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Deepika Padukone has for the first time opened up about suffering from anxiety depression.

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Padukone expressed how she felt when going through the illness at the beginning of 2014. She said, “In early 2014, while I was being appreciated for my work, one morning, I woke up feeling different. A day earlier, I had fainted due to exhaustion; it was all downhill from there. I felt a strange emptiness in my stomach. I thought it was stress, so I tried to distract myself by focusing on work, and surrounding myself with people, which helped for a while. But the nagging feeling didn۪t go away. My breath was shallow, I suffered from lack of concentration and I broke down often.”

In the interview, Padukone she added that it was a struggle waking up in the mornings to shoot for ‘Happy New Year’. “Every morning, it was a struggle to wake up, and shoot for Happy New Year۪s (HNY; 2014) climax. Finally, I had a word with Anna aunty. She flew to Mumbai from Bengaluru, and I talked my heart out to her. She concluded that I was suffering from anxiety and depression. Most of HNY was shot through this phase. But before starting my next with Shoojit Sircar, I took a two-month break to recover mentally and physically. I spent time with my family in Bengaluru and was soon better. But, when I returned to Mumbai, I heard about a friend committing suicide due to anxiety and depression. It was a huge blow, ” she said.

In a moving conclusion, she said, “Being sad and being depressed are two different things. Also, people going through depression don۪t look so, while someone sad will look sad. The most common reaction is, How can you be depressed? You have everything going for you. You are the supposed number one heroine and have a plush home, car, movies_ What else do you want?۪ It۪s not about what you have or don۪t have. People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn۪t help. One needs support and understanding.”