On the outside, Karan Johar has it all–money, fame, adulation, and success. Then why did he suffer from depression, you ask? This question proves how ignorant we are about emotional wellness. Any mental health disorder is treated as lunacy. Our society attaches so much stigma to mental health sufferers that patients never come for professional treatment, even if they know that they are ill.
Mental health in India
The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences estimates that nearly 7% of the population in India suffers from a psychological issue. 3% of these people need treatment, but how many actually come forward to seek it?
The National Crime Records Bureau shows that 1,30,000 people committed suicide in India in 2014. The most common reason for taking their own life was relationship trouble. It appears that Johar was also distressed because he did not have a relationship at the age of 44. Despite all his success, he felt lonely. He wanted to share his money and success with a loved one but did not have a partner. In an interview with Barkha Dutt for NDTV, Johar also claimed that he was still toting excess baggage from a previous failed relationship. It’s true–it is lonely at the top–so much so that you may suffer from depression.
Johar spoke about how he had cut a meeting short because he felt like he was experiencing a heart attack. This was when he was diagnosed with an anxiety attack. After this, he was advised to take anti-anxiety medication for a year and a half. Doctors say that medication for mental health disorders need not be taken throughout life. Sometimes, all it takes is six months for the condition to get better.
Johar follows in the footsteps of Deepika Padukone, another celebrity who had openly spoken about her fight with clinical depression. It is expected that such instances will lessen the stigma around mental health problems and encourage patients to try online counselling or approach a psychiatrist for psychotherapy.
Johar had typical depression symptoms
In the interview, Johar describes some typical symptoms of clinical depression–loss of the ability to feel pleasure in activities that were once pleasurable, oversleeping, avoiding family and friends, anxiety, and feeling stressed and unhappy. He said that he was yet to come to terms with the death of his father, even though it had been more than 11-12 years since he had expired.
The common triggers of depression–work stress, the loss of a loved one, loneliness, relationship failure–were all there. But Johar fought back. He sought professional help and begun a course of anti-depressant medication. Today, by his own admission, he is “in a much better place.” He feels he can deal with the issues that caused him stress and anxiety previously in a much better way now.
Let us hope that Karan Johar remains healthy and happy for the rest of his life. We don’t want to miss those entertaining movies that he makes, do we?