D… D… d… d… depression! There, I said it! It might have only taken me 3+ years, a therapist, yes you know those human beings that sit and nod whilst you magically come up with the solutions yourself in their one hour sessions to issues you’ve had for years, and a journey of self discovery to say it but say it with confidence I will. You see, anyone I’ve let become remotely close to me will tell you I’m a private person, what they won’t tell you or can’t tell you you is that that privacy is my vehicle for control. The less you know about me, the less paranoid I have to be about judgement, criticism and self-inflicted disappointment. That need for control also meant that I struggled to ask for help, personally and professionally, it meant facing an abusive relationship and other personal struggles in silence until I mentally and emotionally broke, it meant struggling to share my thoughts and feelings out loud for fear of judgement. That need for control also led to my biggest loss of control, I had lost myself!

Depression isn’t that neighbour you hadn’t realised had suddenly moved in next door whilst you had taken a break from “people watching” to catch up on Netflix, it’s more like that relative that constantly borrowed money from you but never paid it back and you finally noticed one day at a family Christmas party that every fashion item they had on could pay 2 months of your rent, it kind of just hits you after building up a niggling pain in the background for some time (Just to clarify, neither of these examples transpired personally for me). After a few years of trying to ignore my unhappiness and cover it up with with temporary fixes, it got to a point where even the mere thought of getting out of bed filled me with dread. I’d lost my confidence which ultimately affected my business facing people and the camera daily, I’d lost my motivation, after all “what-was-the-point?” and I’d been broken and almost “killed” by the people I once thought I would’ve died for.


Writing this isn’t about shocking people but about sharing with people. If you’ve never faced depression, I’m truly happy for you but if you have, you’ll probably never feel more alone than in that period wondering if it’ll ever end, how it’ll end or who to turn to. In the depth of my depression, I didn’t believe people in the profession who told me “it’ll get better” and although it took years for me, not giving up meant it could and did get better. In this moment, I think of Sam Sarpong who I briefly worked with, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and the many others who didn’t see any other way out of depression other than suicide and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get it but thankfully at the time my fight wasn’t just for me. Depression is a serious struggle and a beautiful soul once told me when I was even judging myself for the illness that “you wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to JUST get better, so why you tell someone with a broken mind that?”


Frustration can often play the biggest part in the D word because I know first hand the feeling that you’re not where you feel you should be or have given so much and haven’t reaped any rewards but understanding that our paths and journeys are not all identical or equal might help alleviate some of the pressures. I’ve had many moments of feeling like a failure, feeling like my efforts and work is in vain and feeling like I don’t know what it’s all for but each time I’m at the corner of giving-ups-ville, I ask myself “have I truly done EVERYTHING I can to make this work?” and because I can never confidently say yes, I don’t feel justified giving up. Instead when it all came to a head, I asked myself what have I got to change and my honest answer was everything!

Of course, you may have parts of your life that work for you and your sources of frustration may be limited to a part of your life like a relationship or work or even a death of a loved one so it may not work for you to overhaul your whole life but for me everything had to change, people, places, practices, habits, diet, you name it. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results and clearly the cure for this insanity is change, plain and simple.


Taking the time to take my time helped me understand that I don’t even enjoy trying to control everything. I’ve had to appreciate that my journey is my own and I’m not in a race, I’ve had to accept that the only valid judgement of me is my own, made out of love and self worth. I no longer need the approval of people, I no longer settle and I no longer care to work for the acceptance of others. I do not put expectations on people, be it friends or family and have learnt to love myself again. I smile and work to improve my flaws and celebrate my gifts and achievements. I no longer get as stressed with people who don’t agree with me and don’t care to win an argument, will the debate even matter a week let alone a year from now?


A dissertation might not even be enough to share every thought and experience I have on this subject with you and my few words, I hope, may help someone but they won’t heal. I’ve learnt nobody can do that for you but YOU. Seek help, from outside if necessary, take time out, distance yourself from toxicity, talk to specialists (I know how hard that can be at first, after all acceptance is the first step) and take each day at a time, do the simple things, take a bath, eat, sleep (a lot), read and find something to laugh at but most of all… DON’T GIVE UP! Enjoy!

Let’s rewrite pure life and get back in it. The world didn’t stop for my tears” – Greg Gadson

[Photography: Abi Oshodi]


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