MUMBAI: Actress Zaira Wasim, 17, who courted fame with Dangal and Secret Superstar, says she has been suffering from depression for over four years, but was pushed into a "bubble of denial".
The National Award winner opened up about her struggle via a lengthy post shared on Instagram on Thursday night.
"I'm writing this to (finally) admit and confess that I, for a very long time have been suffering from depression," Zaira wrote.
She said she has been "embarrassed and scared" to admit it not only because of the stigma that goes around with the word depression, but most importantly because of always being told that 'You're too young to be depressed' or 'It's just a phase'".
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The young and talented girl from Srinagar said she has sometimes popped five anti-depressants every day, faced anxiety attacks, was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night, felt empty, restless, anxious and hallucinated, apart from having sore limbs from sleeping too much or not being able to sleep for weeks.
"From overeating to starving myself, unexplained fatigue, body ache, self loathing, nervous breakdowns, suicidal thoughts, were all parts of this phase," said Zaira, who made her debut with Aamir Khan's 2016 drama Dangal.
Zaira said she knew something wasn't right for her, however, people and doctors around her told her, "It's nothing, you're too young to be depressed".
Her first panic attack was at the age of 12, and another one at 14.
"Now all I remember is losing count of the number of panic attacks, losing count of the number of medicines I've had and I'm still having..."
Zaira said she could never accept the fact that she suffers from a disorder called depression, which "affects almost 350 million people worldwide; without asking for their permission to ruin their mental and emotional state or asking them their age".
Depression and anxiety is not a feeling, she said.
"It's an illness. It's not somebody's choice or fault. It can affect anyone, anytime."
Now she has embraced it and understood it, and decided to share about the struggle "without being ashamed, embarrassed and having the fear of being judged for it".
Zaira said perhaps a "complete break from everything, my social life, my work, school and especially social media", might help her.
"I'm really looking forward to the holy month of Ramadan as it may be the perfect opportunity to figure things out. Please remember me in your prayers."