Aamir Khan’s daughter Ira opens up about privilege, and mental health struggles

Ira Khan has been speaking about her mental health struggles on her Instagram in a series of videos.
Ira Khan
Ira Khan
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Ira Khan, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s daughter, has been sharing videos on her Instagram about her mental health struggles. In the most recent one that she posted on November 1, Ira talked about her privilege, dealing with her parents’ divorce, sexual abuse, and more.

She wrote in the caption, “I never spoke to anyone about anything because I assumed that my privilege meant I should handle my stuff on my own, or if there was something bigger, it would make people need a better answer than “I don’t know.” It made me feel like I needed a better answer and until I had that answer, my feelings weren’t something I should bother anyone else with.”

In the video, she went on to talk about having the privilege of having supportive parents and family, but still struggling with depression, which she has been diagnosed with four years ago. Acknowledging that she is financially well-off and does not want for anything, including a support system, Ira said that she would dismiss her feelings by telling herself three things – that there are people in the world who are dying and starving and her problems were not as big; that she shouldn’t take herself seriously as we are all tiny, inconsequential beings in a large cosmos; and no matter what was happening in her life, 10-15 years down the line, it will not be such a big issue.

Using this approach to “get over anything”, Ira said that she stopped even getting to a point where she would feel upset about anything. “I would just let go before I got there. I thought I had attained nirvana, which I had not.”

She also touched upon her parents’ divorce, and realising that not feeling traumatised by it because it was amicable, is also a privilege. “They are friends, the whole family is still friends. We are not a broken family by any means. My parents were very good about being parents to Junaid and me, even after divorce and when people would say 'Oh I am so sorry to hear about your parents' divorce, I would be like 'What are you talking about? It is not a bad thing.’ Another privilege I didn't realise.”

Ira also mentioned that she was sexually abused when she was 14, but once she realised it, she told her parents and got out of the situation; and also her experience with having tuberculosis, and how her privilege helped her deal with these things.

There was a 3.5-year gap when her mental health started deteriorating and when she asked for help. “I stopped taking care of myself. I started sleeping a lot, and thinking it was normal and not realising I was sleeping so much. I would keep myself really busy and then slowly moved into immobility where I wasn’t even leaving my bed. […] I started to isolate, because I didn’t want to be in a bad mood around my friends. […] there was no reason for me to be in a bad mood so why put them through it,” Ira said. She added that her crying spells started increasing, and she did not understand or know why she was crying. Ira also explained how it was hard for her to pin down why she felt the way she did, and because of her own privilege and feeling like she didn’t have a good enough reason made it difficult to ask for help.   

Watch the video here.

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