Former Holby City star Chizzy Akudolu says she has opened up about the return of her depression in the hopes of helping others who are also battling the condition.
The 44-year-old, who became a favourite as heart surgeon Mo Effanga on the BBC medical drama, first shared her struggle with depression last summer, shortly after she had quit Holby.
She told Press Association: “The ‘black dog’ of depression has come back. It’s come out of the blue, there’s no apparent reason for it. I guess it is what it is, it comes to stay and there’s nothing I can do about it until it leaves.
“By being open about it, I hope I help people realise that they’re not alone in going through this.
“My depression first came on in the middle of Holby, when I was at my happiest, so it doesn’t always relate to what’s going in your life. I worked and carried on throughout, but it was tough.”
Akudolu was part of 2017’s celebrity line-up for Strictly Come Dancing, but she and her dance partner Pasha Kovalev, were the first couple to be voted off the BBC One series.
She said: “I’m not going to lie, I’m still sad that I couldn’t go further on the show. It was a massive confidence boost that they chose me and it felt like, ‘Ooh, I’m playing with the big boys now’.”
She said she had been “unlucky” due to a knee injury sustained before the first live show which saw her end up on crutches.
Prior to joining Holby City in May 2012, she starred on both screen and stage, with notable appearances in EastEnders, Green Wing, The Inbetweeners and a semi-regular role on Channel 4’s Campus.
Akudolu, who is currently single, said she “hasn’t met the right person”, but revealed she would like to adopt.
She said: “I have a brilliant life and I want to continue to be happy and spread joy. I’d like to adopt a child at some point.
“I’ve got projects I’m looking forward to and think the future will be exciting.”
The actress also spoke about her experience, over three years while she was working on Holby, helping as a volunteer serving food to the homeless in a group organised by her mother.
She said: “It was a wonderful experience and I’d willingly do it again. Some people’s stories of the reasons for their homelessness were heartbreaking.”
Chizzy Akudolu is urging people to wear a hat, take a selfie and donate to help the homeless for St Mungo’s Woolly Hat Day on January 26, using the hashtag #WHD18. Visit mungos.org for more information.