As the world grieved the demise of a talented soul — Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, reportedly battling depression, and found dead in his Palos Verdes Estates home in California, USA — the question asked is why many famous and rich people who have everything going for them, throw in the towel!
“A lot of people think rich and famous people have everything good in their lives. This is far from true. Many times, the relationships that these people are in are superficial. They don’t have anyone to give them an honest opinion about life or work. The pressure on them is immense, something a normal person cannot comprehend,” explains clinical psychologist and psycho-therapist, Varkha Chulani.
Chester Bennington was not alone. There have been numerous celebrities in the past, who’ve taken the ultimate step, for example, Kurt Cobain, Robin Williams and Alexander McQueen.
Explaining why many artistes slip into this phase, personality development expert, Rita Gangwani, says, “People who are in the creative field reach a point where they have a creative block. It’s a stage where they are not able to deliver anything new, or anything that satisfies them completely. There is a blank left in their lives. With the tough competition in this field, they always try to keep making or creating something new, just to ensure that they stay in the limelight.”
The pressure of creating something, wanting to be on the top always... forces many artistes to indulge in substance abuse. “It is almost like a chicken-and-egg situation. Drugs are often used by individuals who feel psychologically empty, with the hope that the substance will promote satisfaction. Often the substance is used to fill or remove certain feelings or emotions that cause discomfort and pain,” says counsellor Anna Chandy, who helped actress Deepika Padukone fight depression.
Explaining it further, Rita Gangwani asserts, “When these artists resort to drugs to overcome their creative and personal issues, it temporarily helps elope from the situation. But, when the effect of the drugs wares away, they return to their senses, and further lose hope to fight the circumstances.”
Though it is true that celebs are constantly surrounded by people, understanding the symptoms of depression isn’t very easy. “The difficult aspect is that the symptoms vary from person to person. For some, it takes a while to recognise something is happening — they have no words to explain the feelings. For others, the signs of depression show up as physical symptoms. Assessment and diagnosis require professional support. Very often, especially in India, families try to take the role of professionals, thus delaying the professional support. All this happens because the underlying cause is the stigma associated with mental illnesses,” explains Anna Chandy....