They say appearances are deceiving. The bubbly Deepika Padukone the world knows had been struggling with depression and anxiety until last year while she was trying to cement her place in the industry at the top. The actress opens about how she coped with it and emerged a winner, reports Hindustan Times.
The Finding Fanny star recalled an incident in early 2014 when she had fainted due to exhaustion and how the next day she just woke up with a strange emptiness in her stomach.
"I thought it was stress, so I tried to distract myself by focusing on work, and surrounding myself with people, which helped for a while. But the nagging feeling didn’t go away. My breath was shallow, I suffered from lack of concentration and I broke down often. Over a period of time, it got worse. When my parents visited, I would put up a brave front because they were worried about me living alone and working long hours."
Padukone's mother realized something was wrong when the actress broke down in front of her and got her to talk to a psychologist to figure out where this was stemming from. The psychologist concluded she suffered from anxiety and depression and suggested she take medication for it.
The star, who had initially been hesitant about taking medication, shares: "Every morning, it was a struggle to wake up, and shoot for Happy New Year’s climax. There were days when I would feel okay, but at times, within a day, there was a roller-coaster of feelings. Finally, I accepted my condition. The counselling helped, but only to an extent. I took the medication, and today I am much better."
By taking a break from work and spending time with family, the actress got better but when she heard about a friend committing suicide from anxiety and depression, it hit too close to home.
"My personal experience as well as my friend’s death urged me to take up this issue, which isn’t usually talked about. There is shame and stigma attached to talking about depression. In fact, one in every four people suffer from anxiety and depression. We talk about all kinds of aliments, but this is probably one of the deadliest mental disorders."
Padukone shared some critical information: The World Health Organisation has stated that depression will be the most widespread epidemic in the next few years.
"Overcoming it has made me a stronger person and I now value my life much more. Accepting it and speaking about it has liberated me. I have stopped taking medication and I hope my example will help people reach out for help.", revealed the Ramleela leading lady.
A common myth is that being depressed is the same as being sad. The actress is quick to clear that up: "Being sad and being depressed are two different things. Also, people going through depression don’t look so, while someone sad will look sad. The most common reaction is, ‘How can you be depressed? You have everything going for you. You are the supposed number one heroine and have a plush home, car, movies… What else do you want?’ It’s not about what you have or don’t have. People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important."
The 29-year-old concluded saying that she is currently working on an initiative to create awareness about anxiety and depression and to help them and the plans will be unveiled soon.
The actress will be next seen in Shoojit Sircar's comedy drama, Piku, which is about the dynamics of a father daughter relationship, opposite Amitabh Bachchan.