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Bollywood’s tryst with the Great Depression

After filmmaker Karan Johar’s recent admission that he suffered from depression, experts explain why celebs are prone to this mental affliction.

bollywood Updated: Oct 08, 2016 22:44 IST
Yashika Mathur
Yashika Mathur
Hindustan Times
Filmmaker Karan Johar says he was on strong medication to cure clinical depression.
Filmmaker Karan Johar says he was on strong medication to cure clinical depression.

After actors Deepika Padukone and Varun Dhawan, filmmaker Karan Johar’s recent admission that he battled depression, has once again put the limelight back on why so many stars are vulnerable to it.

In a recent interview Johar said, “It was a 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 was not able to find my life partner. There is so much love I get from my friends but where do I take it all? I used to feel very lonely.”

Speaking about why celebs are prone to being depressed, clinical psychologist, Pulkit Sharma says, “Being a celebrity, people get very dependent on external admiration to feel good and to keep their self esteem intact. They get addicted to it and get shattered if that admiration declines.”

In 2015, actor Deepika Padukone, too, spoke extensively about fighting depression and how it was important for her to fight it. “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... It’s not about what you have or don’t have,” said Padukone, who launched her own foundation Live, Love and Laugh in 2015 which is dedicated towards helping people fight depression.

Manish Jain, a psychiatric consultant adds, “People who are in the limelight are prone to depression. They have the pressure of performing well all the time and anybody can be a victim of this.”

Actor Deepika Padukone launched a foundation to help people suffering from depression. (Prasad Naik)

In an interview last year, actor Anushka Sharma spoke out on taking medication for anxiety. “I have anxiety. And I’m treating my anxiety. I’m on medication for my anxiety. Why am I saying this? Because it’s a completely normal thing. It’s a biological problem. In my family there have been cases of depression. More and more people should talk openly about it. There is nothing shameful about it or something to hide. If you had a constant stomach pain, wouldn’t you go to the doctor? It’s that simple. I want to make this my mission, to take any shame out of this, to educate people about this,” she said.

In January 2015, Varun said, “I was depressed. I was not clinically declared depressed but I was heading there. I was very sad to a certain degree. I don’t want to use the term ‘depression’ loosely because it’s a serious illness. It definitely affected my mental health. I was prescribed and did see a doctor for it as well.”

Actor Anushka Sharam has spoken earlier about taking medication for anxiety. (Aalok Soni/ HT Photo)

International image management consultant, Jaspreet Kaur adds, “Though celebrities have wealth, are admired and widely popular, all of this comes at a cost. And, like any common man they also have to deal with several problems such as relationship issues and insecurities.”