Glamour puts a dreadful burden on the performers, celebrities associated with the entertainment & sports industry. Recently, a former Indian Cricketer Praveen Kumar opened up about his ordeal with depression. In his interview with a famous newspaper, he shared, his experiences and struggle with depression when he wanted to end his life eight years ago, but recovered at the last second thinking about his family. This is not the first time the sportsperson has spoken about their personal struggles.
On-screen when the audience see their favorite sports person performing, the euphoria is no less than a superhero and when their favorite actors deliver dialogues or action, the audience is completely mesmerized. Even after such a die-hard fan following the demand to perform better, retain the performance and pushing the action beyond the finishing line does have its toll on their lives.
Sportsperson struggle with reconciling with strong physical strength, coping with pressure, always a threat of competition with new and fresh entrants, to challenges their position. The pressure in the entertainment industry is much higher where the shelf life of a performer depends on the star ratings, overrated masculine six-packs, and feminine sensuality. The screen life in both cases depends essentially on coping up with their weakness and sustaining against the popular criticism and narrative.
Famous Bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone, took a dig on Salman khan’s controversial comment that “I cannot afford the luxury to be depressed”. She criticized veteran actor’s comment on depression saying that “It’s not a choice’ and battling depression should not be confused with being a bit sad”. this is not the first time. Bollywood celebrities have come out vehemently about their struggles with depression, from young singer Neha Kakkar to national award-winning actress Zaira Wasim, Deepika Padukone, Karan Johar and many more. Anupam Kher, one of the senior and proclaimed actor opened about his battle with depression and the need for spreading awareness about mental health issues. In an interview with media on the sidelines of IIFA Awards, he stressed that “Loneliness is not attractive if it is affecting your mind”.
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Till now so less has been discussed in media about loneliness and its effects on human lives, associated with sports and media industry even if they are surrounded by so much glamour. More than a century ago, A E Stoddart, who captained England in the first Ashes series of 1894-95, committed suicide, reportedly succumbed to loneliness. Last year in March 2019 Kelly Catlin, the three-time cycling world champion killed herself at the young age of 23. According to her family in a series of crashes and suffered from concussion and injuries, the athlete could not train as she used to affect her, to the extent to end her life.
The competitive failures in the profession and suppressing emotional pain or stress instead of facing it or accepting, strained relationships have a powerful influence on mental health. The emotional loneliness, desperate need to connect, to be understood or even surrounded by people are some of the factors that push the celebrities and sports persons into the web of depression.
The need for the hour is to spread awareness, about mental health issues. Depression is no longer a taboo word in India, celebrities have publicly spoken with their struggles to motivate and support others who are facing the same issues in life.