IT’S DARK­EST BE­FORE DAWN

99 ACHIEV­ERS POUR OUT THEIR TALES OF HOPE­LESS­NESS, AND SHOW YOU HOW TO FIGHT DE­PRES­SION AND WIN!

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - Cover Story - W ith con­tri­bu­tions from Dr­ishti Vij, Veenu Singh, Ananya Ghosh, Su­ran­jana Biswas, Priya Pathiyan, Sam­reen Tungekar and Lubna Salim.

“IT TOOK TWO YEARS OF IN­TENSE THER­APY TO GET MY­SELF BACK. MY FAM­ILY MADE RULES. WE HUG EACH OTHER EV­ERY DAY.” – MANSI VAKHARIA, ED­U­CA­TOR

02 “When my fail­ure in the 2016 Olympics de­pressed me, I spent time by my­self, telling my­self my fu­ture plans for which I needed to work harder. This method has re­ally helped me each time.” Mirabai Chanu, Weightlifter

I n the murk of de­pres­sion, you are in such dark­ness that you lit­er­ally see no light. So you don’t re­ally know what’s hap­pen­ing around you. You may not even be able to see that you’re de­pressed. Be­cause some peo­ple do feel sad all the time, don’t they? Or tired all the time. Or com­fort­ably numb. Or an­gry and anx­ious. And un­nec­es­sary to the world. Right? It’s nor­mal, right?

This is why we asked these 99 peo­ple who’ve been where you might be to tell us how they saw the light. So even if you can’t tell that you need help, fam­ily mem­bers and friends read­ing this will recog­nise symp­toms you may have missed. Some­times you can’t recog­nise so­lu­tions un­til the so­lu­tions be­gin to work. But there are so­lu­tions. At least 99 of them.

Here they are.

01

“I lost my par­ents not too far apart from each other. So I went through griev­ance coun­selling for six months and it helped clear my mind.” — Nam­rata Soni, Celebrity make-up artist

06 “In my dif­fi­cult times, my close friends and fam­ily guided me.” —Ananya Birla, Singer, Song­writer and En­tre­pre­neur 07 “A project I’d been work­ing on for two years fell through. I de­cided to put my en­ergy into some­thing bet­ter. Prob­lems give you con­fi­dence.” —Aastha Atray Banan, Au­thor and Poet 08 “For six months, I cut my­self off from the rest of the world. I de­cided to build every­thing from ground zero.” —Sahil Khat­tar, YouTube star

09

“The first step to­wards cur­ing your­self is recog­nis­ing that you’re de­pressed.” —Nachiket Barve, Fash­ion de­signer 10 “Me and my friend got through many dif­fi­cult times in our lives just by be­ing there for each other.” —Sa­heli Sen Gupta, Ex­ec­u­tive lead at Chayn (A women em­pow­er­ment project) 11 “I con­cen­trate on do­ing pos­i­tive things like talk­ing to my par­ents, do­ing DIYs and groom­ing my pets.” —Aien Jamir, Founder, Fash­ion & I 12 “Tak­ing care of my body and “fol­low­ing my rou­tine has had a pos­i­tive im­pact on me.” —Adarsh Ku­mar, En­gi­neer at Qual­comm 13 “Tasks as sim­ple as cook­ing a nice meal for my­self help.” —Dolly Hao­ram­bam, Pho­tog­ra­pher 14 “There are al­ways peo­ple who look up to you and you might not

25

“I suf­fered from post-wean­ing de­pres­sion which comes from hor­monal fluxes when you stop breast­feed­ing. I spoke to peo­ple in­stead of keep­ing my feel­ings bot­tled up, and learned I was not alone. That helped the most.” — Nainika Karan, Fash­ion de­signer even re­alise it. I feel re­spon­si­ble for my two-year-old and know I must set an ex­am­ple for my kid.”

—Mad­hurima Singh, Fash­ion de­signer 15 “Let go of anger or stress for at least 10 min­utes ev­ery day.” —Anushka Mulchan­dani, Stylist and fash­ion blog­ger 16 “Fo­cus on what’s to come rather than what has hap­pened.” —Bhu­mika Sharma, Semi-qual­i­fied Com­pany Sec­re­tary

17

“Dur­ing the shoot for Sainik (1992), my right foot was crushed and I was hos­pi­talised for nearly a year. Even though peo­ple didn’t take me de­spite prom­ises, I con­tin­ued to do what­ever work I was of­fered. To­day I am happy with my life.”

—Pankaj Berry, Ac­tor

18

“When I de­cided to walk out of my first mar­riage, I had to give up all my as­sets and suf­fered an un­bear­able loss of re­la­tion­ships. I moved to Kolkata with just ~100. But I fo­cused all my en­ergy on dance. It res­cued me from ad­dic­tions and sui­ci­dal thoughts.”

