New Delhi, January 17 – Deepika Padukone gave four back-to-back hits in 2013 and won many awards last year for her power packed performances. Her film Happy New Year broke the records by becoming one of the biggest grossers of 2014, but not many know that Padukone suffered from depression and anxiety during the shooting of the film.
In an exclusive interview to a daily, Deepika opened up about her struggle with anxiety and depression. She said that in early 2014 she woke up one day “feeling different” and felt a “strange emptiness” in her 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.”
She further added that it was a struggle to wake up every day and shoot for Happy New Year and it was at that time she consulted a psychologist. “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 Bengaluru, and I talked my heart out to her. She concluded that I was suffering from anxiety and depression.” Deepika also revealed that the counselling helped her but earlier she resisted taking medication.
“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 it was her close friend’s death which prompted the actress to come out and spread awareness about the issue. “When I returned to Mumbai, I heard about a friend committing suicide due to anxiety and depression. It was a huge blow.”
“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 aliments, 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,” she further added.
The actress also clarified that there is a difference between being sad and being depressed and was surprised by people’s reaction on her depression. “The most common reaction is, ‘How can you be depressed? You have everything going for you.
You are the supposed number one heroine and have a plush home, car, moviesâ€¦ What else do you want?’ It’s not about what you have or don’t have. People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn’t help. One needs support and understanding.”