Shaheen Bhatt, Alia and Pooja Bhatt’s sister, had confessed two years ago that she has battled depression from the age of 13. After Deepika Padukone opened a dialogue about mental illness, Shaheen has now come up with a book about the same. It is titled I Have Never Been (Un) happier and tells Shaheen’s story and how she dealt with mental illness.
Shaheen in an interview to a leading daily revealed that her family is super supportive and her sisters Alia and Pooja are more excited about the book than her. She said, “ I am lucky to have the most supportive and encouraging family in the world... my parents, my sisters and brother. Honestly, my sisters are more excited about it than me. Alia is treating it like it’s her own work.”
She further added, “This book is my heart laid bare on a page. It’s about the last 16-17 years of my life — about how it began, how I learned about it and everything that has happened since then. It’s a short format book and it’s designed in such a way that you can read it in one sitting. Books on mental health can be intense and difficult to get through, so we wanted people to understand as much as they could within a short span of time.”
Speaking about living with depression since the age of 13, she said, “While I was going through it, I was too young to understand. At that time, there was complete confusion and lack of awareness about what was happening. As I grew older, I learned how to deal with it. I realized that I don’t have to live with it all the time. Today, I feel grateful for what it has given me in my life — a lot of empathy and understanding. I wouldn’t change anything about my journey so far even though it has been quite difficult.”
She also spoke about what prompted her to bare it all and said, “Honestly, I hid the fact that I lived with depression for a long time. I never spoke about it because I thought there was something wrong with me. It took me a while to understand that what I was going through was an illness, which could be controlled and it’s not something that I need to be ashamed about. Since then, I have encouraged others to come out in the open about it as well. I wanted to lead by example, so I decided to write this book.”
Shaheen’s family also took to Twitter to show support for her book. Alia had even apologized to her sister earlier through an open letter. She said in the video, “When I come home after a long day at work or I am just sulking because of life, just one look at your older but still sparkling brown eyes just lights up my heart like you can’t imagine, When I read your very first book, a book that you have written with so much ease and honesty, while I struggle to write one letter to you. I feel awful. I feel terrible because despite living with you for 25 years, I have never really understood your silent moments of depression. I never recognized a snappy moment as something much bigger.”