Depression, Anxiety, Hope. Written by Ola Holloway
Written by The Black Card Talks on 17/05/2021
It’s mental health awareness week so we at The Black Card Talks think it best to pass the mic over to Ola Holloway to share her story. A heads up, her words… *chef’s kiss*. Prepare yourself…
“I’ve battled with depression and anxiety for years, it’s not something I often share with people, especially over the internet, but I’m writing because it is important for people to know they are not alone. Depression, anxiety, mental illness often feels overwhelming, and isolating. It is everything and seemingly not really anything. It can be incredibly difficult to talk about, so I am writing in the hopes that just one person feels a little less isolated after reading this.
There is no actual way to describe it, my depression is a monster, when it gets bad, I am a mess, feeling like I am drowning, or in a dark room, unable to get out. It is a bloody huge behemoth, roaring, screaming at me that I have nothing, and no one, and will be nothing to everyone. It tells me I am not good enough, that I am an afterthought, and a supporting character in everyone’s story. Easily forgotten and replaceable. It’s all lies. I know it is.
Depression for me, is constantly fighting that voice, those thoughts, and trying to prove the opposite to myself, and to everyone else. It is exhausting.
Anxiety is constantly tapping on my shoulder, what if it all goes wrong? What if you can’t do it? What if you fail? It is 4 hours of sleep each night, and refusing to take a break. It is not wanting to leave the house, because people make horrible comments, and I’ve had just about enough. Anxiety for me is hyperventilating at the thought of walking down my high street, or asking “are we okay?” when something doesn’t feel right. It is the inability to breathe, and think clearly. It is huge racking sobs, and intrusive thoughts, and procrastinating on simple decisions. When did buying groceries become so difficult, for goodness sake?
It is wanting to be healthy, but being unable to leave my bed for days, instead surviving on sugary american cereal, which in itself is Herculean. There are days that my sole achievement is having a meal, and keeping my body working. That’s it.
Often the question “how are you?” is difficult to answer, “I’m fine, but not really fine, but things could be worse, and I don’t want to bother you with my problems, when you have your own. How do I tell you I’m just as bad as yesterday and the day before, without getting that sympathetic glare and head tilt? I don’t.
Hope, though, is having friends and family, who will sit silently by you through an anxiety attack, it is the friends who call and say “you don’t have to say anything, just know that I am here”, and listen to you cry, even though you sound like a braying mule. It is the friends that say “come here and stay with me for a few days”, or the ones that insist on coming over because “you’re not gonna be alone today, mate”. It is “Do you want to play PlayStation with me?” It is holding on to my little nephews and nieces and seeing them smile at me. Hope is inclusion.
Hope is the people who accept your vulnerabilities, and show you theirs. It is carving out time and space out in your life for people that matter, because life is so bloody short. It’s memes, and cartoons and comics, and bonding over tv shows. It is photos of cute dogs, because they are the best. It’s achieving little tasks and targets, knowing that I’ve done just a little more than yesterday. It is my therapist giving me a round of applause for setting boundaries. It is me, defiant, roaring at the monster that says I cannot, knowing that I can, and I bloody well will. It is the chant: I am not afraid. Hope, is telling anxiety to do one, because I will not be defined by low serotonin.
So, if you are reading this, I’m 90% sure I haven’t cured your depression or anxiety, I cannot offer you anything other than hope and support, but you are not alone.