People think depression is sadness, crying or dressing in black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. You wake up in the morning just to go back to bed again.”
“Depression is very, very real. It is a chemical imbalance in your brain, and needs to be treated,” said Bollywood star Ileana D’Cruz while talking about her struggle with depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
The ‘RUSTOM’ and ‘BAADSAHO’ star was speaking on the final day of the 21st World Congress of Mental Health Sunday where she was awarded the Woman of Substance Award for her efforts towards raising awareness about mental health.
A psychiatrist said, “Anxiety and depression are very common. About 60 million people live with depression in India. The first challenge is knowing that you are depressed. People suffer in silence, out of guilt, and don’t realize that they are suffering from depression. Ileana is a woman of substance for she did not only decide to fight against it but also encouraged others to seek help, raised awareness, and is trying to dispel myths in her own way.”
Ileana said, “I was always a very self-conscious person and was picked on for my body type. I used to feel low and sad all the time but didn’t know I was suffering from depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder till I got help. All I wanted to do was to be accepted by everyone. At one point, I even had suicidal thoughts and wanted to end things.”
Adding, “However, all of it changed when I accepted myself and what I was going through. I think that is the first step towards fighting depression. Depression is very, very real. It is a chemical imbalance in your brain and needs to be treated. Don’t sit back and think it’ll get okay but go get help. Like you have a sprain and go get yourself checked if you have depression, seek help. You know Winnie the Pooh – he wore a crop top, ate his favourite food all day and loved himself, you can too!”
Ileana, whose mother was her biggest pillar of strength throughout, also said imperfections are a part of life. “I am not saying that I had this miraculous recovery, every day is a process, every day is a step towards healing yourself and getting better. You are a human being and are allowed to be imperfect, and you are allowed to be flawed. There is a lot of beauty in your imperfections, in your uniqueness.
“You may look at us actors and think that ‘Oh my God, they are so pretty, so perfect’. But that’s not how it is. It takes two hours to get ready and look like this. Love yourself for who you are and trust me if you are happy from within, you are the most beautiful person and your smile is your best asset.”
She also said she decided to open up about her struggle because “as someone people look up to, even if I can help a handful of people cope, it is worth talking about it”.
The World Congress was organised by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), a global alliance of mental health professionals, national health associations, NGOs, policy experts and other institutions.
By- Mini Singh