Deepika Padukone has played a huge role in normalising mental health conversations in India. On World Mental Health Day, the actress put out the following Instagram post:
Today, we repost our article on Padukone’s quest to help people seek professional help and remove the stigma that people with depression continue to face in the country.
“We don’t ask why someone who “had it all” was detected with a fatal illness, why someone who “had it all” broke their foot or why someone who “had it all” met with an accident. Just like all other illnesses, depression does not discriminate” – so goes Deepika Padukone’s powerful Instagram post.
The actress, who has been outspoken about mental health issues and the toll depression can take on a person’s life, was speaking about the often ignored topic in the wake of the shocking suicides of celebrity chef and renowned food critic Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade.
Even as the world was coming to terms with Spade’s suicide, news of Bourdain being found dead in his hotel room in France hit the airwaves. The deaths appeared doubly surprising because as Padukone mentions in her post, the duo seemed to ‘have it all’. In fact, many of Bourdain’s colleagues and friends even tweeted about how they all wished to have his life.
“Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were pioneers in their respective fields. They both carved a niche for themselves by doing the unexpected. They not only changed the world of fashion and food forever but were also loved by millions across the world. To the outside world, they seemed ‘happy’. They seemingly ‘had it all’. Then how did they ‘fall’ into depression?” Padukone’s post states, adding that one of the most misunderstood aspects of the mental illness is that people mistakenly believe they have control over their lives.
“You are not in the driver’s seat anymore, the illness is,” the powerhouse performer adds. And of course, she would know. Padukone has battled depression during the course of her career, yes, even when she did seem to ‘have it all’. In an interview with Barkha Dutt for New Delhi Television (NDTV), Padukone spoke about how despite having won numerous awards and garnering all the appreciation, she woke up one morning “feeling empty” with a “pettish feeling” in her stomach.
“That is not the only one, don’t feel like this is only happening to you and that is one of the most common feeling that the people will go through and they’re gonna feel like ‘Ye mere saath kyu ho raha hai‘ and ‘why this is happening to me?’ Realise that we all are together and we all are in this together and most importantly that there is hope. It can be prevented, there is cure and we need to treat this like anything else,” she had said during the interview.
Spade’s sister, Reta Saffo, told the Kansas City Star that they’d get so close to getting the designer into therapy, but in the end the image of the ‘happy-go-lucky Kate Spade’ brand would take centre stage. Considering that celebrities, faced with multiple cameras trained on them all the time, tend to put forth and forcibly maintain a certain image, it goes without saying that Padukone’s statements are extremely appreciated.
For a global star like her to speak about such an important issue is a massive deal. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that for a star like her to issue such a statement could just well save lives.