As some of you may know, in the summer of 2014, I was diagnosed with anxiety and clinical depression. Fortunately, timely professional help coupled with the support of caregivers around me, empowered me towards the path of recovery. As I began to read more about the subject, I realised that there were millions of others like me who were suffering in silence.
Subsequently, as difficult as it was for me at the time, I decided to talk about my personal journey on national television with the hope of encouraging others to also seek help.
Thereafter, in june 2015, I founded the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation to create awareness about stress, anxiety and depression, and reduce the stigma attached to mental illness.
The Foundation now runs flagship programs to create awareness and reduce the stigma. We also fund organisations working in the field of mental health, commission research and conduct large scale nation wide public awareness campaigns. A few weeks ago, we launched a unique campaign called #NotAshamed, with real-life survivors of mental illness. It was aimed at ensuring those who are suffering from depression or any other mental illness, feel comfortable in asking for help; and we are encouraged with how the campaign has been received.
To anyone who sees darkness, I would like to say that you are not alone and that help is always available. For in the words of Stephen Fry, “It will be sunny one day”.
Live, Love and Laugh,
( Excerpts from Deepika Padukone’s letter, published originally in Elle India)