Couldn't sleep, hands used to shake: Mahira Khan recounts battling depression after 'Raees'

The smoking pictures with Ranbir Kapoor also added to the Pakistan actor's depression, she said

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Published: Wed 30 Aug 2023, 10:13 AM

Last updated: Wed 30 Aug 2023, 2:17 PM

Renowned Pakistani actor Mahira Khan has revealed her journey through mental health struggles, including being diagnosed with manic depression by a psychiatrist. In an intimate conversation on the FWhy Podcast, the star shared how her experiences in the entertainment industry, including her entry into Bollywood with the film Raees, and the 2017 incident involving pictures of her smoking (a cigarette) with actor Ranbir Kapoor, contributed to her mental health challenges.

Mahira Khan also discussed the aftermath of the 2016 Uri attack, which led to a ban on Pakistani actors working in Bollywood. She recounted, "I had finished the film (Raees) and everything was going fine and then suddenly this attack happens... I was threatened... The only thing I wanted was that 'Okay fine I can't go to India to promote it (Raees), but I hope it releases in my country because I knew people would rush to watch it as he (Shah Rukh Khan) is loved here (in Pakistan)."

The year 2017 proved to be a turning point, as the smoking pictures controversy involving Ranbir Kapoor led to intense backlash for Mahira Khan. She described this period as 'unexpected' and shared that the negative attention added to her anxiety and depression, eventually leading to panic attacks and fainting. This marked the beginning of her journey into therapy.

Mahira said, "That (backlash) brought out the anxiety and depression hidden inside me. That was a hard time for me. I felt attacked. The constant backlash… you are getting mean tweets, comments on their channels (Indian channels). That was a time my faith broke and I developed severe anxiety to the point that one day I had a panic attack and fainted. That’s the first time I went for therapy. But that didn’t work out, as I went to several therapists... that year was rough... I couldn’t sleep, my hands used to shake."

Mahira candidly expressed that she has been taking antidepressants for the past 6-7 years. She emphasized that despite an attempt to discontinue medication, she spiralled into a dark place. The actor disclosed that this is the first time she is openly discussing her prolonged use of medication.

Her battle against depression prompted her to seek help, leading her to hospitals in her pursuit of well-being. Mahira emphasized that while everyone experiences ups and downs, clinical depression is a legitimate mental illness that requires proper attention and treatment, akin to any physical ailment.

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