“But you don’t even look depressed”
“You think YOU have it bad? There are so many people who are worse off than you!”
These are some of the worst things one can say to a person who’s battling depression or any other form of mental illness. According to the World Health Organization, 264 million people battle some or the other form of depression and more than 800,000 people die of suicide every year. Sadly, the tragic truth is the blatant lack of awareness among people towards mental health issues. Also, their sheer lack of empathy towards those who are fighting their inner demons or have opened up about their struggles is beyond shocking.
Unfortunately, something similar happened in the last episode of Bigg Boss 14. While the show is infamous for challenging its contestants’ mental and physical abilities just for the sake of entertainment, the makers crossed a line this time!
Immunity Stone paane ke liye gharwalon ko kholne honge apne andar dabe raaz!
Kisko milega iska inaam?
Dekhiye aaj raat 10:30 baje.
— ColorsTV (@ColorsTV) November 30, 2020
In last night’s episode, the gharwalas were assigned a task to reveal their deepest darkest secrets. The contestants had to then decide with aapsi sehmati (unanimously) or with bahumat (majority), which secret was the most intense. The winner of the task would have then gained the immunity stone that belonged to Rubina Dilaik, and made their entry into the finale week easier.
We truly appreciate celebrities who’ve shared their painful struggle with mental illness. In a country where talking about mental illness is still considered a taboo, for such actors to openly acknowledge their vulnerable side on national television can actually give courage to people who are battling similar issues.
However, to place their traumas on a weighing scale and compare who has suffered the most is one of the most inhuman things we have seen in any reality show ever. Basically, the producers of Bigg Boss made a mockery of mental health in last night’s episode, and we are here to break down the good, bad, and the ugly aspects of it.
The first contestant to enter the task and confess her secret was Rubina. She informed the audience that she and Abhinav were on the verge of divorce and had given themselves a deadline till November. She also added that the only reason they came together on Bigg Boss was to give their marriage a second chance.
Rubina’s confession was a wake-up call for everyone to understand that every individual is fighting their own battles internally, and how important it is to be kind to each other. Throughout the show, the couple has endured snarky remarks by the gharwalas. Rubina was also once accused of dominating Abhinav and not letting him speak, while Abhinav was called her puppet time and again.
Now we’re wondering if the contestants would have made insensitive remarks had they known about the couple’s personal conflicts.
The next contestant to reveal his deepest secret was Eijaz Khan. He revealed that he had been molested as a child, and that is why he has issues with anyone touching him.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), from March 2020 to September 2020, 13,244 cases of child molestations have been reported in India. Moreover, according to their report, almost 90% of children know their abusers. Child molestation remains one of the most heinous crimes in the world and we are truly glad that Eijaz decided to step up and talk about his trauma in front of the whole world. We extend our support to him and hope that his confession will help a lot of children and their guardians in taking the right steps to ensure their safety.
Kavita Kaushik also opened about a similar incident when her tutor tried to molest her when she was a kid. Luckily, she fought the abuser and saved herself but sadly, the trauma followed her for years, because her mother did not believe her. Her revelation was a plea to all the parents and guardians to believe their children and protect them at all costs.
Abhinav Shukla and Jasmin Bhasin talked about battling clinical depression. Jasmin revealed that she faced several rejections in the entertainment industry and ultimately attempted to end her life. However, she realised the value of life and decided against it. We are glad that Jasmin is doing better now and has come out stronger.
As an audience, we were in awe of each and every contestant’s story, and hope that their confessions would have given courage to their fans to fight their battles with more strength and kindness, and to not give up no matter what! We also believe that the task would have helped the gharwalas to feel light-hearted by letting go of all the emotional baggage they were carrying for so long.
Mental health is a subject that needs to be talked about openly, especially in our country, which has been labelled as the ‘most depressing country’ in the world by WHO. While we appreciate that Bigg Boss gave a chance to its contestants to share their traumas voluntarily with the world and express their grief and pain, we truly do not understand the need of turning it into a competition.
How can one compare if someone’s depression is worse or better than someone’s suicide attempt? Or, how can someone decide whether a person going through a divorce is in more or less pain than someone suffering from PTSD?
Bigg Boss 8 contestant and supermodel Diandra Soares had this to say about the task:
Terrible task. I'm sorry. Not at all happening.
Very insensitive to make people compare their traumas like this.
This can trigger someone further hearing comparision & judgments etc. And internally mess them more.
Don't play with people's TRAUMA. @BiggBoss
— Diandra Soares (@diandrasoares13) November 30, 2020
Many viewers of the show took to Twitter to support her, and called out Bigg Boss for their insensitive take on mental health.
How can one measure the intensity..some may cry and breakdown ..some may be breaking down somewhere inside …I saw some comments on especially Nikki story. I admire her for coming out and because she did not cry people are saying scripted sad
— Anjali Pai (@AnjaliPai1) December 1, 2020
Mental Health Awareness for Bigg Boss creative team is much needed. Shame on them for this task. It shows their lack of understanding about mental health
— R Parhar (@RP86430186) November 30, 2020
And on top of that People are making fun of each other tragedy just coz dey think its not true n real…
— Jyo (@GJyoti) November 30, 2020
If comparing one person’s trauma with the other was not bad enough, what followed was even worse. Right after Rubina confessed about her divorce, co-contestants like Kavita Kaushik and Jasmin Bhasin were quick to judge her and doubt her intentions for the same. They claimed that the couple ‘didn’t look’ unhappy in their pictures before coming to the house. In fact, Kavita even pointed out that Eijaz’s claim of having issues with someone touching him sounds implausible and fake.
First of all, it’s high time that we realise that people don’t need to ‘look’ depressed or disturbed to be going through something. Next, every person has their own way of dealing with trauma and mental illness. Instead of judging their appearances like self-proclaimed therapists, can we please start becoming more accepting and… human?
We hope that after this episode, Bigg Boss becomes more aware of mental health and avoids such TRP stunts in the future.
Feature Image: Twitter