Depression, Deepika Padukone and Virginia Woolf

“Some years ago, a temporary inability to sleep, caused me to walk about the streets all night. I would get up directly after lying down, go out, and come home tired at sunrise. My principal object to get through the night.”

– Charles Dickens in Night Walks       

I found interview by Deepika Pandukone very interesting, perhaps for first time an actor is openly talking about suffering from mental problem (depression). She talks about how she got herself treated (which included taking medicines) and how she overcame the problem. I also liked the fact that she will be making efforts to increase awareness of mental problems in India. This will help in removing stigma attached to mental health related problems and encourage people to approach Psychologists/Psychiatrists.


In Clinical Psychology, depression comes under the category of mood disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes symptoms of depression as…

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day.

bdi 2 manual

One way to assess the severity of depression is use of Beck Depression Inventory-II.  It consists of 21 items to assess the intensity of depression in clinical and normal patients. Depending on the score the intensity of depression is assessed. The scale is given below.


Deepika Padukone is not the only celebrity who suffered from depression. Famous personalities like Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf also suffered from depression.

virginia woolf

Virginia Woolf suffered from depression throughout her adult life and ended her life by committed suicide. She was suffering from depression while she was writing novel Mrs. Dollaway.

The novel has two storylines, first one is about rich lady Clarissa Dalloway,who is in her fifties and is preparing for a party. The second storyline begins with Septimus Smith, a shell-shocked war veteran, out on the street with his wife, Lucrezia. Septimus struggles with the aftereffects of the war, hearing voices and feeling that life has little meaning. Novel ends with Septimus committing suicide and hearing this news Clarissa does not feel happy with her party.

Virginia could identify herself with depression related problems faced by Septimus esp. negligence by doctors towards those suffering from mental health related problems.

My mind turned by anxiety, or other cause, from its scrutiny of blank paper, is like a lost child–wandering the house, sitting on the bottom step to cry.”

― Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary


the hours

Later a film was made based on this novel called – The Hours. The Hours describes the interwoven stories of three women, all of whom are battling depression: author Virginia Wolfe who is writing the novel Mrs. Dalloway in 1923, a pregnant housewife who is reading this same novel in 1951, and a publisher who, in 2011, seems to strangely be living the life of the main character in Wolfe’s novel.


Abraham Lincoln too suffered from depression. In fact he postponed his marriage to Mary Todd more than once as he suffered from depression before marriage.

“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell.”

  • Abraham Lincoln to John Stuart in 1841.










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