt "had no space to comfort" herself or even process what was happening. "I just knew that I was scared, everything hurt and I just didn't want to feel any of it anymore.
So really, it started when I didn't even realize that it started," Swey share to musivv. Read more about her riveting story of ups and downs, and soaring over the dark clouds.
When did you realize you were having these "issues"?
I wouldn't call them issues, but I did feel out of place for a long time and it really hit me when my parents found out that I was harming myself and they just told me to continue to do it because they didn't care. For me, that was a wake-up call, because I realized that the life that I was threading into was not going to matter to anyone I cared about at that time, no matter what good or bad I did. I remember waking up every morning crying, because of the physical and mental pain that my family was inflicting on me, but also the pain that I was putting myself through physically, mentally and emotionally. At that point, I was so disappointed in myself for letting myself down. I was a brilliant student, I was talented and I had big dreams – dreams that I could turn into reality purely because of the person I was. That disappointment was the first time I heard my voice again, in my head. That was my point of awakening.
Who did you reached out to?
It wasn't someone that I reached out to, it was something. After the point of awakening, I would have days and nights that I would just pick up a paper and pen and just write about everything from what I thought, I felt and knew. One day, 11-year old me walked into the music room of my school and began picking up different instruments and just listening and exploring every sound they made. I was particularly drawn to the keyboard and the guitar at that time, so I would go in every day and just play. Soon, the words that I would write and the music I would play found harmony between them and all my emotions felt acknowledged and validated in those moments. I would sing out my emotions to the melodies that I would create, and somehow it felt so right. I reached out to that harmony and for the first time, allowed myself to begin healing.
How did music help you get through?
Music was my healing space, if it weren't for music that found me when I was just a little girl with everything I was going through, I wouldn't have been able to have a clear vision towards the light at the end of the tunnel that was waiting for me. The songwriting allowed me to understand what I really needed and how I could achieve it – it was my self-reflection routine. The singing and playing music were my forms of meditation, I would do it to reset myself and find the positive vibrations from the rich tones to stimulate my mind to remember all the good things in life.
Music was my salvation, it motivated me to do all the things that younger me dreamed of doing, and it truly allowed me to honor myself and my reality in ways that is only enriching.
What song helped you the most?
Oh this is a tough one; there were so many! I definitely won't do justice if I just say one, so off the top of my head, the 3 songs that really allowed me to feel like a normal kid who could dream of normal things were: 'Living On A Prayer' by Bon Jovi, 'Don't You' (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds & 'Careless Whisper' by George Michael.
Music was my salvation
What song you wrote was about your mental health journey?
This is an interesting question because I did write a song called 'Falling' which encompasses the narrative of me telling myself that I need to let myself in if that makes sense? But it basically underlines the importance of self-acceptance and love, because I've had struggles with that even after therapy, so it was important for me to put it out there in words. Although I am yet to write songs that relate to my journey, mostly because I've been experimenting as a music producer, but I'm currently working on new music and I'm excited to see where it takes me!
What message would you tell people who are going through mental illness?
Our mental illnesses/disorders are a big part of us, but there is so much more to us. We are just as sacred and full of wonder as the universe – and as long as you remember that and keep yourself grounded in positivity and gratitude - it will get better.
Swey thinks her life has been about finding validation and acknowledgment within herself, and being that woman who is full of energy, positivity and strength has always been my truth even as a little girl. If I could summarize my life in 4 lines of a song it would be: "Hello, daddy. Hello, mom. I'm your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb! Hello world! I'm your wild girl. I'm your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!" - 'Cherry Bomb' by The RunawaysFollow Swey: