By Shreya Sharma Last Updated:
Imagine walking into a dark tunnel, with no idea about where to go and why you are there? Scary, right? Now, imagine living in this tunnel for countless days and nights! Something similar is the state of a person dealing with depression. Life starts to seem meaningless, you start to question your existence and even the smallest of things starts to trigger you. Your mental health is the most precious of all.
Depression, anxiety, panic attack, suicidal thoughts are terms often used frivolously by most of us, but those, who deal with it actually know what it really means to be in the mental web of mess. Walking aimlessly, sleeping with horror, walking up with guilt is not a joke. Here is to all the braveheart heroes, who dealt with mental illness and came out victorious to narrate their struggle. From Deepika Padukone to Yo Yo Honey Singh, these 10 celebrities had shared their depression and anxiety struggles without any fear in public.
Deepika Padukone is a survivor of depression and is helping people to have a better life with her organisation, The Live Love Laugh Foundation. It was in 2015, in an interview with NDTV, when she had come out in open about her battle with depression. Deepika had revealed that she was diagnosed with depression in 2014, and how it was her sudden breakdown that had made her mother worry about her. In 2018, Deepika had told PTI that she fears her depression might relapse. She often talks about depression and recalls her struggles. In a blog post for the New York Times, recalling her symptoms and how she had fought back with depression, Deepika had written:
“I started experiencing symptoms in 2014. It was mid-February, and I had fainted after a long day of work. The next morning, I woke up with an empty feeling in my stomach and the urge to cry."
Deepika Padukone had also recalled how she had felt depressed despite having a supporting family and a lovely then-boyfriend, Ranveer Singh by her side. She had continued her blog post and had written:
“On paper, that should have been a great period in my life. I had just starred in four of my most memorable movies, my family was extremely supportive, and I was dating the man who would later become my husband. I had no reason to feel the way I did. But I did. I was exhausted and sad all the time. If someone played a happy song to cheer me up, it only made me feel worse. Waking up every day felt like a huge endeavour."
It was Deepika Padukone’s mother, Ujjala Padukone, who had asked her to take professional help for her symptoms. In her blog post, Deepika had revealed:
“My parents came to visit me in Mumbai. For the duration of their stay, I put on a brave face. But as they packed their bags before heading to the airport, I broke down in tears. My mother looked at me and asked, “What’s wrong?” But I had no answer. She asked me if I was having issues at work. She asked if my partner and I were doing O.K. All I could do was shake my head. After taking a moment to herself, she said, “Deepika, I think you need professional help.”
Aamir Khan’s daughter, Ira Khan has put her social media handle to the right use as she has been talking about the things that hold importance in a human’s life. One of them is mental health. The star kid had openly talked about being clinically depressed on Mental Health Day 2020, which is observed on October 10 every year. Ira Khan had shared her journey with depression and how she has been dealing with the same for the past four years. Ira had captioned the video as:
“A lot has been going on, a lot of people have a lot to say. Things are really confusing and stressful and simple and okay but not okay and... life all together. There's no way to say it all in one go. But I'd like to think I've figured some stuff out, or at least figured out how to make it slightly more understandable. About mental health and mental ill-health. So come with me on this journey... in my awkward, quirky, sometimes-baby-voice-y, as-honest-as-I-can-be... way. Let's start a conversation. Happy World Mental Health Day. #worldmentalhealthday #mentalhealth #depression #journey #letsstartaconversation.”
Speaking about her battle with clinical depression from the past four years, Ira Khan had begun her video by saying:
"Hi, I'm depressed. I have been for more than four years now. I've been to a doctor and I'm clinically depressed. I'm doing much better now. For over a year now, I wanted to do something for mental health, but I wasn't sure what to do. I have decided to take you on a journey - my journey - and see what happens. Hopefully, we'll get to know ourselves and understand mental illness slightly better. I've thought of so many things to say. What should I say? Why am I doing this?" Ira had concluded with "Let's start from where I started. What do I have to be depressed about? Who am I to be depressed? I have everything, right?"
