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Stigma Surrounding Depression: Padukone Speaks Up About Her Experiences

Speaking at the India Economic Summit, actress Deepika Padukone has stated that her experiences with depression in the past have always left a fear of relapse in her. The actor opened up about her battle with depression in the beginning of 2015. It was a friend’s suicide along with her own experiences with anxiety and depression that made her speak up. Though she says it might have cost her some good roles in movies because some filmmakers might have been wary about signing her up while she is battling depression, she says by opening up she might be able to change the way India, and the world looks at depression. So, why the rest of the sufferers are still not opening up about their experiences? Is it because they fear losing their jobs, their confidence and people getting judgemental about them? Its high time we start understanding the danger signs.

The Silent Killer That Is Depression

A WHO study conducted in 2015 says that over 5 crore Indians suffer from Depression, a major contributor to suicides which happen mostly in underdeveloped or developing countries. The document released by the WHO states that 322 million people across the world are suffering from depression and every year the numbers are increasing. Depression has become a major contributor in terms of burden of diseases globally, and the WHO asserts that women suffer more than men from depression, which in its worst case leads to suicide. This is also a disorder that people do not realize, most of the time, that they are suffering from it. It creeps up on you silently, engulfing you with a feeling of hopelessness, and soon you feel all happiness being sucked out of you. By the time, loved ones of the sufferers realize something is wrong, things would have taken a bad turn. Hence, it is said, ask your loved ones, every once in awhile whether they are ok, not once, but twice, thrice, until they give a firm and assuring response.

Actress Deepika Padukone Opens Up

It is the same question that Deepika Padukone’s mom asked her, in the beginning of the year 2014, which prompted Deepika to break down and confess that she had a strange feeling of emptiness inside her. After seeing a Psychiatrist, she realized that she was suffering from anxiety and depression, for which she started taking medications and counseling. It was on January 15, 2015, that she opened up to the Hindustan Times about her experiences, battling depression for over a year. Since her experience, she started reading a lot about depression and realized that she was not the only one undergoing the mental turmoils. She has asserted that it is not weak people who suffer from depression, in fact having depression might be a sign that the person has tried to be strong for too long. Her parents, having always stood by her, have been with her throughout her entire struggle, helping her accept her situation, see the right doctors and take medication. Something, a lot of family members of other sufferers do not do since there is a stigma associated with depression. A stigma that revolves around all mental health conditions in our society.

Why Rest of the Sufferers Should Speak Up

This is the stigma which prompted Deepika to start ‘The Live Love Laugh Foundation’. The Foundation works for all mental health-related causes, with a particular focus on depression. It also aims to train a lot of GPs on mental health-related illnesses, creating a database for a support system that a lot of the sufferers really crave for. Banking on the stardom of the founder, the organization aims to use social and digital media to make the cause reach a larger population and also create content that helps people understand and support mental health. Batting for the introduction of mental health awareness at the school level, Deepika has tried to emphasize that the earlier people understand, the better it is to remove the stigma associated with it. After all, mental health is as important as physical health and we need to treat it as just another dimension of our self. Dealing with depression needs a lot of internal strength, something all of us need to understand. So, be there for your loved ones, you have no idea about their internal battles.

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