MUMBAI: On World Mental Health Day (10th October), our TV actors tell us their stories of depression and how they overcame it.
Akashdeep: Staying happy is what keeps me away from depression. It’s always better not to worry about a problem once before it happens and then when it actually happens. We worry so much in advance that soon it gets depressive for us. Depressions caused due to emotional stress are the difficult ones to beat. Talking to loved ones, pouring out your worries to friends and family is the best way out for me. It makes me feel lighter and most of the times, the advice from loved ones helps beat the depression. My closest friend was depressed and it went on for years. He got suicidal also. A lot of personal attention, quality time, talking to him, giving him a constant pep talk and giving him good reading material related to it really helped and now he is like a new form of himself – 2.0.
Aanand Goradiya: Mental health is of prime importance to every individual’s life. But the irony is that we address physical illness and scoot away from mental health. One should understand that it is mind over matters. Mind rules and governs your whole body then why shy away? Yes, I have been through depression and I realised this, thanks to my wife. I consulted a shrink and even took therapy. And it has helped me leaps and bounds. It has made me a better person and has also improved my interpersonal relationship. Today people have started respecting me more and loving me more. I recommend all those to immediately take treatment and not avoid mental health problems. Mental illness does not mean that you are mad, it’s important to understand this.
Khalid Siddiqui: Depression is a very common illness. We all go through it at some point in our lives. There are two types of depression; one is a short-term one which occurs due to a loss, could be losses in business or loss of a loved one. The other one is clinical depression. In this situation, the first thing that helps is acceptance that this is a disease like any other disease like hypertension, which requires treatment and can be treated. Treatment always doesn’t mean medicine, it can be counselling, it can be a therapy or medical management too. But if it is picked up early, you overcome depression faster. I am a pretty chilled out guy who is very calm most of the times. However, once in my life I went through depression and I must say it was the worst stage in my life. I experienced loss of appetite, lack of sleep, negativity, loss of confidence, feeling of being worthless. The world seemed to come to an end. But, the good part is that I never had any habits of drinking or smoking so I stayed away from that during this phase too. I had a huge support system in my friends, who helped me a lot and kept me sane and strong.
Shamin Mannan: One of the very first and important dos would be the awareness of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety issues. One has to know the symptoms and not take it lightly and term this as low moods or mood swings. Also, the family members should pay close attention to such persistent low mood symptoms and take them seriously. It’s important to talk and share one’s feelings with someone close or to a counsellor. To keep things that trouble the mind to yourself is not a good idea. Do physical activities like walking, Yoga, swimming which calms the mind and is not only refreshing for the body but the mind too. See the glass half full and try to be realistic about the situation and be compassionate with yourself and others who are going through such a phase. Try and be mindful, be in the present. Don’ts – Don’t shy away from depression. Don’t judge anyone else who is going through it. Don’t delay in going to a psychiatrist if needed or a counsellor. It’s not a matter of shame to visit a psychiatrist; it doesn’t mean one is crazy or something. Don’t let negative thoughts spiral in your head. Don’t be with people who always talk negatively about everything. Yes, there has been a phase when I was depressed. It’s not an easy thing to go through; also, it’s not impossible to overcome. You need to accept it, acknowledge it and then set your mind to fight it positively with the help of your loved ones. Yoga, books, positive thought process, counselling, proper diet, meditation, medications and a strong will to recover helps one to overcome it with time.
Gaurav Singh: Mental health is as much talked about the topic nowadays and it is as important as physical health. Over the years, we have ignored it but now people are coming forward and openly discussing it. If there is something that is troubling us, it’s very important that we reach out to people we trust and talk about it. It’s okay to seek help and advice from professionals. However, we shouldn’t keep it under wraps or ignore it thinking that it’s just mental and not physical. It may aggravate the situation. Fortunately, I haven’t felt depressed or know someone who is/was.
Neelu Kohli : I think living in coexistence is important for happiness. To avoid depression, be open to speaking to family and friends and not looking down on depression and circumstances. A told-you-so-attitude should be avoided. I celebrate every moment that comes my way. I went through my series of problems some time back and also learned how to avoid depression. One important thing that I learned was to be thankful for whatever I have in my life. There is so much you can thank God for. I am in a happier state of mind and I feel that it’s really not difficult to remain happy and get over depression if you learn to appreciate little mercies in life like a beautiful sunrise, the birds chirping. I think for me little things make a lot of difference, you have to learn to steal moments otherwise the daily struggle will always be there in life.
Saurabh Pandey: I have gone through depression, lows, highs which everyone goes through but I think we have a lifestyle change; we watch our life and take control of situations. I think we can be at bay from depression. What I do is wake up early and sleep early and go for a morning walk to soak into the morning sun. I like to sit under a tree, meditate and focus on my breath. It helps to cool down.
Pooja Banerjee: I have been through that phase and the best thing is to keep yourself healthy, busy and surround yourself with positive people and have faith in yourself. Positive attitude makes all the difference. You should have the right set of people around you. Low phases are a part of life.
Vahbiz Dorabjee: I think at some point in life we all feel depressed and we also see a lot of people around us getting depressed. I have felt depressed and the best thing you can do is stay focused and divert your mind. Attach yourself to a goal and be happy. There is nothing like family support. If your family is with you, it’s like half the battle is won.
Munisha Khatwani: The do’s are try and stay happy, try keeping happy thoughts. Depression is a very serious illness today. I have been through lows in life but the important thing is that you need to learn to love yourself and to realise who are the people who love you like your parents. They won’t leave you in any circumstances. It’s very important to stay positive. Our prayers are like an umbrella in life to keep us away from storms and make sure you keep chanting positive thoughts and if you can’t, at least, speak positively; your words have power.
Ayush Anand: Every one faces a low phase in life. At one point of time, I also felt low when professionally things didn’t turn the way I wanted. I maintained optimism and believed in myself, and it worked. This too shall pass away is what I follow. Nothing is permanent. Life is beautiful and one must make the most of it. It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice.