Alia Bhatt's elder sister Shaheen Bhatt is into a commendable job of continuously harping on the stigma around mental health in India while she repeatedly opens up on her own battle with depression and how taxing it was. While speaking to a popular story-telling platform, Shaheen revealed how mental illness became a part of her life at an early age and every incident would trigger it further.
She also recalled an instance wherein she was asked to step out of a photoshoot with sisters Alia Bhatt and Pooja Bhatt as she was darker and heavier.
"At that point, everything triggered my anxiety–like the photoshoot incident with Alia & Pooja where I was asked to step out of the frame as I was overweight & much darker," the platform's Instagram post quoted her saying.
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???????????? ••• #repost @officialhumansofbombay ・・・ “Mental illness has been a part of my life since I was 12. I woke up one day & felt empty & confused. Even without doing anything, I was so fatigued that tasks like brushing felt impossible. I’d look out the window for hours, trying to make sense of how broken I felt, but didn’t find an answer. No one really spoke about mental health back then. At first, I thought I was being a ‘teenager’–one who’s irritable, sleeps a lot & never leaves her room. At that point, everything triggered my anxiety–like the photoshoot incident with Alia & Pooja where I was asked to step out of the frame as I was overweight & much darker. Incidents like these, along with schoolmates making fun of my weight made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. For 6 years, I avoided therapy because I didn’t want to seem ‘weak’ or ‘crazy’. It was my ‘problem’ & I could ‘fix it’! So, I tried to write away my depression in a journal–I believed that when the pen hit paper, I’d heal. That was my version of self-care! But it didn’t work. It took me becoming suicidal to realize I couldn’t keep my struggle a secret. So I started seeing a therapist, pushed myself out of hiding & shared my feelings with my loved ones. My family was really supportive. When Alia told me how guilty she felt about not knowing, I almost wished I’d opened up to her earlier. They made it so easy for me to talk to them! In 2016, I went public with my depression & was flooded with messages from people who were going through something similar. So I shared myself in the biggest way I could & wrote a book about my journey with depression–all in the hope that I could help even one person feel less alone. Today, I accept & love myself in ways I never did before. I don’t wait for things to go bad to take care of my mental health–I deserve to be loved & cared for even on good days! If I’m having a bad day, I don’t beat myself up–it’s kind of like the weather; when it’s raining, you don’t yell at the skies to stop! I simply take a deep breath, chill with my cats & just have faith that eventually, it’ll pass.” ---- HOB with @converse.india are celebrating stories of those who have learnt fearles
Shaheen says she started visiting a therapist only after she realised this wasn't something she could fix herself. "My family was really supportive. When Alia told me how guilty she felt about not knowing, I almost wished I’d opened up to her earlier. They made it so easy for me to talk to them," she was further quoted.
In the recent past, we have seen Alia lending active hands to Shaheen as to continues to write, speak and create awareness about mental health and hopes to bring about a positive change.
More power to you both!