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Alia Bhatt is all praise for sister Shaheen as she opens up about her battle with depression

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 16-06-2018
Alia Bhatt, Soni Razdan posing for the camera © Provided by Screen

Alia Bhatt's sister Shaheen Bhatt opened up about her battle with depression and insomnia two years back in a long Instagram post. Now, with the news about celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade’s suicide, she has once again penned down how she overcame her suicidal thoughts and fought the darkness within her. The article has been shared by Alia on social media with the caption, “Shaheen you are brilliant! My sister has battled and lived with depression since she was 12. She speaks her heart out and without any hesitation addresses the giant elephant in the room – Mental health and the LACK of our understanding & acceptance!”

In a blog, Shaheen has written for Vogue, she mentioned, “I’ve lived with depression since I was 12 years old and since then I’ve been suicidal on more than one occasion. I’ve experienced the sheer terror of contemplating a life filled with unrelenting anguish, and I’ve been consumed by the terrifying thought of having but a single means of escape from a bleak, unbearable future.”

Alia Bhatt, Soni Razdan posing for the camera: alia bhatt's sister shaheen bhatt opens up about depression © Provided by Screen alia bhatt's sister shaheen bhatt opens up about depression

Daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan, Shaheen also talked about the impact of social media on young lives and how it “has given rise to a dangerous tendency to airbrush and filter our personal lives.” She wrote, “A year and a half ago I chose to talk about my own experiences with depression on social media and even though I had never hidden that facet of my life, I was concerned about the judgement I would receive. Social media has given rise to a dangerous tendency to airbrush and filter our personal lives. There is so much value placed on false ideas of positivity and emotional prosperity that we present our lives as immaculate highlight reels entirely devoid of substance, and altogether devoid of the aches and pains of what it means to be human.”

I've lived with depression on and off since I was about 13 years old. This is not a revelation or a confession. Those who know me know this about me. It's not something I take any pains to hide, I'm not ashamed of it or particularly troubled by it. It's just a part of who I am. I have days where I feel good and then I have days where I don't. One minute everything's fine and the next it's like someone turned the light off inside my head. I go quiet and it's difficult to get out of bed. Like it always does the world around me loses focus and I struggle to make sense of it. Sometimes these bouts last an hour - sometimes they last days. Today, I'm on day 4. I say I live with depression rather than I struggle with it because for me (and I speak only for myself here) I don't see why it has to be a struggle. I once read an idea by an American essayist called Richard Mitchell which stayed with me; it's now become how I try to approach the dips in my week or month. The idea is this: To be sick, or to suffer, is inevitable. But to become bitter and vindictive in sickness and suffering and to surrender to irrationality, supposing yourself the innocent and virtuous victim of the evils intentions of the world, is not inevitable. The appropriate answer to the question - Why me? is the other question - Why not me? *** Why am I writing about this? Well, I spend a fair amount of time on social media during the course of my day and today I found myself looking for something to post because it's been a few days since I've posted anything. I couldn't find anything so I figured I'd just talk about this - how I'm doing, instead of what I'm doing. It's as simple as that, and we could all stand to do a little more of it. P.S. That picture just seemed to work in this context.

A post shared by Shaheen Bhatt (@shaheenb) on

Though discussions about depression and mental stress have been initiated and more public figures have opened up about their battles with it, still depression continues to be a taboo. As Shaheen writes, “We don’t like to talk about depression because there is nothing romantic or glamorous about feeling like you’re losing your mind; no attractive selfies are waiting to be taken when you’re curled up crying on the floor, no witty one-liners are floating around your mind to tweet for likes.”

Also read | I love my sister but I can’t help her get over depression, says Alia Bhatt

Encouraging people to open up about depression, she concluded, “Every minute that we continue to stay silent we lose one more person to the horrors of depression and suicide. Every second that we choose comfort over reality we fail another Anthony and another Kate. Talking about depression is no longer an option, it’s a matter of life and death.”

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(Video by Times Of India)

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