'I broke down often': Deepika talks about her depression

Published: January 15, 2015
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. PHOTO: AFP

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. PHOTO: AFP

Bollywood startlet Deepika Padukone has revealed that she is not just a shining star in India’s fast-paced and ever-growing film industry. The actor has inner struggles she battles with every single day to keep herself going, the Hindustan Times reported.

The actor revealed that she suffers from anxiety and depression, and is working towards overcoming her struggles.

“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,” Deepika said.

The Bollywood fashion icon said she “woke up feeling different” in 2004, just around the time she was beginning to be appreciated for her work. Deepika said had fainted due to exhaustion a day before, and claims “it was all downhill from there.

“I felt a strange emptiness in my stomach.”

The reigning actor said she would put up a front every time her parents visited her, so as not to worry them further, as they were already concerned about her working long hours and living alone.

However, she later did end up breaking down in front of her mother, Ujjala Padukone.

“She (her mother) realised the problem, and got in touch with a psychologist friend, Anna Chandy, to get to the root of the cause,” Deepika said.

“Every morning, it was a struggle to wake up, and shoot for Happy New Year’s (HNY; 2014) climax. Finally, I had a word with Anna aunty. She flew to Mumbai from Bangalore, and I talked my heart out to her. She concluded that I was suffering from anxiety and depression,” the actor said.

Her psychologist suggested that she take medication, but Deepika resisted this.

“I thought talking was enough.”

In fact, she disclosed that she met another pyschologist, Dr Shyam Bhatt, in Bengalore for a second opinion.

And, later she did end up taking medication as well as finally accepting her condition.

“The counselling helped, but only to an extent. Then, I took medication, and today I am much better.”

Deepika said she experienced a “roller-coaster of feelings,” and that she would feel fine on some days, but other times, not so much.

Interestingly, she said the filming of the movie Happy New Year was “shot through this phase.”

After filming Happy New Year, she decided to take a break and spend time with her family in Bangalore. However, upon her return to Mumbai, she was hit with devastating news of the death of her friend – who had committed suicide due to depression and anxiety.

“It was a huge blow,” she said.

This incident prompted her to work more on these issues.

“There is shame and stigma attached to talking about depression. In fact, one in every four people suffer from anxiety and depression.”

“This is probably one of the deadliest mental disorders. Nothing, including life, makes sense to people suffering from it,” the actor said.

She said overcoming it has made her a stronger person.

“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 is currently working on an initiative to create awareness about anxiety and depression.

“My team is working with me to formulate a plan, which will be unveiled soon.”

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Jan 15, 2015 - 3:32PM

    One needs lot of character and courage to admit such a thing. Great lady.


  • Pity
    Jan 15, 2015 - 4:12PM

    The higher you climb the success of ladder, the lonelier your become, its good that she has her parents’ support.


  • ITcrowd
    Jan 15, 2015 - 4:54PM

    “I am here Deepika” (millions of Indian men)


  • Rajesh
    Jan 15, 2015 - 5:00PM

    Classy lady… such grace and poise.


  • AMk
    Jan 15, 2015 - 5:06PM

    Depression and anxiety is a deeper problem than just meds and therapy. Trust me, I know it closely.
    People often fail to understand that there is no medication for ‘peace’ in your heart, and that there depression meds often just end up doing more harm than good – they’re not a solution at all, and certainly not a permanent solution.
    There is no magic pill to cure depression/anxiety…though there is this one thing that is the only real cure.


  • Jan 15, 2015 - 10:22PM

    It takes immense courage to admit this to general public.
    Very few mega stars would do this. She is a very classy lady.


  • Ahmed
    Jan 16, 2015 - 12:24PM

    I think the sheer stupidity and absurdity of HNYs script is to be blamed for this condition.


  • zaini
    Jan 16, 2015 - 6:47PM

    Depression is a serious illness.It needs to be diagnosed as early as possible other wise a oerson will endup with sucide..Its true people fear admitting it but the worst part it hardly they recognise they are suffering from depression and need treatments..well done depika.I hope it will help lot of people to face and accept and get treated.


  • Jan 17, 2015 - 7:01PM

    Deepika Padukone has actually worked as a torch bearer of the mental illness and the way it was taken in India. I was just going through the comments all over the internet media and was happy to discover that people from India have started coming up openly to talk about depression and anxiety. When I was openly telling my friends about my depression issue, I was just rechecking with myself, that am I right to discuss it openly, as I may be taken as mentally ill, but it is not my nature to hide or pretend for the things that are not required. Now that it is openly accepted by a celebrity, then we can expect a positive change in perceptions of mental illness in India


  • UQ
    Mar 23, 2015 - 2:48PM

    What’s that one thing?Recommend

  • V V Rao
    Apr 6, 2015 - 8:52PM

    I’m 43 old male from Bangalore, suffering from anxiety and depression from 2005 and taking medications/anti depressants..I had all kind of feelings what deepika has expressed. At times I had suicidal tendency also..I have everything in my life and still feel emptiness.

    I’m scarred to go outstation because of panik attacks. I put lot of efforts to keep myself happy, my colegaues think I’m happy guy but only few close friends knows about my sufferings. I tried to give up medication twice but became severe. Now am on anti depressants once again with some kind of naggings. Recommend

  • Roni
    Apr 26, 2015 - 8:05PM

    What is that cure@AMk: Recommend

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