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Celebrities and Suicide

Posted by Dr. Dhaarna Bhardwaj
Published on : 2020-01-01

Celebrities and Suicide-Understanding how can they battle struggles

Death of Bollywood Actor Sushant Singh Rajput not only shocked and surprised many of us but it has also fuelled the debate on mental health. Let us understand what challenges successful people have & what would help to overcome these challenges.

Suicide is nothing new, especially in celebrity circles. People often wonder what made them take such a drastic decision, why would someone decide to end own life when they had ‘everything’? What needs to be understood is having professional acumen, wealth and fame ‘everything’? What are the challenges any successful person has?

The industry comes with an emotional cost for the Actors. Some are able to deal with the challenges while others succumb to the pressures.

Career in Film & Entertainment Industry is uncertain and insecure making it one of the most psychologically demanding careers. There is no guarantee of success and if the career starts dipping or there is a significant period of struggle, many who are not very resilient may adopt faulty coping mechanism like alcohol, smoking or drugs.

Life stressors in form of dwindling finances, need to maintain a particular lifestyle and trouble in relationships add fuel to the fire.

Celebrities constantly have to deal with the eternal pressure to look perfect as they also represent a Brand. Those who have tasted success do not want to lose the stardom and their fan following. Extreme exhaustion due to frequent travel, adhering to strict deadlines, disturbed sleep cycles, strive to excel at work, consistent invasion of privacy by Paparazzi and fatigue due to long working hours is a norm.

Bollywood is an “unforgiving industry” where one can reach incredible highs and absolute lows instantly.

It is lonely at the top as people want to befriend you but you do not feel the same for them. Social reciprocation is important to feel connected to others. Feeling emotionally isolated or lonely (the desperate need to connect and be understood) in such an industry is not surprising where your success decides people who want to be with you.

Success is no guarantee for feeling lonely or depressed. One can feel lonely despite being surrounded by people and being on the top of their game. Deepika Padukone was on the peak of her career when she got depressed and she admitted feeling “empty and directionless” and regularly breaking down in her van after shoots.

Setting impossibly high benchmarks only pushes the successful people or celebrities further and further into a sense of inadequacy to an extent.

Suicide is a crime of loneliness and celebrities or people who are admired can be terrifyingly alone. Intelligence does not help in these conditions; brilliance is almost always deeply isolating.

One needs to talk, communicate and express oneself. There are no perfect solution available. Seeking therapeutic help provides the necessary support and gives hope to the individual which is paramount in coming out of the trap of depression or loneliness. Though therapy does not make everything perfect but it acts as a shock absorber in your bumpy ride.

"The conversation about mental health in India is far from where it should be. People still gossip or laugh at those who visit a shrink.

Having adequate skills to deal with these challenges may help-

  • Have acceptance towards life and understanding that no one is perfect including me. Accepting the highs and lows of the industry and be self-compassionate.
  • Be emotionally aware and manage emotions of self and others.
  • Build good social skills and networking. Healthy relationships act as a cushion in tough times.
  • Learn to deal with the uncertainty of the industry and have multiple sources of earning.
  • Learn to deal with criticism and trolling. No matter how good you are, still people will find some faults.

If you or anyone close to you has been like a tortoise in shell, going through adverse times and expressed a wish to die needs to visit therapist or psychiatrist who will help them deal better with the tough times.

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