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Deepika Padukone Spoke Out Powerfully About Battling Depression And Anxiety

"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, movies… What else do you want?' It's not about what you have or don't have."

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Padukone explained how, while her career was thriving and she was rising to become one of Bollywood's most sought after actors, she was simultaneously battling mental illness.

It began in 2014 when, after fainting from exhaustion, she woke up the following morning feeling "a strange emptiness." Mistakenly identifying the feeling as a symptom of stress, Padukone threw herself further into her work and social life to stay distracted. "But the nagging feeling didn't go away," she said. "Over a period of time, it got worse. When my parents visited, I would put up a brave front because they were worried about me living alone and working long hours."

Once, during a conversation with her mother, Padukone broke down, prompting her mother (Ujjala Padukone) to get in touch with a psychologist – Anna Chandy – and seek her professional help.

After speaking with Chandy, she came to the conclusion that she was, in fact, suffering from anxiety and depression.

"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 counseling helped, but only to an extent. Then, I took medication, and today I am much better."

She goes on to tell the Hindustan Times that it was a friend's suicide due to anxiety and depression, as well as her own personal experiences, that encouraged her to speak up about this issue, one that isn't widely discussed in India:


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

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.

I feel that at times, the patient just wants to talk, and isn't seeking advice. But, well-wishers saying things like, 'Don't worry, it will all be alright,' might be detrimental.

Being sad and being depressed are two different things. Also, people going through depression don't look so, while someone sad will look sad. 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, movies… 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."

Since the interview was published, Deepika has received overwhelming support and appreciation from friends and fans. And rightly so.

Bravo! Deepika Padukone: Mental health is our society's worst kept secret. Thank you for bringing Depression out of the closet.

Shobhaa De@DeShobhaaFollow

Bravo! Deepika Padukone: Mental health is our society's worst kept secret. Thank you for bringing Depression out of the closet.

12:34 PM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Much respect for @deepikapadukone for opening up about her depression. More people need to read this: http://t.co/MvWEZwxVZP

Ashish Shakya@stupidusmaximusFollow

Much respect for @deepikapadukone for opening up about her depression. More people need to read this:

http://t.co/MvWEZwxVZP

12:17 PM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Good on Deepika for speaking out about suffering from depression & anxiety. A lot of people wouldn't http://t.co/VpdLACxIFk (via @gradwolf)

Sahil Rizwan@SahilRizFollow

Good on Deepika for speaking out about suffering from depression & anxiety. A lot of people wouldn't http://t.co/VpdLACxIFk (via @gradwolf)

12:06 PM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Respect to @deepikapadukone. Pure respect. It takes a lot!! http://t.co/6RmUDDizNm

Rahul Nanda@rahulnanda86Follow

Respect to @deepikapadukone. Pure respect. It takes a lot!! http://t.co/6RmUDDizNm

11:55 AM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

@DeepikaPFC @deepikapadukone way to go. My love and support :) :)

Maitri Porecha@maitriporechaFollow

@DeepikaPFC @deepikapadukone way to go. My love and support :) :)

11:44 AM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

One of the most important articles I've read today.About Depression thru Deepika Padukone. READ: http://t.co/dhwtrqTUop

Malishka@mymalishkaFollow

One of the most important articles I've read today.About Depression thru Deepika Padukone. READ: http://t.co/dhwtrqTUop

9:59 AM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Bravo @deepikapadukone for sharing your struggles with depression. http://t.co/Uy9gYmw722

Obstetrix@ScissorTongueFollow

Bravo @deepikapadukone for sharing your struggles with depression.
http://t.co/Uy9gYmw722

9:41 AM - 15 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Even before the interview, she's long advocated the cause of mental health awareness:

Anxiety,Depression and Panic Attacks are not signs of weakness.They are signs of trying to remain strong for way too long.

Deepika Padukone@deepikapadukoneFollow

Anxiety,Depression and Panic Attacks are not signs of weakness.They are signs of trying to remain strong for way too long.

9:19 PM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Urging people to help those around them.

When you look at a person,any person,everyone has a story.Everyone has gone through something that has changed their life.

Deepika Padukone@deepikapadukoneFollow

When you look at a person,any person,everyone has a story.Everyone has gone through something that has changed their life.

9:18 PM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Even dedicating 2015 to spread awareness about mental health.

I dedicate this year to supporting Mental Health Awareness.

Deepika Padukone@deepikapadukoneFollow

I dedicate this year to supporting Mental Health Awareness.

9:19 PM - 31 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Padukone told the Hindustan Times that she, along with her team, is working on a mental health awareness initiative, the complete plan for which will be unveiled soon.

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