Bollywood star Deepika Padukone joined Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on her hugely successful podcast Archetypes to discuss mental health and how openly speaking about their journey has changed their lives and impacted others.
In a heartfelt episode titled Decoding of Crazy, which was released on Spotify on Tuesday, a day after World Mental Health Day, the pair recounted their initial struggles, shared how they sought help and how they take care of their mental health each day.
"Everything in my life seemed great — my films were a success and my career was going great. But I woke up one morning and felt my blood pressure drop. The next thing I know, my life felt meaningless. I didn't want to live anymore," Padukone tells Meghan. "And I struggled with this for many months. I would break down at the drop of a hat. I’d never felt like that before. All of it just felt disorienting."
Meghan, who spoke about having suicidal thoughts in 2021, following the backlash to her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, also shared how her husband was instrumental in helping her seek support during the “worst point” in her life.
“I think it’s for all of us to be really honest about what it is that you need and to not be afraid to ask for help," she shares.
Now a major global star, Padukone, 36, one of the highest paid actresses in India, has won numerous awards for her work in helping to destigmatise mental health issues in her country. Inspired by her own journey, she founded the Live Love Laugh Foundation in 2015, which runs a free counselling service and trains primary care physicians to better identify and treat mental health conditions, among other things.
While she's widely praised for her advocacy, it wasn't easy at first for Padukone.
"There were people who thought that I was promoting a movie, or that I was being paid by a pharmaceutical company," she says. "But as difficult as it was, I am grateful that I went through that experience."
"And now you have helped normalise one of the most important conversations of our time," Meghan adds.
"The most important thing is creating the awareness. And second, to destigmatise mental health. To let people know that it’s OK to seek help. Just like we seek help for physical ailments," Padukone continues.
"Yes, it's the invisible injuries," Meghan says.
The pair then share their journey to healing.
"There's not a single day that goes by without me thinking about my mental health. Everything I do is focused on ensuring that I don’t go back to that life," Padukone says.
"My life is filled with purpose now. It’s not just about the paycheck anymore... it's about how when I leave the earth, what is it that I can leave behind and how many lives can I impact."
"And it's about the little things," Meghan adds.
"Yes," Padukone responds. "Little things like hugging my sister or late-night conversations with my husband. Those are the things that fill me up today."
Padukone is married to Bollywood star Ranveer Singh, who is also currently one of the top actors in India.
The Decoding of Crazy episode also featured Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu who, earlier this year, spoke about how she attempted to take her own life after facing a torrent of criticism over less-than-enthusiastic remarks she made about her sitcom, Fresh Off the Boat, being renewed for another season. Comedian and actress Jenny Slate also appeared in the show.
Soon after its debut on August 23, Archetypes overtook The Joe Rogan Experience to become No 1 on Spotify’s US podcast chart. The first episode, which featured tennis great Serena Williams, was centred on double standards towards “ambitious” women.
Guests who have already appeared include pop star Mariah Carey, writer and actress Mindy Kaling, comedian Margaret Cho and journalist Lisa Ling.