This World Mental Health Day let’s talk about the celebrities who have come out in the open and discussed their own struggle with mental health in an effort to normalise it. Sadly, we still live in a time where admitting you have anxiety or depression could result in people seeing you with pity rather than empathy. But these 7 celebs discussed their own story to create awareness and get the conversation started.
The actress spoke about her struggle with depression, “I did not want to be in the situation I was. I wanted to come out of it desperately. As they say that every solution is within your own self, I found the strength within me and also the people I had around who made me believe that I can rely on them.” Her journey encouraged her to begin a foundation called ‘The Live, Love, Laugh Foundation’ which aims at creating awareness and removing the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.
Two years ago in an interview with Vogue magazine, Anushka Sharma spoke about her bouts of anxiety and how she often talks about it solely to remove the awkwardness that surrounds these conversations. “I have anxiety. And I’m treating my anxiety. I’m on medication for it. 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 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.”
Don’t know where to get help? Call Vandrevala Foundation, where mental health matters!
The actor spoke about his weight loss for Sarabjit - 18 kg in 28 days and how that impacted his mental health. “There was a big hangover after Sarabji’ because of the involvement that was required in the film. It all lingers on. It has happened before as well. After Highway, I was depressed for a long time. I had to tell myself that I am not a petty taxi driver and that is not my life. Nobody loves me the way other characters loved mine (my character) in the film. You have to go through such things at times.”
Do you know someone who is suffering from anxiety? Don’t shun them, read up on the issue with books like Hope and Help for Your Nerves (Rs 271) by Claire Weekes, My Age of Anxiety (Rs 374) by Scott Stossel, On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety (Rs 1,323) by Andrea Petersen, 10% Happier (Rs 599) by Dan Harris and The Trauma of Everyday Life (Rs 576) by Mark Epstein MD to understand and support them better.
In an interview with Barkha Datt, Karan Johar talked at length about winning over depression, anxiety and panic attacks. “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. 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.”
The singer disappeared for 2 years and when he came back, he spilled the beans on what happened in an interview with Times Of India. “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” he said. “After the sun went down, I was scared of my own family. I wasn’t behaving like myself. I was a sick person. I wasn’t in my own control. But now it is all behind me and I’ve come out of it.” he added.“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.”
Women are constantly shamed for their body and society’s body standards are hard to meet, Ileana opened up in an interview with Miss Malini about how she got diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
"The most difficult struggle for me has been personally, because I’ve been dealing with a lot of issues as far as my body is concerned. I’ll be turning 30 this year, and I know I’ve been dealing with it for over 10-12 years, maybe even 15, but I never really knew what it was. I finally went to somebody a few months ago and she sort of helped me out.
I apparently have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I didn’t know that. When I told my therapist, she was like “What”, and then she said, hang on, I think you have this thing – and then I googled it and I said “makes sense.” You get fixated on one body part, and you’re just obsessed with how much you don’t like it. That’s pretty much it for me. But I’ve reached a point where it’s like – I mean, it’s who I am.
After his role in Badlapur, Varun Dhawan found it hard to get out of his character, “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.”
Always ask for help, guys!