Because of actors in Hollywood and Bollywood speaking out, depression has finally become a topic that is being discussed as a real disease that affects millions of people over the world. Actor Shardul Pandit currently seen as the lead in ‘Kuldeepak’ is the latest actor to come out and talk about it, and says that he has battled depression himself. He says,
“I was depressed myself. The sad thing is, the moment you say it openly, people look at you differently. My depression was post my stint in the show ‘Bandini’. And one thing to remember is that depression doesn’t happen in a day. For the longest time, I wasn’t even aware I was depressed. I was making loads of money in Dubai with a number one radio show yet no one knew what was happening inside. I used to feel sad for no reason. Slowly my friends deserted me. In fact, some of them went on the extent of blocking me on phone. Their reason was that I was depressed. They said I used to sound sad. It was excruciating for me,”
he says adding that it affected him even more and drove him in a shell. He reveals,
“First, a person has to battle depression and on top of it, he has to deal with abandonment I was doing well on the surface, but inside, I was broken. I went through a very bad break up. In fact, it was the worst I ever had. I was away from India and was missing home. I was also missing acting. I felt like I was dragging myself every day to live. I felt choked wanted to cry but couldn’t as I was a celebrity. I felt I was strangled.”
Still, Shardul said he carried on with his duties. He says,
“I had responsibilities. I remember so many events I used to host with Honey Singh, Atif Aslam , Sonu Nigam, even Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. I used to be spaced out before I went on stage and somehow did a great job. But the moment I used to come back home, I used to stare at walls. I started eating and drinking and put on weight. I was so confused as to what was happening. All I would do is feel sad and stuck. I cried for hours at times became irritable. I even thought I should just die. Yet no one could understand. All they would say is, ‘hey you’re doing so well, what’s your problem?”
Shardul says he tried a lot of treatments when he decided he had to overcome it.
“I went to many places and tried various things to deal with depression, and many didn’t work. I thought that being with people will help me, so I started going out for all events and parties. Still I felt empty. I tried self-affirmation videos and motivational speeches. I consulted therapists and healers, yet nothing worked. Then I just drowned myself in work. Two of my friends started talking to me and pushed me to talk and to think positive. Yet I couldn’t find real help till I moved back to Mumbai.”
He says that it was this move that started the healing process.
“I think the decision to come back and act gave me the strength and I kept from hanging myself for my mother and my sisters. Not even medicines worked for me. The real cure, I found, was when I started meditating. I found my inner strength with it. That is when I took control of my life and said enough is enough. I am going to fight through this. My work gave me a new lease of life.”
As far as people abusing substances is concerned, Shardul didn’t go down that road. He says,
“I won’t lie. It’s tempting to try substances for the lack of judgement, as you just want release and break from the feeling of getting choked. I had a phase when I started drinking wine. However, thankfully I have a strong family background and good upbringing. I absolutely hate drugs. I have seen someone close to me suffer and that stopped me every time. What prompted me was my sister crying. Normally, she doesn’t cry and she is the strongest human being I know. But she said one line to me, ‘Bhai, I can’t see you like this. Your pain troubles me.’ That was the turning point in my life. I was at the breakage point but those words from her somehow gave me a magical strength. I don’t know about others but the only cure is willingness. So many people can get healed but they don’t have the willingness and support system. I had it and that’s why I decided to come back and take the right approach. It’s my sister’s love and support that I am even living and did not crumble and give in to it.”
Way to go Shardul. We hope your example motivates others to battle the dreaded condition and that they find their own support system to beat the harmful blues.