Skil Infrastructure director Akshita Gandhi was diagnosed with depression after a personal setback. Today, she believes the worst thing you can do about mental health is sweep it under the carpet
It’s okay to not be okay. Those are not just words but almost a life lesson for Akshita Gandhi, the older daughter of Nikhil Gandhi, chairman, SKIL Infrastructure. To the world, the 27-year-old leads a charmed life, but she is quick to point out that everyone is fighting their own battles, and she has braved hers.
In an interview with ETPanache, Gandhi speaks about battling with clinical depression, and her decision to address a subject that is considered taboo even today.
“I wanted to share my experience and journey [dealing with clinical depression] because I want people to know that, A: It’s not a taboo subject, B: It’s okay to speak about it, and C: It can happen to the best of us,” Gandhi says, sitting in her studio at her residence in south Mumbai. “A lot of people look at my life and say that you could not have gone through it. To an outsider, your life could look perfect and sometimes you may still be suffering.”
Gandhi was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2016.
She had just moved back to her parents’ home shortly after her marriage of three years ended.
“I was much younger then… Sometimes the turn of events comes as a shock to you. We all have plans. I had a very different plan for myself. So, when I moved back, the whole thing was sort of like what is happening,” she says, not getting into details about the circumstances surrounding the ending of her marriage, but admitting that the period may have served as a trigger.
“I moved back of my own accord. So, you are also dealing with guilt and pressure. There is the have-I-done-the-right-thing feeling.”
She continues, “When you are in that situation and down and out, you want to give up. And I wanted to. I thought I’d hit rock bottom and it was so difficult to get through each day. Nothing seemed to excite me. And you kind of lose that zest for life and your will to live. You don’t know what is going to get you out of it.” Even after being confronted with the diagnosis, Gandhi lived in denial initially. “I have always been an overachiever,” she says. “My sister and I were child prodigies. We did our arangetram when we were seven and nine years old [respectively]. I played the santoor. We performed on stage. I was the editor of my newspaper in my university. There were always such brilliant things happening around me that this [the diagnosis] was a shock.”
(To be continued)
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