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Suffering from depression, I even had suicidal thoughts: Ileana D'Cruz

The Barfi! (2012) and Rustom (2016) actress said depression is "real" and people shouldn't shy away from seeking help.


Actress Ileana D'Cruz, who suffered depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (a body-image disorder wherein the person has a persistent and intrusive preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in his or her appearance), says at one point in her life she felt suicidal. But once she accepted herself, she started feeling better.

At the 21st World Congress of Mental Health on Sunday, 5 November, D'Cruz had a tete-a-tete with organizing chairman Sunil Mittal on her struggle with depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. The actress was also awarded the Woman of Substance Award for her efforts towards raising awareness about mental health, according to a statement.

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She said: "I was always a very self-conscious person and was picked on for my body type. I used to feel low and sad all the time, but didn't know I was suffering from depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder till I got help. All I wanted to do was to be accepted by everyone. At one point, I even had suicidal thoughts and wanted to end things. However, all of it changed when I accepted myself and what I was going through. I think that is the first step towards fighting depression."

The Barfi! (2012) and Rustom (2016) actress said depression is "real" and people shouldn't shy away from seeking help.

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"It is a chemical imbalance in your brain, and needs to be treated. Don't sit back and think it will get okay, but go get help. Like you have a sprain and go get yourself checked, if you have depression, seek help," she said, urging people to be like the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh. "He wore a crop top, ate his favourite food all day and loved himself, you can too."

D'Cruz also said imperfections are a part of life.

"I am not saying that I had this miraculous recovery, every day is a process, every day is a step towards healing yourself and getting better. You are a human being and are allowed to be imperfect, and you are allowed to be flawed. There is a lot of beauty in your imperfections, in your uniqueness. You may look at us actors and think that 'Oh my God, they are so pretty, so perfect'. But that's not how it is. It takes two hours to get ready and look like this. Love yourself for who you are and trust me if you are happy from within, you are the most beautiful person and your smile is your best asset."

She said she decided to open up about her struggle because "as someone people look up to, even if I can help a handful of people cope, it is worth talking about it".

The World Congress was organized by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), a global alliance of mental health professionals, national health associations, NGOs, policy experts and other institutions.