Actor-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt, who has battled with alcoholism in the past, says there is a fallacy that depression is a rich people’s disease. She added that people need to discuss depression with family.
The Bhatt family recently came out in support for Pooja’s half-sister Shaheen, who has written a memoir about her struggles with depression titled, I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier.
Spotted at an event on Tuesday were Shaheen’s sister, actor Alia Bhatt, mother Soni Razdan, father Mahesh Bhatt and Pooja among others. “I think we should never ask somebody why they are depressed. There is a fallacy that it’s a rich people’s disease and people often say that you have the luxury of being depressed. The misconception needs to be erased,” said Pooja.
She added, “Most people go out there for help because they do not have real conversations on their own dining table with their very own. If you cannot share it with your mother and your father and you (need to) go to your neighbour’s house, then there is a failure in parenting somewhere.”
Shaheen Bhatt with his parents Mahesh Bhatt, Soni Razdan and sisters Alia Bhatt and Pooja Bhatt at the launch of her book I've Never Been (un)Happier in Mumbai in December. ( IANS )
Pooja said she was thankful she could discuss things with her parents. “I am just glad that I was born in a family where I can come home and I can bare my soul ‘good, bad or ugly’ and that has kept me going. We need to listen to each other more. We live in a sick society to begin with, so don’t tell your closed ones that ago and take this pills or have a sound sleep’. It’s not a pleasant world to live in right now, and you can’t be happy the way things are. If you are then, you are brain dead,” she said.
Talking about Shaheen, Pooja said: “Shaheen has always been somebody ‘from the time she was a child’ who looked at life very intensely. She always kind of heard more, saw more and frivolity of life did not appease her, so if she feels this way it’s because there is something wrong with world and you can’t fix it.” Pooja also spoke about her alcoholism stint. “I used to drink because if you can’t fix the world you need to mum yourself, so the thing is I feel that we need to talk more, share more and we need to judge less. That’s very important,” she said.
Alia Bhatt couldn’t control her tears while listening to mom Soni Razdan who read an excerpt from Shaheen’s book. Talking about depression and mental health, Mahesh Bhatt said: ”There is no happy ending to it. She (Shaheen Bhatt) has told me that she stills goes through phases of depression. Just six months back, she went into a dark space, so first of all, let us as a society be brave enough to say we don’t have answers and neither do medical practitioners. I think the National Institute of Mental Health needs to be asked the question -- Is it a psycho-biological problem?’ So, let’s stop this nonsense of psychiatry and healing through words. If I have headache, you can’t cure me while talking to me. If diabetes is a biological problem, you need a physical intervention.”
He added: “She is decorous enough to talk about it. I am 71 and she (Shaheen) is 30. It’s not an academic book. It’s a journey of a woman who is writing about those harrowing days. I am certain that if she has coped with it, even you will. So as a society, let us sit down and talk about it.”
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