7 celebrities who've spoken out about dealing with mental illness
It might seem that celebrities live the perfect life. They’re talented and widely loved, they've got mansions, fast cars and are always decked in designer goodies.
But that doesn't mean their world is free from mental illness. It's tough to talk about your problems but sometimes someone else breaking the ice can help. More and more celebrities are coming forward and perpetuating a culture of openness that is slowly chipping away at our preconceived notions.
Here are some who've experienced mental health challenges and come out on the other side.
The singer, who practically became a household name overnight after being featured on Coke Studio alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, took to Instagram last month to open up about a personal struggle which she stated had been plaguing her for a while.
In a three-part video series, the 25-year-old shared, "There was a time in my life where I was very depressed, I had lost all self-esteem. I came to a point where I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror, I had gained weight. When people tell you to just get over it, it's not one thing you're sad about, it's just this feeling. It's not like you feel suddenly sad at 2am at night, it could also be when you're in class in the morning or meeting people. You're smiling on the outside but you feel devastated on the inside."
She also spoke about the scrutiny she had to face being "Pakistan's national crush": "Everything I did was everyone's business. I wasn't expecting it so I fell back into that trap again. I started having anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I would cry myself to sleep every night and wish I could go back in time and get my life back and be a human again instead of a photo op."
However, she reveals that what helped put things into perspective for her was a fortune cookie that read it only gets better when you get better.
"I reread it and I was like oh, that makes sense. The change has to come from within you. Only if you love yourself, only if you're happy with yourself and only if you know your own worth will you ever be happy," revealed Mustehsan.
Earlier this year, singer Nouman Javaid was admitted to the hospital. Some people said he had gotten into a car accident while his Facebook page read that he'd been injured following a gas leak in his bedroom.
However, Nouman took it upon himself to clear the air and was brave enough to admit in an interview that he had actually taken 50 sleeping pills and had tried to end his life because he had been struggling with depression.
That being said, Javaid reassured fans that he was in a better head space following the incident and was working on getting his career back on track.
“Although I am not well, I feel positive about my future.” he added.
In an interview with Dawn three years ago, the actress spoke about the benefits of therapy and said she feels that "people in the industry should go to a psychiatrist at least once a week" just to get things off their chests.
“I've been seriously committed to therapy for two years. I don’t go for therapy because I am schizophrenic or manic depressive or because I have a psychological problem. In fact, I have a minor in psychology which is part of my degree but I go because I feel people in this industry should go to a psychiatrist at least once a week to vent out all that is inside them."
“I tell everyone in the industry to go for therapy just like I go to the gym every day because in this industry you are constantly being analyzed from every angle,” she added.
Possibly Bollywood's biggest female actor at the moment, it can be hard to believe that Padukone too suffered from depression and anxiety.
Just two years ago, the Tamasha leading lady opened up about struggling with mental health challenges. She also took it upon herself to bust a common myth, which is that being depressed is the same as being sad.
"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." Read her full statement here.
Also read: Deepika Padukone to launch foundation for mental health awareness
In an article she wrote about holding onto hope, she also said, "There’s absolutely no shame if you suffer from depression. Please don’t hide it, feel angry, think of yourself as weak, or consider it a character flaw. It is not your fault if you are depressed. Acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery. Depression doesn’t discriminate; it can happen to anybody, at any point in their lives. Know that you are not alone, that we are in this together and most importantly that there is hope; for in the words of comedian Stephen Fry, “It will be sunny one day”.
While chatting with Barkha Dutt on NDTV last year, director/producer Karan Johar revealed that he had been suffering from anxiety and depression and only realised that when he went to the doctor for what he thought was a heart attack.
According to the filmmaker, he was in a meeting a couple of years ago, when he felt like he was going into cardiac arrest – and immediately drove to a doctor, who told him what he was really having was an anxiety attack. He then saw a psychologist, who revealed he’s suffering from depression.
He didn’t want to meet people and found excuses to leave Mumbai: “It was dark, deep and helpless time. There was nothing I could do about it."
“I stopped feeling excitement and happiness. There was lack of sleep and I was always on the edge. I think I hadn’t dealt entirely with the loss of my father. There was also the fear that I won't be able to find my life partner. At 44, when you don’t have a life partner or kids, it's difficult to deal with.”
The Bombay Velvet actor shared some good news as he said he has stopped taking his medication some months ago and had come out of the experience stronger.
When collaborating with a denim brand, the Main Tera Hero actress divulged that she had struggled with depression as well as body dysmorphic disorder for 15 years.
“I was a shy, self-conscious person once I hit my teens. I was constantly picked on for my body type. The obsession started when I was 15; my entire life goal was to be accepted by everyone. It's what I wanted the most but I never got it. I was always the wallflower."
"I didn't even know I had a body disorder so when I started off with acting, it just got worse. There was a period, approximately three years ago, where I would go from happy to completely depressed and not knowing what it was," she added. The most comforting thought to me was what if I just end things now? Thankfully, I realized this is not right.”
The 29-year-old then talks about how depression is tricky to understand.
"I never expected to be someone who'd be dealing with anxiety or depression. I've got everything I want and more and you wonder, why are you so depressed? I still don't know sometimes."
"When I was diagnosed with depression and was told that I have a body disorder, there was a sort of acceptance that came with it immediately. That is the biggest step you can take, you can't move forward otherwise. You're not meant to be perfect, you're meant to be flawed."