Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone said that while she did feel better about sharing her struggle with depression her intention was not to look “brave”, an Indian publication reported. “There wasn’t much awareness…even we weren’t familiar with what I was going through.” “There was also this feeling that ‘Maybe we should not talk about it and keep it hush. So there was a lack of awareness and there was a lot of stigma.” The ‘Padmaavat’ star said that it was her mother, Ujjala Padukone, who realised that she was suffering from depression. “In my case, I didn’t know what I was feeling or going through and fortunately, it was my mother who was my caregiver and recognised my symptoms in the early stages.” “I was not feeling motivated anymore, I didn’t know why I wasn’t happy in my life and she was the one who took me to a counsellor who immediately recognised that I needed medical help,” Deepika said. The actor added sharing her story with the world made her feel that “a huge weight is off my shoulders”. “I felt completely transparent. There was no fear of being judged and today I think it just made me a much happier person. It made me understand how fragile life is. It’s made me much more sensitive to people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions,” she said. Deepika asserted that everyone has a story to tell and people should not be quick to judge and label others. “We very easily judge people and label them. Everyone has a backstory…. it is very easy to pass a judgement about someone and say something about someone. But when you understand what someone has been through, it just makes you a lot more aware of the people around you,” she said. The actor said her experience has made her aware of her physical and mental well-being. “When I start feeling anxious, I feel a knot in my stomach. I immediately know that I need to take care of myself and control my thoughts. Maybe breathe better and sleep more.” “It has created so much awareness about my physical well-being. Because it was such a bad experience for me that I’m always aware now. Obviously, that fear of slipping into it again is there. I would never want to experience that again. So I’m always aware of my thoughts, feelings and emotions.” Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.