— Sanchita Bhat­tacharya, Dancer 19 “Play­ing foot­ball with my friends al­ways makes me feel bet­ter.” —Aakarsh Naashier, Stu­dent 20 “De­pres­sion is when your mind blocks you from do­ing any­thing. The only way I could snap out of this was by forc­ing my­self to try new things.” —Aan­chal Na­gar, Lux­ury brand con­sul­tant

21

“Four years ago, a re­la­tion­ship ended badly. Two months later, I was 44 ki­los, hadn’t eaten a proper meal in days and hadn’t slept in a week. My doc­tor told me I was de­pressed. It took two years of in­tense ther­apy to get my­self back. My fam­ily made rules. We hug each other ev­ery day. We tell each other every­thing. If any of us has had a bad day, we have fam­ily cud­dles and spend qual­ity time.”

—Mansi Vakharia, Spe­cial ed­u­ca­tor for Learn­ing Dis­abil­ity

23

“When I feel down, I fo­cus on self-aware­ness and try to make sure I am treat­ing my­self rea­son­ably. If there is some­thing to change, I work on that, or I ac­cept things that are out of my hands.”

—Mi­tali Gupta, Stu­dent

24

“I was once let down by a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship. Eight painfully long ag­o­nis­ing months fol­lowed. But one has to al­ways be able to look one­self squarely in the eye in the mir­ror and love the per­son look­ing back at you. I trust in the heal­ing of time, and in the love of strangers.” —El­ton Fer­nan­dez, Celebrity make-up artist

27

“When I go for a swim, I go un­der­wa­ter and try to hold my breath for some time. That’s when I feel calm. Every­thing else is gone, there’s just si­lence. I do this at least once a month.” — Varun Dhawan, Ac­tor

03

“When 30 years ago I had to leave my eight-yearold son be­hind at my hus­band’s house, I was numb. My brother made me watch A

Beau­ti­ful Mind to un­der­stand that I have to fo­cus on get­ting on my feet to be able to get my son back. A friend gave me a book called Thought For The Day, each page with a mes­sage of hope.” Anju Modi, Fash­ion de­signer

04

“As Stephen Hawk­ing said, ‘How­ever bad life may seem, there is al­ways some­thing you can suc­ceed at.’” Di­pan­nita Sharma, Su­per­model and ac­tor

05

“Dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly de­press­ing win­ter in Cal­i­for­nia, I car­ried Kash­mir like a wound within me. I went to see a friend from home in New York. He cooked for me. He talked to me in Kash­miri and pulled me out of the morass.” Feroz Rather, Au­thor

22

“When you are at the bot­tom, use all your force to push your­self back up with your feet.” Dhruv Kapoor, Fash­ion de­signer

28 “When I felt un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated and over­worked, my friends helped me see that there was a way out.” —Rose­mary Maguire, Re­searcher

29 “I med­i­tate. As my breath slows, I feel calmer.” —Sonal Sachdev Pa­tel, co-au­thor of Gita: The bat­tle of the Worlds

30

“Life turned into sur­vival when I had self-crit­i­cal, self-iso­lat­ing thoughts that made me numb. I re­alised I shouldn’t suc­cumb to this voice. I read about it, kept my mind busy with work, talked to peo­ple and prac­tised med­i­ta­tion.”

—Apoorva Negi, Mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional

31

“Four months ago I met with an ac­ci­dent. Med­i­ta­tion has given me strength. I choose thoughts that up­lift my spir­its and let go of the ones that shackle my soul.”

—Shivangi Singh, Stu­dent

32

“When over­whelmed by my emo­tions, I met a pro­fes­sional, or fig­ured out how to cope. Ex­er­cise or a good long run has pulled me out of a funk many times. Chang­ing my per­spec­tive has also helped.”

—Mandira Bedi, Ac­tor

33

“I long ago made my ‘aware’ self the care­taker of ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ Ra­jeev. So when­ever I am on the brink of slip­ping into a nega­tive emo­tional space, my care­taker pumps up my self-es­teem.”

—Ra­jeev Khan­del­wal, Ac­tor

34

“In the past one year, every­thing just felt point­less. My so­lu­tion was to dis­con­nect for a while, an­a­lyse my­self and then share my prob­lems with my loved ones.”

