When Fame Comes Early and Anxiety Follows

mental health in India

I did not want to be “that child star” for the rest of my life.

One thing that scares me the most is talking about myself. How much is too much? And how less is not enough? Will they judge? Will they be shocked? Do they even want to know?

Some important background: As a child, I was an actor on a popular TV series in India. I grew up on the TV. The camera and books were my best friends. Born to extremely humble and “normal — middle class” parents, me being on TV was a big thing. Some people in my family appreciated and acknowledged what I was doing, but most didn’t, so it was just the three of us through it all. I went to a decent school, got good grades but school was just something I did apart from my work.

  As a child, I was an actor on a popular TV series in India.

As a child, I was an actor on a popular TV series in India.

  I did not want to be “that child star” for the rest of my life.

I did not want to be “that child star” for the rest of my life.

Growing up with the world watching you on TV is not easy. They watch your every movie and they follow you everywhere. They want to know what you ate and how much. They want to know where you slept and with whom. While other kids were making friends, pulling pranks on teachers and playing hopscotch during the summer holidays, I was in front of the camera pretending to be a new person everyday and understanding the value of money. No, money was never something my family needed, but an added income always helps right? I bought our first car at 14 and our first own house at 21.

But I did not want to be “that child star” for the rest of my life. I wanted people to know me not just as the characters I played, but for who I am. My relationship with Bollywood was like a mutual break up. I didn’t want to do certain roles, and the industry was more than happy to work with new faces. I went completely awol, not to be seen on social media except for a few pictures from the last photo-shoot, always on the “look how they grew up to be” or “where are these child stars now” lists. I went to college, got an education, started working and doing different things. “Hey, aren’t you that girl from that TV show?” never left me.

Some of the best times I’ve had were on the film sets; some of the most amazing people I’ve met are from the industry. My life was a fairytale, just like my show and it was indeed a dream come true. I still get recognized and it is flattering, but it is also very uncomfortable. Mostly because the image that people have of me is not what I really am. I am in my pajamas all day, messy hair and feeling crappy about myself at all times. I suffer from chronic anxiety and depression and I don’t like to be around people. I suck at society. But that’s not what they want to hear.

What It Feels Like Inside

I am a torrent of anxiety, in the pit of disrepair and illustriously bound to the banks of a raging river of ripped up stories, poems, and legends never told. The Vial I hold is filled with vile putrid secrets unbecoming of my own scornful mind. They are not my secrets, not mine alone they are the hidden fears, phobias, and shames of many lucid souls. I pour into the maelstrom of an eternal mystery, the gods of woe, writing, willpower they are laughing and sobbing in a cacophony of screams never ripped from shattered minds.

The Poetry Within

As I bleed synthetic hollow echoes of hallucination from wounds I have not yet received, scars not yet born nor, are these lacerations to live ever, I learn that my carelessness has cornered me into a vale of memory. A ferocious beast, a lion of decrepit despair, and depression roars at me in with rage and pure vengeful power beyond imagination and comprehension.
I am an injured insignificant rat bound to a fetid corner of this malignant prison. It is with this I nearly succumb to fear and boundless possibilities of hells that could await my shell and soul.
The Valkyrie from Voracious Valhalla she comes, with spear of spiritual courage, and shield of healing hope, and the soul of the wolf and its determination to press onward. I was reborn in that moment, the revelations of Renaissances from past, present, and future and far beyond ripped into my body, mind, and soul. Just as a rat will fight when cornered and a wolf when injured even if beyond all hope, it will fight if it still has “teeth”, and I was ready as battle for creation, curiosity, and tempered true love was begun

The war against the lion still rages on this day, though one wolf cannot do it alone, for they hunt and fight in packs, as friends, family, of all sorts rip at the hateful lion of lovers lost, void, and grief. It is a battle fought by many against demons, lions, and despair, and men, women and, even children fight these battles everyday in their own soul and mind. Let the lovers of life win and the hells of malady of mind be subdued and defeated, for we cannot truly kill our “lions” or “demons” but we can subjugate them. To do much though is an uphill battle for many and we all could use a little help….join in the fight.

 

I am not going to take all the credit for the acting I did, it was a lifetime ago. All these kids that grew up to be actors, they all came after me. They came in the age of YouTube and Netflix, they know what to say and how to dress. Back in the day my mother packed my clothes for the shoot next day. Times have changed and how! I don’t know if I will act again, I might if something interesting comes my way. As a kid, during interviews, when they asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I always said director or writer or camerawoman. It was anything but acting. Well, only time will tell.