Ira Khan founded an NPO (Not for Profit) company, Agatsu Foundation on her 21st birthday. Announcing the registration of her foundation, Ira had shared:
"I have registered a section 8 company called Agatsu Foundation, and it launches today. Agastu is my attempt, it's my way of trying to find a balance, of trying to attain equilibrium to make my life better for me, to facilitate you in making your life better for you, whatever that means for you."
After Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in 2020, Shamita Shetty had penned about her battle with depression and had urged everyone to find their inner strength, channelise it and confront it head-on to win the fight with mental health. She had penned a long note on her battle with depression and had described the effects of mental illness in the most visceral manner. Speaking about her experience, Shamita had written:
“I know the pain because I’ve been through it.. it took me a while to recognise and accept it..to muster up courage, look it right in the eyes n say I’m stronger than you .. n I will beat you! I don’t know why I felt like writing this today .. I feel like this world is changing, so much is happening around us that is changing us , but let this phase make us stronger not weaker.”
Shah Rukh Khan has won many hearts as he is the ‘King of Romance’ and has a beautiful family with his wife, Gauri Khan and their three kids, Aryan Khan, Suhana Khan and AbRam Khan. However, in 2008, when SRK had torn a ligament in his shoulder, he had fallen into depression. In 2010, in an interview with IANS, Shah Rukh Khan had recalled his fight and recovery from depression. He had said:
“I feel so much healthy and refreshed from within — due to the injury and the suffering I had got into a depression mode but now I am out of it. I feel happy and boosted with energy.”
The worst thing about depression is that it is only you, who can feel it as there are no visible symptoms to it. The ‘Greek God’, Hrithik Roshan too had dealt with depression and had openly talked about the same at the #EverydayHeroes campaign to spread mental health awareness. He had said:
“I have been through my ups and downs. I have experienced depression and confusion. It’s a normal thing and we should be very casual when we speak about it. I have experienced issues in my life. We all go through ups and downs in our lives. The ups and downs are important because we evolve through both of them. When you go through a down it is important to have a clarity of thought.”
Hrithik had also mentioned that mental illness should not be stigmatised and should be treated like any other illness. He had added:
“Millions don’t know they might be suffering from something clinical which is not their fault. It is nothing one should feel awkward about. A knee, elbow, back or neck problems are something we are unapologetic to talk about. But when we are going to go through deep anxiety, depression, chaos, confusion or addictive behaviour and even though we know we are going through it, we don’t allow ourselves to talk about the problems that deal with the brain. It is because we have been conditioned since birth that it is something to feel embarrassed about. And we need to stamp out that stigma. We need to set ourselves free. We need to educate people.”
Anushka Sharma might have a glorious career and a wonderful family, but she too has been a victim of mental illness. In 2017, in response to a quote related to depression on Twitter, Anushka had confessed that she suffered from anxiety. She had said:
“I have anxiety. And I’m treating my anxiety. I’m on medication for my anxiety. Why am I saying this? Because it’s a completely normal thing. It’s a biological problem. In my family there have been cases of depression. More and more people should talk openly about it. There is nothing shameful about it or something to hide. If you had 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.”
A successful producer, filmmaker, host, fashion designer, jewellery designer and a proud father of two kids, Karan Johar too had a phase when he had dealt with depression. In 2016, in an interview with NDTV, Karan had openly talked about how he had got to know that he is clinically depressed in around 2014. He had said:
“I have read people speaking openly about their depression. There was a phase in my life when I was really depressed. When I went through that phase, I thought I am getting a cardiac arrest. I felt it in the middle of a meeting two and half years ago, after which I left the meeting in between saying I have something urgent to do and rushed to the doctor. He then said I am having an anxiety attack. I went to a psychologist post that. Then I realised that I had some internal issues to deal with, which got built up to such point that it resulted in anxiety.”
Karan had further mentioned that he had to undergo anti-anxiety medication for a year and a half, and had said:
“I went through a series of anti-anxiety medication for it. A year and a half post that, when I stopped it, I realised that I am in a much better place. Today I actually feel the emotion of excitement and happiness. When you go through it, you stop feeling that zing of emotion. Today I am getting all of them back.”
