Health

Deepika Padukone – A Beacon Of Hope For Victims Of Depression!

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She’s got it all – A successful career most of us would kill for, playing roles we could only dream of, the perfect body, great brows and what most other actresses of our time lack – personality.

Admittedly, I love this woman.

She stood up for herself (and all women ) in the most graceful way recently when a newspaper posted cheap captions and angles on her pictures, and the world agreed in unison. She played tennis with Roger Federer and even the gossip-hungry tabloids didn’t dare pass any spiteful comments on the ease with which she took to the game (sports being in her genes helped though).

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Though she’s moved to Mumbai and has travelled to scores of exquisite locales, nothing tingles her tastebuds like good ol’ South Indian Tomato Rasam. She adopted an entire village in Maharashtra and helps with their water and electricity needs. While her debut film Om Shanti Om stole our breath away, she had already stolen hearts with her stint in an ad for Liril . And here’s more reason to love her.

Deepika Padukone – actress , diva and superstar, who had more than two major hits last year, revealed to a newspaper that she was suffering with and battling severe depression and anxiety.

Here’s what Deepika said :

“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,” Padukone said. “My breath was shallow, I suffered from lack of concentration and I broke down often.”

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Deepika often had struggles waking up and staying focussed throughout this period. She tried her best to put on a brave front to her family and friends and even continued shooting for Happy New year throughout this awful period.

Hindustan Times quotes Deepika as saying, “ In early 2014, while I was being appreciated for my work, one morning, I woke up feeling different. A day earlier, I had fainted due to exhaustion; it was all downhill from there. I felt a strange emptiness in my 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.

Then, once, while talking to my mother (Ujjala Padukone), I broke down. She realised the problem, and got in touch with a psychologist friend, Anna Chandy, to get to the root of the cause.

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Every morning, it was a struggle to wake up, and shoot for HNY’s climax. Finally, I had a word with Anna aunty. She flew to Mumbai from Bengaluru, and I talked my heart out to her. She concluded that I was suffering from anxiety and depression.

When she suggested I take medication, I was resistant. I thought talking was enough. Later, I met another psychologist, Dr Shyam Bhatt, in Bengaluru for a second opinion.

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. Then, I took medication, and today I am much better.

Most of HNY was shot through this phase. But before starting my next with Shoojit Sircar, I took a two-month break to recover mentally and physically. I spent time with my family in Bengaluru and was soon better. But, when I returned to Mumbai, I heard about a friend committing suicide due to anxiety and depression. It was a huge blow.

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­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.

The World Health Organisation has stated that this will be the most widespread epidemic in the next few years. We talk about all kinds of ailments, but this is probably one of the deadliest mental disorders. Nothing, including life, makes sense to people suffering from it. 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.”

Deepika stands as an example, not because she suffered from this particular phase but because she chose to speak about it openly and accept that it’s okay to be depressed, to feel terribly lost even though even though you’ve got everything going for you.

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She dispels the myths shown in Bollywood movies, that depression leads to failure, to downfall and to oblivion. Her acceptance of this disease comes at a time when so many of our young folk are victims themselves, needing help and attention but are afraid to speak of it due to the social stigma attached to it, in our country.

In her own words, taking medication helped her to a great extent and she feels much better today.

Deepika says, “ I am now working on an initiative to create awareness about anxiety and depression, and help people. My team is working with me to formulate a plan, which will be unveiled soon.”

In conclusion, there’s always hope for all of us. No matter what our fears are, there is a certain solace in knowing even those whose lives seem perfect, are victims of the same demons we all go fight at one point. Our situations may not be the same, but what we can learn from this is that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, all you need to do, is to understand what you’re going through and speak to a trusted adult or friend about it. Seek the help you need to get to a better place.

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We laud this lady for using her powerful position to create awareness of this very dangerous mental illness, and for promising to help fellow victims as well.

Thank you Deepika !

“Here’s to strong women – May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them !”

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