I’ve been on anti-depressants: Mahira battled depression after ‘Raees’, viral photo with Ranbir


Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

In a candid and heartfelt interview on the FWhy Podcast hosted by Frieha Altaf, renowned Pakistani actor Mahira Khan delved into various facets of her life, from her career and personal challenges to her struggles with mental health. 

The interview provided a window into Mahira’s journey, shedding light on her thoughts about fame, her battles with anxiety, and her enduring optimism. When asked about the critique Mahira receives, despite being one of the more popular female artists in the country, Mahira said, “I think, especially with being a woman when you’re going up, when people can see you have potential, and you’ve just had a hit, it’s love, love, love. It’s hard to stomach it when you have gone over and beyond their imagination, and I know that.”

The star opened up about her personal struggles, including moments of self-doubt and a lack of confidence. “While you’re talking, I’m thinking, why do I sometimes do that?” Mahira thought out loud. “I think it is a little bit of a habit. I always had this. Because even when I was growing up, I had a lot of attention, and I didn’t want that attention. I wanted to be a part of the group – like everybody else. That attention used to affect my relationships sometimes. I’ve become better at owning who I am, what I am, what I look like, the work I’ve done, and my journey through life. I’m more at ease at owning it now. But I fall [back] on that thing where I’m like, ‘No, I’m not this,’ so I can make everybody easy around me.”

Mahira shared valuable insights into managing doubt, citing advice from Sarmad Khoosat. “Sarmad says, ‘Keep that doubt because when you’re not sure, we get to extract work from you.’ There’s a little bit of doubt, but at the end of the day, there is more faith than doubt,” said the superstar.

Addressing online trolling, Mahira stated, “You come in full of faith and passion, and you think that once the camera is turned on, you’ll show them what you have. That’s the kind of energy. Because of all this social media, criticism – constant, no matter what you do – that’s when there does come this weird doubt and lack of confidence; it hurts. It hurts me only when people from my industry say something. My fans are champions. They have fought wars for me like, oh, it’s scary sometimes. I don’t mind faceless, bored people at home who have nothing to do; their mother is about to yell at them – right before that, they see someone’s picture, and they’ve written, ‘Are you Muslim?’ ‘You will burn in fire,’ or ‘I hope you die.’ That doesn’t bother me anymore.”

Whilst addressing industry criticism, the actor said, “That has happened to me the most. And that is something I make sure and make a point of not doing. Because I want that years from now, when a girl comes in and wants to be like me, these are the things she picks up. Not the other things. You do not have to pull someone down. If someone is succeeding, you applaud it. You will succeed.”

The star also hilariously added, “I’m waiting for Brad Pitt to call me,” when asked about why she hasn’t ventured into Hollywood yet. When asked about changing her appearance for a role – for instance, going bald, Mahira said, “I would do that.” She also spoke in detail about her philanthropic efforts, adding at the end, “I want to make an old people’s home.”

Mahira’s journey hasn’t been without its trials. She shared the profound impact of the ban on Pakistani artists working in India, which led her to experience anxiety and depression. “It was unexpected. I’d finished the film, everything was going just fine, and then suddenly this attack happens, and politically everything gets…you know. With India, it’s always political. But the fact that it’d get this messy…I was not scared, I was threatened. Constant tweets; in fact, I would get calls. And very scary ones. And the only thing I wanted was, ‘Okay, fine, I can’t go to India to promote it, I can’t enjoy this, but I hope it releases in my country.’ Because I knew people would rush to the cinema to watch these two. He’s loved here…so for me, that was heartbreaking.”

She further revealed, “I think the anxiety that was within me since always, and a thwarted depression, that came out. That was a hard time for me. I felt attacked. I guess I’d built it up, and it came crashing down. And then the backlash, and then constantly your face is on their channels and here as well – constantly getting mean tweets, threats, or comments that say, ‘Get out of here,’ and you’re like, ‘I was never there. I’m here, I’m home.’ And then people at home are saying, ‘Why did you even go?’ It was from both sides. That is the time when I think my faith broke a little. I developed severe anxiety to the point where one day, I had a panic attack, and I fainted. That was the first time I went to therapy. I went to one therapist and then another, but it was just not working for me. Either I was not opening up, or when I sat there across from the therapist, they would look at me with a little bit of awe.”

She continued to state, “I was very lucky though. I had my friends, my family, the person I’m still with, supporting me. But it isn’t external. It’s how you’re feeling inside. And so that year was rough. And the same year Raees released was the same year Verna released, and the same year the whole picture thing happened. And it broke me. I was broken. I wouldn’t sleep; my hands used to shake…I remember the first time I had to face a crowd; I was so nervous…It was just so much. I was like, no one’s going to come. We were going for promotions. And there were hoards and hoards of people.”

Further opening up, Mahira revealed, “The anxiety lasted. The triggers were all out in the open. My vulnerabilities were sort of pouring out. And eventually, I ended up in a psychiatrist’s office, and she said I had manic depression…It’s been six, seven years I’ve been on antidepressants. I tried leaving them in the middle and went into a very dark space. I’m a very hopeful person, so I understood that there is something beyond me, beyond the prayers that I will do, beyond the friends who will cheer me up, beyond everything. There is something not right, and it’s okay.”

She predicted news portals running her talking about depression as a headline, highlighting how she truly loathes such news. However, she stated that if someone out there can see that and is going through the same, she wants them to know it’s a bump and there is help available.

Towards the end of the podcast, Frieha commented on how Mahira now has the love of her life, to which Mahira blushed, smiled, and agreed. Regarding her privacy and personal life, the star asserted, “There are some things that are mine, and they are mine.”

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.