Deepika Padukone is one of the few Bollywood celebrities who are vocal around the discussion about mental health. The diva opened up about her battle with depression in 2015 and it was definitely a first by a starlet in a country where mental health problems were still considered to be a taboo or something that should be kept under wraps.
Deepika recently launched a ‘care package’ on lubhouse wherein she talked about how her decision to open up and speak about her depression in the public domain was not an immediate action.
As per indianexpress.com, during the clubhouse session, Deepika revealed that she and people around her made sure that her mental health issues were not shared with the public and they were also ‘scared’ about finalising a therapist.
“At that point, when I went through the entire experience, I felt like we were being extremely hush-hush about everything. We didn’t want my name to go out. We were scared about which therapist to reach out to and who’s going to keep this information confidential. At that point, I went with the flow because I wanted help,” Deepika said.
She added, “When I was reflecting on how this whole thing went by, I thought why did we handle it like this? And why were we trying to be quiet about it? Why can’t people know? Why shouldn’t people know that this is what I have been through. It also came from me wanting to try be as honest and authentic as possible.”
Deepika stated that she spoke about her depression to let people know that its okay to seek help and they are in this together.
“It was also about letting people know that mental illness exists and it’s okay to seek help because most of us suffer in silence because it’s not something you seek externally so there is a guilt attached to it because you feel you are the only one going through it. You also feel like you are inconveniencing your caregivers and people around you. Me coming out was really just letting people know you are not alone and we are in it together,” she said.
Deepika shared that her her battle with depression started in 2014 and she felt ‘empty, directionless’ for days.
She said, “It basically started in February 2014. I remember waking up one morning with this strange feeling in my stomach and it’s a feeling I don’t remember having ever felt before. For days after that, I felt empty, directionless and it just felt life had no meaning or purpose. I couldn’t feel anything physically or emotionally. I just felt this void and it’s difficult to articulate to someone who hasn’t experienced it.”
She added, “I felt this for days, weeks and months until one day my family was here and they were going back home and when they were packing their bags, I was sitting in their room and suddenly broke down. That’s when my mother realised for the first time that something was different. My cry was different. It wasn’t the usual boyfriend issue or stress at work. She kept asking me is it this or that. I couldn’t pin popint one specific reason. It was her experience and presence of mind that she encouraged me to seek help.”
The ‘Ramleela’ star also gave her fans an insight into what her life is like after depression.
“Life post mental illness is a ‘before and after’. I had a particular life before depression and I have a very different life after that. I keep saying that there’s not a day that goes by without me thinking about my mental health. To ensure I don’t go back into that space, it’s very important for me to focus on the quality of my sleep, nutrition, hydration, exercise, how do I process stress and my thoughts and mindfulness. These are the things I have to do on daily basis not because they are fancy words or it’s cool to do this but I won’t be able to survive if I don’t do all these things,” she concluded.