Book Review: I’ve Never Been (Un)happier

Read this book to look differently at the ever-elusive "happiness", even if have never suffered with depression.

“Your pain, like your fingerprints, is unique to you. In other words, you can buy happiness off the rack, but sadness is tailor-made just for you.” Shaheen Bhatt

I read quite a few books in the month of February. However, I chose to review this book as it kind of shook me. It deals with a very relevant topic of our times: Depression. However, unlike physical illness, there is so much stigma associated with mental illnesses that one hardly talks about these. In this context, Shaheen Bhatt’s writing on this subject, that too based on her own life experiences, is truly remarkable. For those of you who haven’t heard of her, she is the daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and sister of Alia Bhatt. And she has battled depression for seventeen long years.”We’re taught early in life to keep our emotions hidden and we’re especially taught that negative emotions have no place in a public domain.”

This book breaks this stereotypical thinking. The book begins with acquainting us with what depression is and what are the symptoms. In the process, it succeeds in creating awareness on the taboo subject. Very often, we fail to recognize the symptoms of depression even if we ourselves or a close acquaintance of ours is passing through this phase. Shaheen’s own personal experiences in this regard are truly gut-wrenching. She lets us see the inner turmoil and the profound pain of the person suffering from depression.

What I found most endearing are the last few pages of the book. Almost all of us have undergone down phases in our lives, though not all of us are clinically depressed. The words of Mahesh Bhatt are truly inspiring to all of us. In our constant bid to be happy, we forgot that happiness is an ideal, maybe non-existent, state.

“You’re constantly trying to reach this non-existent, ideal state of emotional well-being. It’s not real.”

And then, “You can’t spend your life feeling bad about feeling bad.”

Shaheen rightly points out, “Happiness is a one-note emotion that doesn’t challenge you in any way.”

Do read the book. Even if you don’t want to learn about depression, read this book to look differently at the ever-elusive “happiness”.

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About the Author

Swagata Tarafdar

An engineer by education, I am a civil servant by profession. A doting mother. An avid reader. I try my hand at writing as and when ideas tussle inside my head. read more...

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