Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Taking one’s own life due to depression is not a new issue, especially not in celebrity circles. These tragic deaths are also not limited by lines of work, ranging from boxers, designers, politicians and writers to actors, musicians and entrepreneurs. The fact that these people – the crème-de-la-crème of our world, in terms of skills, wealth and fame – decided to take their own life, is what needs to be assessed. The question most people ask is this, “Why would they want to take their own life, when they had ‘everything’?” But did they have everything, or does it even matter what they had or didn’t have in material possessions and fame?
It’s rightly said that every smiling face is not happy. Depression is a crippling disorder; it chews the heart of the individual and eats away the happiness inside. Being famous doesn’t mean you are exempt from it. In fact, more celebrities have battled depression than we would have believed. Depression is still a term that is misunderstood and feared in Pakistani society. We often mention “depression” and its symptoms but don’t talk about it in a way that normalizes it. The single most important fact Pakistani society needs to understand is that the brain is an organ just like any other, and can become damaged or ill if stressed enough.
Celebrity deaths remind us that no one, no matter how revered or celebrated, is immune to the black dog of depression and its faithful companions – isolation, emptiness, heartbreak and hopelessness. But they should remind us, too, that anyone can help, and little gestures matter.