Aaliyah Kashyap, the daughter of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, talked about battling serious mental health problems in her new YouTube video. She said that while she has been dealing with anxiety and depression from her early teenage years, things came to a head in the last few months.
“I have always dealt with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager, so maybe since I was 13-14. I have always dealt with it on and off but it has never been bad to the point where I couldn’t cope. It has always been easy for me to snap out of it. If I really wanted to snap out of it, I could. It was all in my head, it never bothered me to the point where it was like ruining my life. It wasn’t interfering with my life. Like I would feel depressed and anxious, but I could snap out of it,” she said.
When Aaliyah tested positive for Covid-19 last November, she was in quarantine and her mental health ‘really deteriorated’. “Since then, I just haven’t been able to snap out of it, which is weird for me, because usually, it is so easy for me to just snap out of it. I’ll do a therapy or counselling session and I’ll be fine for months or weeks. But it was really hard for me after November. I was just super low, constantly crying, feeling like there was no purpose to my life, like I didn’t want to exist or do anything. I thought I was a burden on everyone else and all of these negative interrupting thoughts in my head that obviously aren’t true. But that is what it felt like,” she said.
Aaliyah talked about experiencing an ‘episode’ in December last year. “ I just completely broke down and I was in the hospital for severe panic attacks… Which is why my parents flew down here because they were worried about me,” she said. Her parents stayed in the US with her till early January, and she felt good again. However, towards the end of March, things went downhill again. “I just didn’t get out of bed, I didn’t shower, barely ate,” she said.
On April 10, Aaliyah was going about her day normally, when suddenly, she felt very dizzy. “Suddenly, my body became numb, completely numb. My heart started beating really fast. I started sweating. My body started violently trembling. Literally, I was like, ‘I am dying’. It felt like this was it for me and I was going to die. Mind you, I have had panic attacks before but nothing like this, ever. So I didn’t know what I was having was a panic attack and not a heart attack or stroke,” she said.
Aaliyah went to the hospital and was told that she had a severe anxiety attack. “It was like the scariest day and night of my life. I felt so much anxiety, for no reason. Like, nothing triggered it,” she said, adding that the incident triggered more anxiety in her. “After that Sunday night, for the last 10 days, I have felt constant anxiety. Even right now. My heart rate was super high. I couldn’t breathe. My chest was hurting throughout,” she said.
Aaliyah would stay in bed and constantly cry. “I don’t think I have ever cried as much in my life combined as I have in this past week,” she said. She decided to visit a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with panic disorder, which is characterised by sudden recurring panic attacks. She said that she is feeling better after taking medication for it.
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The reason Aaliyah decided to come out with her story, she said, is to assure anyone else going through something similar that they are ‘not alone’. She also urged them to get professional help, as it really makes a difference.
If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918