It is a common misconception that since celebrities lead a life laced with glitz and glamor, they are always happy and satisfied with that life. Unfortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive. It is important to realize that mental illnesses do not have any fixed causes or reasons behind them. The manifestations of them, likewise, take various forms.
Lately, with an increased awareness surrounding mental health in Pakistan, a number of celebrities, both national and international, have come out with their struggle with depression. Here are five Pakistani celebrities who have courageously come out with their stories on depression and mental health, in general:
1. Mohsin Abbas Haider
Quite recently, Mohsin Abbas Haider shared a post on his Instagram (that he later deleted) that said: “Depression is all set to kill me.” Fans and Mohsin’s well-wishers rushed to comfort the star and the messages of support and warmth poured in which, fortunately, seem to have done the trick.
In a subsequent interview, Mohsin Abbas thanked his well-wishers and mentioned how talking about depression can actually help the person in need. To put in his own words, “I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for all those messages of love, concern, and support you guys showed about my depression.”
“We all are suffering in our lives one way or another. Sometimes, we feel like talking about it and it actually really helps. It helped me a lot. I’m not the kind of person who would share his personal life publicly. But when you surpass your limits, I think that’s when talking about it becomes a necessity. And that’s exactly what I did,” the actor further said.
Thanking his friends and fans, Mohsin said, “The kind of support I received from with the industry, from my fellow actors, peers, friends, and fans, has only made me believe that we should never hide it. We should always talk about it,”
2. Juggan Kazim
The acclaimed actor and host Juggan Kazim, in an interview with DAWN a few years back, enlisted the benefits of therapy. She was remarkably forthcoming about her visits to the therapist and said, “I’ve been seriously committed to therapy for two years.”
“I don’t go for therapy because I am schizophrenic or manic depressive or because I have a psychological problem. In fact, I have a minor in psychology which is part of my degree, but I go because I feel people in this industry should go to a psychiatrist at least once a week to vent out all that is inside them,” the actor said explaining the reason.
She also urged others not to shy away from seeking help and said, “I tell everyone in the industry to go for therapy, just like I go to the gym every day because in this industry you are constantly being analyzed from every angle.”
3. Momina Mustehsan
Momina Mustehsan’s rise to fame is mostly attributed to Coke Studio, but the woman has worked hard to get where she is now. Yes, some of her views on things may not align with the general public but that, in no way, justifies the amount of online bullying Momina has gotten since her debut in the Coke Studio.
In an Instagram post back in 2017, Momina Mustehsan came out with her struggles with depression. She mentioned how it was not at all easy for her to come out with her mental struggles, but she wished that it helped people who are also struggling with the same.
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(2 videos) It isn't easy for me to share this.. but I hope it helps those who can relate. Everyone has struggles. I have had struggles. Depression isn't a myth, it's REAL. But we also have the power to fight it! We only get ONE life to live. If we don't find the courage to love and value our own selves, who will? #WhatYouDontSee #DepressionIsReal #ItsOkayToTalk #StrongerThanYouThink #ItOnlyGetsBetterWhenYouGetBetter
Referring to public scrutiny, Momina said, “Everything I did was everyone’s business. I wasn’t expecting it so I fell back into that trap again. I started having anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I would cry myself to sleep every night and wish I could go back in time and get my life back and be a human again instead of a photo op.”
Towards the end, Momina shared a few tips with the people on how she went about copping with her situation, “The change has to come from within you. Only if you love yourself, only if you’re happy with yourself and only if you know your own worth will you ever be happy.”
4. Imran Abbas
Following Anam Tanoli’s tragic incident, Imran Abbas shared a post on his Instagram explaining how mental illnesses are not a joke and how there is a collective need for introspection, as a society.
To put it in Abbas’ words, “Please don’t look down to people suffering from depression, mental ailment, stress and anxiety. Before judging anyone or making fun of someone (specially who is deceased and who can’t explain/ clarify her/himself) we must look around and try to be nice to people who are suffering from the circumstances which can lead a person to suicide (which certainly is one of the most forbidden acts in our religion).”
Further down in his post, he said, “In our society, it’s so convenient to slut-shame an actress and model, scoff at anyone for any rhyme or reason. Making jokes about people who’ve committed suicide does not make you a comedian. It is not dark humor, it is condemn-able humor.”
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Mental illness isn’t a joke.. Please dont look down to people suffering from depression, mental ailment, stress and anxiety. This young 26 years model found dead (hung) and nobody knows the reason . Before judging anyone or making fun of someone (specially who is deceased and who can't explain/ clarify her/himself) we must look around and try to be nice to people who are suffering from the circumstances which can lead a person to suicide( which certainly is one of the most forbidden acts in our religion) . In our society it's so convenient to slut-shame an actress and model, scoff at anyone for any rhyme or reason. Making jokes about people who’ve committed suicide does not make you a comedian. It is not dark humor, it is condemn-able humor. As a nation hell-bent upon reforming ourselves, we should really do some collective introspection. #anamtanoli .
Imran had previously also opened up his depression, in an interview with Times of India. He mentioned how not being able to do Aashiqui 2 put him in a depressive phase. Even hearing somebody sing “Tum Hi Ho” triggered him.
Earlier in 2017, Nouman Javaid ended up at a hospital, and numerous speculations were made on the cause of his admittance. Some claimed that he had been in an accident while others claimed other causes.
After a while, however, Nouman Javaid revealed in a courageous interview that he had landed at the hospital because he took 50 sleeping pills as he had been struggling with depression. He further mentioned that he was trying to stay positive about his future.
The list doesn’t end here, other celebrities like Saba Qamar, Meesha Shafi, and Hina Altaf have also spoken up about the condition and battles with depression in the past. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to come out with one’s personal mental struggles in front of the world.
Therefore, when you are at the receiving end, it is important that you try to be more understanding and empathetic towards the other person’s struggles, for there are different ways to be brave.