Feel guilty for not understanding Shaheen much: Alia on sister's battle with depression

Mumbai: Alia Bhatt on Sunday said she felt guilty for being a "terrible sister" for not understanding Shaheen as much as she should have during the latter's battle with depression.

The actor said she got more clarity on her sister's mental state after reading her book "I've Never Been (un)Happier".

Alia, who accompanied Shaheen at a session on mental health, had multiple breakdowns while talking about what her sister went through.

"I am suddenly feeling very nervous. I am very nervous that I am going to start crying any minute because once we start talking about my sister and her...," Alia said, choking.

The actor broke down and was consoled by her sister.

"I feel extremely proud, heartbroken and overjoyed at the same time. Even though I've lived with my sister my whole life, 26 years, I only understood what she was going through after reading her book.

"That makes me feel, on so many levels, so terrible as a sister. I feel like I didn't put myself out there enough to understand her, to think about what she was going through," Alia said.

The actor was speaking at 'We The Women' curated by Barkha Dutt.

Alia said on a subliminal level, everyone understood that there are certain situations which are different for Shaheen, but her book made her understand what she was going through.

"What makes me really emotional," Alia broke down again, and added, "I always believed that she is the most brilliant person in the family but somehow she never believed it herself. That always broke my heart.

"Not just me, everyone feels like this for her, that when Shaheen walks into a room, it's like a star is there because genuinely she with her mind, emotional quotient, the way she makes you feel, it's of another extreme."

When asked if she feels guilty for not being sensitive, Alia said, "I was sensitive but I do feel guilty for not understanding her as much as I should have. I do understand much better now."

Shaheen, however, said understanding what depression means can be a task for people.

"It is impossible to know the intricacies of it (depression) unless you've gone through it... What she's reacting to is that. Maybe she didn't understand the intricacies. I don't think she has anything to be guilty for, at all."

"...It has been 20 years now, for me depression is chronic, it's even now. Talking about having times when I don't want to live, it happened to me a couple of months ago. I hadn't felt that in a really long time. It had been a really long time since those thoughts and feelings came back. I attempted suicide when I was 17-18 as well," she added.

Alia said when a person whom one loves with all their heart goes through depression, it's impossible to not get emotional.

"The reason I didn't want to cry was because it'll become 'Alia sheds a tear.' But it isn't about that. I don't want it to become the focus but I'm sorry I just can't help but cry. I love her so much, with all the muscle and cell in my body.".

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