—Man­dana Karimi, Ac­tor

57

“The low­est point in my life was when I lost my father. How I got out of it was to make sure I make him proud ev­ery day.” — Ke­shav Suri, Hote­lier

35

“When I feel re­ally low, I ask my­self, ‘Do I need to change?’ And then write it down.” Gau­rav Gera, TV ac­tor

36

“Pat­ting your pet dog makes you calmer.” Cyrus Broacha, TV an­chor and co­me­dian

37

“I’ve been see­ing a ther­a­pist. It helps me think clearly.” Gurme­har Kaur, Stu­dent

38

“Spir­i­tu­al­ity helped me learn ac­cep­tance.” Shashank Vyas, TV ac­tor

39

“I watch Friends when I’m feel­ing low.” Deepti Lat­wal, Banker at ICICI

40

“I try not to think about stuff I can’t con­trol.” Anuvab Pal, Stand-up co­me­dian

41

“My mother suf­fered from de­pres­sion for 10 years, and a close friend com­mit­ted sui­cide some years ago. Some good friends helped me. Reach­ing out, ask­ing for help is the best thing to do. And Vi­pas­sana re­ally helped.” —Ro­han Shrestha, Pho­tog­ra­pher

42 “I spend time with my daugh­ters, travel, watch a movie, re­hearse. And cook!” —Vi­nay Pathak, Ac­tor

43

“I try and an­tic­i­pate the next best thing in my life af­ter ac­cept­ing the way fate’s go­ing to shape my fu­ture. You just have to keep your chin up and move on.” —Sarah Ishtiyaque, Writer and stylist at Ni­co­bar

44 “Be­ing funny, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing funny things, laugh­ing… these are my sur­vival tools.” —Aditi Mit­tal, Stand-up co­me­dian

45 “Writ­ing saved my life. It was my idea of own­ing my body.” —Rupi Kaur, Poet

46 “I try to fo­cus on stay­ing pos­i­tive and bring­ing my A game to the ta­ble. For­tu­nately, in our busi­ness, grat­i­fi­ca­tion is quite in­stan­ta­neous.” —Riyaaz Am­lani, Restau­ra­teur

47 “I’ve seen a fair amount of ups and downs. The virtues I learned early on were pa­tience and re­silience.” —Ishaan Khat­ter, Ac­tor

48 “Grat­i­tude helps me get through a rough spell. As do fam­ily and friends. And above all, an an­chor­ing in spir­i­tu­al­ity.” —Richa Chadda, Ac­tor

58

“Years af­ter an at­tempted sex­ual as­sault, I broke down and told my fam­ily about it. The way they sup­ported me made me re­alise we should al­ways talk to those clos­est to us.” — Jas­min Bhasin, TV ac­tor

49 “It’s very hu­man to dis­miss de­pres­sion. Things like ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly, eat­ing right, en­joy­ing me time keep the symp­toms in check.” —Dr Aneesh Sheth, Cos­me­tol­o­gist

50

“It’s hard to think good things when you feel like you’re at the bot­tom of a well. Reach­ing for the next bet­ter feel­ing thought lit­er­ally means fo­cus­ing on a thought that is just slightly bet­ter than the cur­rent thoughts in your brain – un­til you be­gin to be­lieve that thought and feel marginally bet­ter.” —Rashmi Daryanani, Ex­ec­u­tive Scriptwriter/Video Con­tent Strate­gist at Mis­sMalini.com

51 “Fam­ily and spir­i­tu­al­ity help me fo­cus on what ac­tu­ally mat­ters.” —Shamita Shetty, Ac­tor

52 “Trav­el­ling, im­mers­ing my­self into a state of the un­known helps me snap out of feel­ing low.” —Kub­bra Sait, Ac­tor

53 “Your faith in your­self and your sup­port sys­tem keep you go­ing.” —Vikrant Ba­tra, Restau­ra­teur

54

“When you look at things from a dif­fer­ent light, there are of­ten so­lu­tions and new di­rec­tions that you can take. Give life a chance.”

—Raghav Sachar, Singer, com­poser, mu­sic direc­tor

55 “Stress is part of our lives. So laugh as of­ten as pos­si­ble.” —Ku­nal Ka­pur, Chef

56

“Ev­ery­one is equipped with a way to fight the lows. Look in­side and find it.” —Rasika Agashe, Ac­tor

59

“Lone­li­ness is a choice. We must con­nect to soothe oth­ers and heal our­selves.” — Divya Sheth, Fash­ion De­signer

71

“When I am low , I prac­tice yoga. It is mag­i­cal. It helps me feel a cer­tain self-as­sur­ance from in­side. It makes me calmer, helps me an­a­lyse my sit­u­a­tions bet­ter.... The closer you are to your­self, the more at peace you w ill be w ith your­self. And once that hap­pens, you are au­to­mat­i­cally at peace w ith alot of other things around you.” — Juhi Chawla, Ac­tor

72

“I didn’t know w ho to talk out my de­pres­sion w ith, so I talked it out w ith my­self. Some­times, all w e need is some­one to lis­ten.” — Jy­otishka Paul, Writer

73

“I learned that w e know lit­tle of the mag­ni­tude of our ac­tions; how our ev­ery­day lives af­fect the peo­ple around us. In­stead of fall­ing off in life, pull peo­ple up.”

