Deepika Padukone was one of the first Bollywood celebrities to openly talk about her battle with mood disorders. Back in 2015, in an interview, she spoke about the isolation and weakness one could feel when the disease creeps up on you quietly. DP wanted to bring the conversation to the forefront so that people struggling with it don't feel alone. Later, she even started the Live Laugh Love Foundation to spread awareness and break the taboo shrouding mental illnesses.
Now, writing a blog post in the New York Times, Deepika Padukone openly talks about everything she went through during that period. She wrote, "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."
Everything in her life was seemingly great- her career was at peak and she was dating Ranveer Singh, but she still felt empty, she said, "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."
"It would happen when I least expected it. Suddenly, I would have to find a quiet corner to myself to break down and cry," she added.
That's the thing about mental illness, it's in your head and it's so real and it forces you to feel completely dull.
In her blog, she mentioned that once she was filming a movie and the entire crew was in high spirits and a celebratory mood. Yet, DP felt lost and alone and all she could do was rush to her trailer, look herself in the bathroom mirror and cry inconsolably.
All she wanted to do was sleep in and not engage with anyone. DP said even waking up in the morning seemed like a huge task which she wasn't up for.
The Bajirao Mastani star said that it was her mother who pushed her to seek professional help. She wrote, "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.’"
Finishing on a positive note, Deepika said that the major aim for her foundation is to give hope to people affected by mental illness and a huge part of it is that everyone needs to be kinder to themself. She wrote, "More than ever, we need to remind ourselves to be vulnerable, human and sensitive — authentic, in one word. Recovery is about finding a sense of balance. On a personal level, I think I have finally found peace and comfort within myself. I surround myself with people who are honest with me, and I take care of myself without any guilt."
We're a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world and a report by the World Health Organisation estimated that almost 57 million people across the country struggle with depression. The Indian government did a survey and reported that 85% of the people struggling with common mental health diseases do not find adequate help that they need. These statistics are staggering. That's why the need of the hours is, conversations around mental health. Especially if we want self-love and mental wellbeing to come to the forefront.
Deepika, you're fierce. We're lauding your courage.
Featured Image: Instagram
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