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Shaheen Bhatt Opens Up About Her Battle with Depression and Rejection

Shaheen Bhatt is the author of I've Never Been (un)Happier, a book on her personal experiences with depression.


Updated:April 30, 2019, 2:15 PM IST
Shaheen Bhatt Opens Up About Her Battle with Depression and Rejection
Image: Instagram/Shaheen Bhatt

Busting the popular and hugely problematic myth that a person needs to have suffered in life to create art, Shaheen Bhatt says there is nothing romantic about being depressed or unhappy.

In a recent no-holds-barred interview with film critic Rajeev Masand, the 31-year-old author—who is also actor Alia Bhatt’s elder sister—said, “You don’t need to be depressed to create. It’s an absolute misconception that to create art, you need to unhappy or tortured in some way. As a misconception, it’s very damaging.”

Battling depression since she was 13, Shaheen last year released her first book I've Never Been (un)Happier. It talks about her experiences with the mental illness. Talking about it, she said, “Shame, I think, is the core of depression. Any kind of shame, it can be for any reason. With women, body image tends to be one of the causes for shame. There are many other causes but shame is central.”

View this post on Instagram

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 (@shaheenb) on

“I wish I could have people understand it that shame is central to any feeling of depression and sadness. It stops you from being vulnerable because you are constantly worried that if you show as you are you are going to be rejected by the society, by everyone around you. It unravels every human connection that you have,” she added.

You can watch the full interview here:

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