— Sahil Kakkar, Ac­tor

74

“In­vest your time on things that mat­ter. Learn the fact that there’s still alot to learn.” Rid­dhin­dra R Chaud­huri, En­tre­pre­neur

75

“I had the un­con­di­tional sup­port of my friends and my mother.” — Ra­janya Ban­er­jee, Teacher

76 “It’s im­por­tant to love your­self ir­re­spec­tive of the things you feel are not right about you.” — Prachi Sha­ran, Pub­lic re­la­tions pro­fes­sional

77 “I seek help from a psy­chi­a­trist friend, go sw im­ming, read books, make new friends.” — Som­e­nath G hosh, Pho­tog­ra­pher

78

“Pos­i­tive think­ing and be­lief in God kept me go­ing.” — Monika Mishra, Soft­ware en­gi­neer

79

“Betw een 2010 and 2015, I w ent through the worst phase of my pro­fes­sional life. Then I de­cided to throw my­self back into w ork, and man­aged to get out of that state of mind.”

— Maxwell Ian Agacy, En­tre­pre­neur

80

“Re­peat­ing pos­i­tive mes­sages to my­self daily is w hat got me out of de­pres­sion, noth­ing else.” — Sudipto Chanda, Pho­tog­ra­pher

81

“Press the alarm, talk to peo­ple freely about it, tell them you need their help.” — Mouli Bhat­tacharya, Copy­writer

82 “Fam­ily bond­ing has cut through the dark­est hours.” — Amol G upte, Film-maker

83

“Alw ays re­mind your­self that you are unique, you de­serve good­ness, and most of all, there is a pur­pose in your life.” — Eve­lyn Sharma, Model and ac­tress

84

“Years ago w hen abig mu­sic la­bel told us w e’d have to change our mu­sic, w e ig­nored them. I’m glad that hap­pened. It gave me self-be­lief.” — Amit Kilam, Drum­mer, vo­cal­ist, In­dian Ocean

85

“When I was told, ‘Life does not de­pend on ifs and buts,’ I learned to move on.” Nis­hant Choubey, Chef

86

“When crit­i­cised, I re­act with kind­ness or be self-dep­re­cat­ing enough to neu­tralise it.” Dur­joy Datta, Au­thor

87

“Tell your­self, ‘let this time pass. I will come back’.” Rahul Mishra, Fash­ion de­signer

88

“There are al­ways other op­por­tu­ni­ties.” — ShivKaran Singh, Restau­ra­teur

89

“A lit­tle lick and cud­dle from my dog Tia makes it all bet­ter.” So­phie Choudry, Ac­tor and singer

90

“When I started to talk about my pain, I be­gan to be­lieve the dark­ness was only tem­po­rary.” — Apurva As­rani, film-maker

91 “Know for a

fact that har­raat Ke­baade Ksav­era za­roor hai.” —Kailash Kher, singer

92 “Be thank­ful and make the most of op­por­tu­ni­ties.” — Hus­sain Kuwa­jer­wala, Ac­tor

93 “Buddhism helped me build re­silience.” — Manav Go­hil, TV ac­tor

94 “The best thing I did for my de­pres­sion w as to ac­knowl­edge it, be­cause you can only deal w ith an is­sue w hen you ac­knowl­edge it.” — Priya Ma­lik, TV per­son­al­ity

95 “Dur­ing abad ca­reer phase, I kept w ork­ing. When the tides started turn­ing, I had agood body of w ork.” — Dan­ish Hu­sain, Ac­tor and poet

96

“I have ex­pe­ri­enced dark­ness w ithin me for years. In 2012 I took help. I w orked w ith alife coach for tw o years. Ther­apy can­not be just talk­ing to a shrink. I w as ready to be helped.” — Neha Bhasin, Singer

97

“I have seen tw o sui­cides very close to home. Both peo­ple didn’t have guid­ance tow ards men­tal care. If they had, things w ould have been dif­fer­ent.”

— Priyanka Bose, Ac­tor

98

“Tw o years back I didn’t w ant to do any­thing, meet any­body, go out. Then it hit me that this w as not the usual me. I made a con­scious ef­fort to get back on track.” — Ra­jit Ka­pur, Ac­tor

99

“1. Face your sad­ness. Let it en­gulf you. Then cry your heart out. Once you reach rock bot­tom, the only w ay left is up. 2. Shar­ing helps. Psy­chother­apy helps big time. 3. Know this too shall pass. 4. De­fine w hat gives you joy and in­vite that. If God has cho­sen you to be alive, then trust in God (or the uni­verse, or life) that you are safe.” Man­isha Koirala, Ac­tor

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