Shama Sikander: Facing death made me question everything
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Shama Sikander: Facing death made me question everything

Actor Shama Sikander shares how she gathered the strength to talk about her mental illness, and how with her new production venture, Ab Dil Ki Sun, she wants to spread awareness about mental health.

tv Updated: Jul 09, 2018 14:55 IST
Vanshika Saikia
Vanshika Saikia
Hindustan Times
Shama Sikander,Yeh Meri Life Hai,Baal Veer
Shama wants to help spread awareness about mental health issues

Actor Shama Sikander opened up about suffering from depression and bipolar disorder for the first time in 2016. Since then, the actor has been quite vocal about her struggles, including admitting to taking several sleeping pills at once and even attempting to commit suicide before eventually seeking medical help.

Read | I swallowed several sleeping pills: Actor Shama Sikander on her suicide attempt

“Earlier, people didn’t believe there could be illnesses in one’s mind,” says Shama, adding, “They thought that one is either crazy or possessed. Fortunately, with education and awareness, people are now aware that there can be a shuffling of brain chemicals, which can make you feel or act in a particular way.”

The actor shares that even though her family and friends were receptive to what she was going through, she still felt that she had to talk to them and explain that she needed their love and support. “You can’t expect other people to understand if you don’t talk to them about it. Anybody who is going through something like this has to be vocal about it,” Shama says. “When I faced death, it made me question my purpose in life. Now, I know my purpose is to help people by starting a dialogue about this issue.”

And that dark phase has helped Shama be more empathetic, allowing her to connect with people suffering from the same, and now the actor wants to use the ‘superpower’ to help them. “Finally, talking about it felt great. For three years, I felt like there was no hope. I want those who are also suffering to know that there is hope. There may be a lot of darkness and hopelessness inside you right now, but it will be better. There is light, so take it from someone who has gone through it herself,” she says.

On the work front, Shama, who has been seen in shows such as Yeh Meri Life Hai and Baal Veer, and films such as Prem Aggan (1998) and Mann (1999), is now working on her latest project, the web series, Ab Dil Ki Sun, consisting of seven short stories. Being an actor, Shama felt the only way she could start a dialogue around mental illness, was through cinema.

“The films will try to encourage the people to question themselves. It’s about bringing sensitivity in people. People ridicule other people without intending to, unthinkingly. You don’t know what someone is going through, how sensitive his life has made him, how he has been brought up. You can never know how much damage a thoughtless comment can make,” Shama signs off.

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First Published: Jul 06, 2018 18:53 IST