Mental health has been an important topic of discussion this year following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown resulting in social isolation for many. Recently, Malayalam actor Sanusha also opened up about her mental health struggles and took to social media to share her experience of anxiety and depression in the last three months.
“What I missed the most during these last few months was my smile. I was going through a hard time during the initial months of the lockdown, both professionally and personally. In every way it was a difficult time and even when I think about it, I get goosebumps by what I had gone through. But now I feel stronger - about the fact that I have grown through this whole experience,” she says.
One of the biggest problems with mental health is the stigma attached to it and the difficulty in opening up to people and seeking professional help. Sanusha says that she too had problems communicating with people.
“It was a scary time. I didn’t know how to communicate this darkness within me to my friends or my family. I was having anxiety and panic attacks. I wasn’t interested in anything and I didn’t feel like speaking about it to my family,” she adds.
It was when things worsened and she started having suicidal thoughts that she decided that something had to be done about it.
“I had only told my brother what I was going through. When I realised that he would not have anyone if I did something drastic I decided that I have to seek help. At one point I realised I had to escape this situation and drove down to Wayanad to stay with a friend for a few days. Spending time with nature and the hills helped,” she said.
About her journey to recovery, the young actor added that she sought professional help. “I started working out. I did yoga, exercise, dance... all sorts of workouts. I then sought professional help and started medication,” she added.
For a lot of people dealing with depression and other mental health issues, opening up to family and friends can be challenging, Sanusha says.
“This because consulting a psychologist or psychiatrist for help is construed as the place 'mad people' go to. A lot of people think this way. People are always thinking, what will the society think if we go there. Sometimes it might just be counselling sometimes it might be medical help, but there are still lots of people who think it is bad,” she adds.
When she finally mustered the courage to tell her parents, Sanusha adds that there were minor tensions in the house.
“They told me I am doing okay and asked why I was going to a doctor. They assured me that they were all here for me. But the truth is that, at one point you would not feel like or be able to,” she added.
The young actor also asked her audience to always seek help.
“So that was my experience. 2-3 months was a bad period. But now when I think about it I am slowly starting to love my life again and I am proud of myself for just not giving up. Don’t give up, don’t stop asking for help. Don’t stop yourself from asking for help. Everyone is there with you. Lot of people are going through this, lot of people are struggling. But there is help if you want to be helped,” she added.
Watch her video here: