[Photo Credit: Instagram/ShamaSikander]

Less than a year after Deepika Padukone opened up to the world about her mental health issues, Shama Sikander—best known for her role on the hit television series “Yeh Meri Life Hai”—has followed, opening up about her long battle with bipolar disorder and depression. 

In the exclusive and heartfelt interview with BollywoodLife, Sikander revealed that she suffered from bipolar disorder for a long period of time—but finally overcame it after seeking treatment, counseling, and meditation in the United States.

“I took this long gap for soul-searching. I did a lot of introspecting. I feel many of us are scared to do that as we don’t want to stir our demons,” she told Bollywood Life. “Today, I have accepted myself in a better manner and thank God for it. I have a better understanding of what I want to do and where I want to reach. The gap was a blessing as it helped me reconnect with my soul.”

Those who have been following Sikander know that 2015 was a difficult year for the star. In January, Sikander and longtime boyfriend Alexx O’Neil had a very publicized breakup. She told Bollywood Life that she found a lot of support from her then-friend and now fiance, James Milliron. Sikander also revealed that finding her spirituality was instrumental in her healing process.

“I had a bipolar stroke, which left me totally depressed,” she said in the interview. “It was a very tough situation where I literally met death and came back. I was unhappy about my professional and personal life and everything just spiraled downwards. I feel I have had a rebirth.” The actress speaks at length about how she conquered mental health issues to be a winner!

In 2015, we saw how Padukone similarly opened up about her depression and how medication helped to overcome the problem. In an effort to spread awareness to the cause, Padukone launched the Live, Love and Laugh Foundation—a platform to express, share and champion mental health concerns.

According to the Foundation’s website, the Indian government estimates that six to seven percent of the population is living with major to minor mental health concerns. This amounts to approximately 70 million Indians—and the number is increasing every year.

“Despite the large number of people who require mental health attention, India only has 3,500 trained psychiatrists and even fewer psychologists,” the Foundation’s website explained. “What’s worse is that stigma and discrimination faced by these people and their families prevent them from seeking guidance.”

In opening up about her mental health woes, Sikander also wants to educate people about mental health issues, urging sufferers to reach out for help.

“I am sharing this to tell everyone that people suffering from a mental condition are not crazy or possessed,” the beauty told Bollywood Life. “There have chemical issues in the functioning of their brain. And in today’s stressful times, depression is commonplace. Throughout our lives, we are taught to be good whatever the situation. I feel it’s not right. Parents should teach their kids to be honest, be true and be accepting of themselves. It’s about how you deal with your angels and your demons. In fact, your demons need more love than your angels. I thank my family and friends for standing by me. I am extremely grateful to my doctor in the U.S. and meditation, which helped me reclaim my life.”