Deepika Padukone on depression

Deepika Padukone on depression

The actor makes 3 great points about the illness

By Deepa Menon  January 15th, 2015

Talking about it cannot cure depression, but it’s where you have to start. Many people don’t make it that far. So everyone who breaks the silence around this makes it a little closer to normal to ask for help. And when a celebrity from one the most influential industries in India, like Deepika Padukone, talks about it, the message is amplified. The fact that this story appears in the Entertainment section, and not say, Health, is even better because it’s clear which one has the wider reach. Everything about this is great, but these are the best parts of what Padukone had to say about her experience with anxiety and depression.

It’s not about anything: Padukone says, “The most common reaction is, ‘How can you be depressed? You have everything going for you. You are the supposed number one heroine and have a plush home, car, movies… What else do you want?’ It’s not about what you have or don’t have.” Reactions like this force people back into their silence. People often say things like this to emphasise how good you have it. But if you’re suffering, all you hear is this: ‘Your pain is not impressive, many have it much worse. I give it a C-.’

Modern medicine is our friend: Padukone describes a very common reaction to a doctor suggesting anti-depressants: “When she suggested I take medication, I was resistant. I thought talking was enough.” We tend to think of depression as a purely emotional issue. That’s why it’s a source of shame. Needing medication is seen as a sign of weakness. Ask yourself this: do you see a wheelchair as a sign of weakness? Or as something that allows you to participate more fully in the world?

Silence is heavy: ‘Pain has an element of blank,’ said Emily Dickinson. Depression eats up words. You can’t find a way to make yourself understood. Your lack of words might exasperate or alarm loved ones. This is why you have to talk to a professional. A counselor or psychologist can help you articulate your fears, and when you find the words, you find your voice. “Accepting it and speaking about it has liberated me,” says Padukone.