Karan had also talked about how people carry the baggage of their past and fear the future, which leads to severe panic and anxiety attacks. He had concluded:
“Those sessions (medication) made a big difference to me. During those sessions, we touched on many things of my life. I felt that I did not deal entirely with the loss of my father, though it’s been 11or 12 years, I felt the pain and hurt of certain relationships that had dwindled from my life and I was carrying all that baggage. And the fear of future, the fear that I was not being able to find a life partner. At one point the lack of love in my life was really bothering me. Today I feel a lot more free of it. I feel there are loads of other things to look forward to.”
The gorgeous actress, Shraddha Kapoor had made her Bollywood debut with the film, Teen Patti in 2010. However, she had got much-deserved fame with the film, Aashiqui 2 in 2013 and since then, she had been a shining star of Bollywood. It was in 2018 when Shraddha had first talked about her history with anxiety according to India Today. After the success of her film, Stree, Shraddha had said:
“I have had anxiety issues now for the last three to four years and it’s something that I am dealing with in a positive way, every single day.”
Later, in a conversation with Pinkvilla, Shraddha Kapoor had shared that initially, she had no idea about what she was suffering from. She had said:
“I didn’t even know what was anxiety. We didn’t know it since a very long time. It just after Aashiqui where I had these physical manifestation of anxiety. There’s this pain happening where there was no physiological diagnosis. We got so many tests done but there was nothing wrong with me in the doctor’s report. It’s bizarre because I kept thinking why I was getting that pain. Then I kept asking myself why that is happening.”
Shraddha Kapoor had further mentioned that you need to accept it as a part of you to deal with it. She had added:
“Today, it’s something that I still deal with but it has become so much better than what it was. Also, somewhere you have to embrace it. You have to accept it as part of yourself and approach it with a lot of love. That made a big difference. Whether you have anxiety or not, you always need to understand who you are or what you stand for.”
Yo Yo Honey Singh’s life has faced peaks in his career that no one has seen. He had brought rap music to mainstream cinema and had made it an essential part of it. However, his life has also seen some gruesome controversies. Honey Singh was away from the spotlight for the longest time and it was in 2017, in an interview with The Times Of India that he had opened up on his absence. Sharing that he was bipolar, dealing with alcohol addiction, Honey Singh had said:
“The last 18 months were the darkest phase of my life, and I wasn't in a state to talk to anyone. I know there were rumours that I was in rehab (for drug overdose), but I was in my Noida house throughout. The truth is I was suffering from bipolar disorder. It went on for 18 months, during which I changed four doctors, the medication wasn't working on me and crazy things were happening. I must confess that I was bipolar and an alcoholic, which aggravated the condition.”
Recalling the one year of struggle, Honey Singh had called it scary and had added:
“It was scary. One year had passed and I wasn't responding to medicines, until a fourth doctor from Delhi treated me. At one point, I thought I would live in this darkness forever. I had cut myself off from everyone. I didn't come out of my room, forget stepping out of the house. I had a beard and I didn't get a haircut for months. For someone who has performed in front of a crowd of 20,000, I was scared of facing 4-5 people. That's what bipolar disorder does to you.”
Prateik Babbar had made it to the hearts of many after his performance in films like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa, Dhobi Ghat and Ekk Deewana Tha. The actor had faced the lowest blow in his life when he had fallen into depression owing to his past, present and worries of the future. In an interview with the Bombay Times in 2016, Prateik Babbar had opened up about his struggle with drugs, depression, breakup with Amy Jackson and his grandmother’s death. Talking about depression, he had said:
“My depression, my failed relationship and losing the person that mattered to me the most (grandmom) – it all broke me. I was at a stage where I did not love myself. Depression and anger are such a bad combo, it leads to bad decisions and obnoxious behaviour. I am cleaning up all that now. I have left that life of drugs and partying behind me. Today, I am stable and sober. Sanjay Dutt had gone through a similar patch when ‘Rocky’ released and it became a huge success. He went on a sabbatical, but he came out stronger. His fans loved him so much that they gave him another chance. I want to share my story with my fans and those who love me.”
Let’s at this very moment, take a pledge to not judge a person, when they reach out to us in the lowest phases of their lives. Let’s pledge to listen to people actively and not just to reply back. Let’s try and understand people and their mental situations before jumping on to a conclusion because you would never know what word or gesture of yours can push a person into a weak moment that can cost them their everything!