Trigger warning: mentions of mental health stressors
One thing about mental illnesses is that they don’t discriminate. No matter how wealthy, famous, or well-off you are, your social position can’t always protect you from succumbing to the mind-numbing anguish of depression or anxiety.
We live in a community where depression is still seen as a fancy word for being down.
While we have come a long way as a country and community from the days when mental health issues were equated with being insane, there is no doubt that we still have a long way to go in terms of normalising them.
I have compiled a list of seven, Indian celebrities (Bollywood actors) who have fought depression and been courageous enough to open up about their most vulnerable moments, and share them with the rest of the world.
Arguably, the queen of Bollywood, she was also one of the first ones to have an open and honest conversation with the public about her depression (2015).
She led the movement to remove the stigma attached to the mental health concern. The “Piku” actress was quite open about her troubles and the therapy she received to help her overcome depression.
The Bollywood actress is one of her fraternity’s trailblazers, having used her extremely personal and difficult battle with depression, as a conversation starter around melancholy and anxiety.
The actress and producer took to Twitter to discuss the need to normalise anxiety and other mental health issues.
She said in an interview:
“I have anxiety. And, I am treating it. I am on medication for my anxiety. Why am I saying this? Because its a completely normal thing. It is a biological problem. There have been cases of depression in my family. More and more people should talk openly about it. There is nothing shameful about it or something to hide. If you had a constant stomach pain, wouldn’t you go to the doctor? It’s that simple. I want to make this my mission, to take any shame out of this, to educate people about this.”
The suave actor claimed that while playing his part in the film “Badlapur”, he was headed towards a very dark zone.
“Maybe because I am young and I had not seen the things I got to see during the making of Badlapur. I think, that is why it hit me harder than it would effect a person older than me.”
However, the actor captured everyone’s hearts when he stated that he did not want to use the term “depression” lightly, despite the fact that he had gone into a shell, while in production.
“I was depressed. I was not clinically declared depressed but I was heading there. I was very sad to a certain degree. I don’t want to use the term ‘depression’ loosely because it’s a serious illness. It definitely affected my mental health. I was prescribed and did see a doctor for it as well.”
Shah Rukh Khan
Yes, even Bollywood’s king Khan had to battle this awful mental health problem, while suffering from excruciating agony after a shoulder surgery in 2010.
“I had gotten into a depressed mood, but now I am out of it,” the 56-year-old actor, seen in “Zero”, was reported as saying.
The actress has always been honest about her ongoing battle with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and depression, in her Bollywood and Tollywood appearances in front of the press.
She was also bold enough to discuss how BDD had made her suicidal at one point. The Indian-born, Portugese actress wants to raise awareness about the fact that mental diseases, like any other health problem, require assistance and treatment.
The 49-year-old film director battled depression for a couple of years. In an interview, the film director also said that he used anti-anxiety medicine for a period.
His father’s death, the fear of the future and of being unable to find a life partner, were some of the reasons for it.
The Koffee with Karan host also emphasized the necessity of attending counselling sessions and therapy, which he claims helped him heal significantly.
Shaheen Bhatt, the sister of Bollywood star Alia Bhatt, shocked even her own family when she posted a heartfelt Instagram post about sadness.
She even wrote a book titled, “Never Been Unhappier”, detailing how she had struggled with depression ever since she was a 13-year-old.
She shared in an interview, “One minute everything is OK, then the next it’s as if someone shut out the light inside my skull.”
She added, “It’s tough for me to get out of bed since I’m silent. The world around me loses focus, as it usually does, and I try to make sense of it. These outbursts might continue for anywhere from an hour to days.”
If you need help with seeking out a mental health professional, here is a resource to help you do the same.