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.”