Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone has never shied away from sharing about her battle with depression. Apart from speaking at events, she is the founder of the Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), which creates awareness on mental health in India.
Speaking at an event, Deepika shared that when she first went into depression there wasn’t much awareness on the topic and “even we weren’t familiar with what I was going through.”
“There was also this feeling that ‘Maybe we should not talk about it and keep it hush. So not only was there was a lack of awareness, there was also a lot of stigma,” she said.
However, her mother was the first to recognise the problem and immediately sought professional help.
“In my case, I didn’t know what I was feeling or going through and fortunately, it was my mother who was my caregiver and recognised my symptoms in the early stages. I was not feeling motivated anymore, I didn’t know why I wasn’t happy in my life and she was the one who took me to a counsellor,” Deepika said.
The actor added sharing her story with the world made her feel that “a huge weight is off my shoulders”.
“I felt completely transparent. There was no fear of being judged and today I think it just made me a much happier person. It made me understand how fragile life is. It’s made me much more sensitive to people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions,” she said.
Deepika asserted that everyone has a story to tell and people should not be quick to judge and label others.
“We very easily judge people and label them. Everyone has a backstory…. it is very easy to pass a judgement about someone and say something about someone. But when you understand what someone has been through, it just makes you a lot more aware of the people around you,” Deepika remarked.
The actor said her experience has made her more aware of her physical and mental well-being.
“When I start feeling anxious, I feel a knot in my stomach. I immediately know that I need to take care of myself and control my thoughts. Maybe breathe better and sleep more.”
“It has created so much awareness about my physical well-being. Because it was such a bad experience for me that I’m always aware now. Obviously, that fear of slipping into it again is there. I would never want to experience that again. So I’m always aware of my thoughts, feelings and emotions.”
Furthermore, in a letter penned for the Hindustan Times, Deepika wrote, “As I look back, I can truly say that the last four years have been life-changing in almost every way. There have been some dark, immensely tough times. There have also been triumphs. But without a doubt, one of my most powerful experiences has been my battle with, and recovery from depression.”