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Dear Kangana, Here’s Why Your Tweets About Depression Are Completely Incorrect

Posted: August 24, 2020

Kangana Ranaut (like may others), seems to have some misconceptions related to depression and what people go through. Here are the real facts!

Trigger warning: This post contains details of depression and its symptoms which may be triggering to the survivors.

Kangana Ranaut recently made some insensitive remarks about depression and mental health. In the video that went up on Desi Mojito, she even targeted Deepika Padukone who has been vocal about her struggle with depression. She further went on to label Deepika as someone ‘jo depression ka dhanda chalati hai.’ (someone who makes a business off her depression)

Kangana’s reasons for calling Deepika’s mental health issues fake is something that reflects the stigma around mental health in our country. They are baseless pointers and misinformation about how mental health works.

Kangana Ranaut may have been an inspiration for some to come out of the dark phase of their lives. And whether she chooses to call her struggle her battle with mental health or not, is entirely up to her. However, as a person diagnosed with clinical depression, mild bipolar disorder and has attempted suicide, I have several objections with Kangana Ranaut’s statements on mental health. 

How can it be depression years after a tragic event?

How can it be depression if it’s diagnosed 8 years after the tragic event?Kangana started by saying ‘Aisa kaise depression hota hai joki aath saal baad hota hai?’ (What kind of depression is that that comes after 8 years?) 

Well, depression is not a physical wound, where you hurt yourself and the injury and wound are both visible! Depression is an on again and off again occurrence that comes and goes at any time! It doesn’t need a particularly tragic event to trigger it. 

Depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain that may occur due to accumulation of past traumas. At times, people may also start feeling a certain way but for years are unable to justify it. Depression is often a prolonged mental health issue which can take time to even be diagnosed. 

I can tell you from my experience that it takes time! It took me five years of feeling a certain way before I actually was diagnosed with clinical depression. Does that make my depression fake? No! Everyone is different and all our struggles are different too!

How can you call yourself depressed when you do all your work?

The next point that Kangana made was that Deepika lived a happy life for eight years where her career too progressed. So how could she do it all while being depressed?

One thing we need to understand is that when a person has high-functioning depressed, they add a lot of activities to their lives. They do this simply so they stay busy and push the negative thoughts from their minds. This is called the concept of escape mechanism. The individual merely creates a mechanism for themselves to push the negative thoughts away. 

In the early stages of my depression, before I was diagnosed, no one around me knew what I was going through. I was excelling at academics, my work and generally in life. However, deep down, only I knew how miserable I felt and the only thing that pushed the negative thoughts away was my hard-work. Studies and work were my escape mechanisms to keep myself busy and occupied. 

Basically, it is entirely possible to have a job, do your daily chores and activities without anyone know about your depression. 

How can you be happy when you say you are depressed?

The other thing Kangana said was that Deepika had been dating other men, going out and smiling and everything else. How could she even say she was depressed?

Well, this is something most of our society believes in. They often say things like, ‘Oh you look so happy! How can you be depressed?’ or even ‘Didn’t you go to a party last night? How are you having a breakdown now?’ It is a common misconception that if you look happy, you must not be depressed. 

The truth is that, often people with depression, smile and laugh in public, they go out and party and dress up, they also date people! All the while, they are still depressed. Assuming that someone’s life is too perfect for them to be depressed is a major misconception. 

I’ve had days when I was unable to get out of bed but had to simply because I had to attend college. There were days when one minute I’d be laughing my heart out and the next, I’d have to excuse myself to go to the washroom as I was having a breakdown. I’d step out looking totally fine even after the breakdowns. The reason I looked happy was because I wanted to be happy but that doesn’t mean, I am not depressed!

There is no valid proof of mental illness

Kangana also made a completely baseless statement when she replied to some mental health professions. She claimed that ‘there is no valid proof of mental illnesses.’

 

 

Well, the symptoms of mental illnesses are not crystal clear or common to all, like those of the flu. There are, however, other ways to diagnose the mental health illness. Depending on your mental health issue, physical exams, lab tests or psychological evaluations are done. 

Lab tests are often done to rule out certain physical issues like thyroid problems. In its initial stages, this may cause depression and anxiety-like symptoms. There are times, when an MRI scan is also used to diagnose a mental health issue. They are used to detect the functionality of your brain during a trigger.

Not everyone is the same!

One thing I can definitely say is that Kangana’s idea of depression is completely wrong. Simply knowing a few people who have gone through it or if you have gone through it doesn’t make you an expert on how it works. Depression is not the same for everyone. Which is why there are certified professionals who give you a proper guidance and help you need. 

It is time we stop making assumptions about mental health and start being kinder to each other. This will only help people who are going through it feel better. 

Image Credits – India Today Conclave

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