Actress Alia Bhatt’s sister and screenwriter Shaheen Bhatt has summed up her entire struggle with depression in her audiobook ‘I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier’. She elaborates on how she dealt with her pain and what challenges she faced while overcoming the phase of depression.
The writer also explains certain misinterpretations about mental illness in the society and how this audiobook will help in understanding its intricacies.
She says there is immense value in sharing our stories as authentically as possible with others. “The thing with any sort of experience in life but especially depression, especially mental health issues, especially what we perceive to be negative feelings, is that we have been taught to deal with these things silently and not talk about them. As a result, there’s a tendency to believe that we’re the only people who are dealing with this.”
“I felt like I was the only person in the world who was feeling the way I was feeling because nobody else seemed to be talking about it. So, I think the audiobook is only going to act as a sort of mechanism to reach people and sort of lay it back with the fact that this is my experience and somebody’s experience might coincide with it,” she adds.
When did you think of coming up with this audiobook? and she replies: “The process was actually started earlier this year. I feel like audiobooks are just incredibly convenient. They’re incredibly accessible for a lot of people who find reading challenging or time consuming.”
Shaheen further shares a few anecdotes from her book and adds: “It’s very hard to sort of break down into just single anecdotes. It really is sort of a personal account of just an extremely internal journey that I’ve been on since I was 12 years old. It’s pretty much every insecurity, every vulnerability, every fear that I’ve always had and it’s my heart laid there on a page. It’s literally about a good 20 years’ worth of my personal journey.”
According to her, depression is an extremely tricky illness to diagnose for the simple reason that every single person that deals with depression deals with it for completely different reasons.
She reveals her own journey, saying: “I was 12 years old. It started off as a sort of chemical trigger that started during puberty. I do have a genetic history of depression in my family. So, for me, I think it started off as something that was a chemical reaction and it became progressively more psychological in nature because I started dealing with it when I was so young.”
“I just want to be as authentic with my lived experience as possible. Because I think that everyone’s going through something and we’re all better off going through things together versus alone by ourselves in silence,” she concludes.
The audiobook ‘I’ve Never Been (Un)Happier’ is available on Audible.
–By Ila Sankrityayan