By Francheska “Fancy” Felder & Quendole “Que” Johnson

While more entrepreneurs are coming forward and talking about mental health issues, mental health continues to carry a stigma within the Black community. Through their work with Let’s Be Real Society, co-founders, Fancy (publisher of SwagHer Magazine) and Que (host of The Purple Girl Show) often noticed mental health was and is the source of many issues plaguing the Black community. They also realized it was even causing setbacks in their own personal lives and business.

Last month, they decided they would recommit to their brand and vision, so upon the release of Future’s “Hndrxx” album and inspired by his song, “Fresh Air”, Fancy suggested they come forward and openly address what living with depression and anxiety is like. Together the two opened up and shared their inner thoughts to raise awareness for others suffering in silence.

Fancy

“I don’t know what that feels like.” “But Fran I can’t imagine how that might feel.” These are the similar things I’ve heard while trying to explain to loved ones how it feels to live with depression and anxiety. Depending on the person, they may actually pause for a minute and try to imagine the pain, the weight- THE WAIT- the doubt, the negative thoughts I battle within my own head daily. And if you are like my ex (who wasn’t my ex), then you simply blow it off and go back to real sh**, like how you are going to blow money you don’t really have in the club to hide the pain you are carrying). If you are a more caring person, then you may really try to understand but can’t.

For this reason, I began practicing how to describe this feeling, because I think if people know how it feels then maybe more can be done about it, instead of trying to force controlled drugs and propaganda on us.

Greetings, I’m Francheska Felder, but I go by Fancy, and I suffer with both anxiety and depression often. In a study conducted by CNN, “The Dark Side of Creativity: Depression + Anxiety x Madness = Genius”. It was discovered that creatives suffer from “unusually high mood disorders”.

Vincent Van Gogh described it as the following to his brother Theo in a letter, “I am unable to describe exactly what is the matter with me. Now and then there are horrible fits of anxiety, apparently without cause, or otherwise a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in the head… at times I have attacks of melancholy and of atrocious remorse.”

Think back to a time you had a bad thought, for example the thought of losing a loved one. They’re fine right now but the thought just crosses your mind. Ok now did you cut it off and resume your day? In my experiences with depression, my thoughts continue to spiral downward. Now I’m thinking of this person passing, and how they will leave others behind, and how one day I will too, and how there’s so much pain the world, and why is there so much pain, why do we create things like greed, lust, and division amongst us…. and you see where this is going?

I can’t turn them off. I have to work to control them. That’s depression for me.

Other times, I’m waiting for something to happen. What I don’t know, but it’s a big test. Everything is a big test, and I’m waiting but I’m nervous as hell. I’ve studied, I’ve failed. I’ve studied harder. I have opened my mind. I have revamped. I’m ready. Put me in the game coach- but wait I’m going to be sick.

“I need fresh air! I need to get out on my own.” (Future, 2017, Track 8).

Both depression and anxiety have caused me to ruin or miss important moments in my life and career. They have held me back from growing into the woman I aspire to be, but this year I decided I could no longer live trapped in my own mind. I must face these illnesses head on.

Que

” I can’t breathe” we all heard this phrase before. Rather it was from a senseless act to an asthma attack! Have you ever considered there are people in your face every day who can’t breathe and you don’t even know it! Yep, I am one of those people. Hi, my name is Que Johnson I’m a mother, entrepreneur, smart- oh did I mention cute, and I suffer from anxiety -a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Physiatrist describe it as a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

Although it’s not life threating, and it doesn’t have life expectancy on how long you will live with it, it can affect your day to day activities. Women are twice more likely to suffer from it than men. According to the HHS office of Minority Health Black/African American, adults are 20% more likely to report serious phycological distress than white adults!

Now that you have a clearer understanding, I want to let those know who are suffering in silence “you are NOT alone” (Michael Jackson, 1995), (one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs), but really you’re not!

I made the decision to no longer hide, be embarrassed and could care less what people think! Anxiety has at times crippled my decision making, ruined relationships, put off projects. It has pretty much slowed me down from things that were very important to me.

When it came time to do certain things or be around certain people my anxiety symptoms would start to flare up like getting light headed, or a headache, constant nervousness in my stomach sometimes even vomiting. I would get the shakes, sweat or just completely shut down! How do you share this with people? I didn’t, but you can!

It’s time for “Fresh Air” take a deep breathe in and exhale the bull$h!t! It’s time to live again. People say you only live once, but I don’t believe that. You only die once, but you can live again each day you have breath in your body. I’m not completely healed from anxiety, but it no longer has me in bondage! I feel free. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Let’s be real about this! You cannot do this alone. If you feel that you are, shoot us an email, creators@letsberealsociety.org or join our Facebook group, “Let’s Be Real Society- Breathe”.

Sources:

Williams, L.A. (2014, January 22). The Dark Side of Creativity: Depression + Anxiety+ Madness =Genius.

Manta, King BNJMN, Major Seven, Future. (2017). Fresh Air. [Recorded by Future]. Hndrxx [Album].

R. Kelly. (1995). Heal the World. [Recorded by Michael Jackson]. “You Are Not Alone” HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I [Album].

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