Actress and US-based activist Somy Ali, who was actor Salman Khan’s former girlfriend, opened up on having suicidal thoughts. "Yes, I have (had suicidal thoughts) and have no shame in admitting it. I am a huge proponent of speaking up against the stigma attached to mental health. More so, as a trauma survivor, from sexual abuse to rape and domestic violence, of course, I have had those thoughts," said the former Bollywood actress, who has acted in Bollywood films like ‘Anth: A Dream for a Better Tomorrow’ and ‘Chupp’.
"I sought help and went through countless sessions with not one, but three different psychologists. It truly helps one to heal if not fully, but enough to eliminate suicidal thoughts by seeking therapy and even anti-depressants. For me, it was the former as sharing my trauma with a trained specialist truly helped me heal from it. Again, no one, in my opinion, can ever fully heal from the above-mentioned abuse, but they can be functioning and successful professionals. In fact, several celebrities and countless successful people universally are products of terrible childhood abuse," she added. She shared that according to researchers, ninety per cent of people who die by suicide have an underlying and potentially treatable mental health condition.
"No one takes their life for a single reason. Life stresses combined with known risk factors, such as childhood trauma, substance use or even chronic physical pain can contribute to someone taking their life. Asking someone directly if they’re thinking about suicide won’t 'put the idea in their head.' Most will be relieved someone starts a conversation," said Ali. She feels that people who are suffering do not speak up.
"I blame us. I blame our society for making fun of people with mental ailments. This is not a laughing matter. It is literally a matter of life and death. People who are suffering do not speak up because they are afraid of being mocked or deemed crazy. Even in 2021, statements like 'Oh she or he is completely crazy,' or 'She/he is a nut job.' All these statements are deterrents for many individuals and to a level where they end up taking their lives. This has to stop and only us speaking up can make it stop," she said.
Mental health pertaining to financial failure and relationship or marriage failure are often the major causes that drive people to take a drastic step.
"Yes, definitely, but again there is help out there and it is beyond sad that people like Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Guru Dutt, or even Marilyn Monroe were unable to seek help. After several sessions when I sought therapy, I realized that this life is precious, and we have one shot at it. We can’t give up and my healing took place by helping others through the initiation of No More Tears, my NGO. I always say it is the most selfish act I have committed as helping others and saving lives makes me happy and gives me a purpose to exist," said the founder and president of No More Tears, Inc.
Post-pandemic insecurity in a job, work, business, relationships and marriage has increased a lot. She feels that communication is the only solution.
"We must talk our problems out or else matters will only deteriorate. I cannot stress this enough for people suffering after the pandemic to seek help. There are NGOs universally that will provide therapy for free and people should use their services are given they are absolutely free of cost," said Ali.
Personally, she feels that exercise is a must to stay sane. "We all know it releases endorphins which raises our serotonin level and makes us automatically feel good. Plus, spending time with my friends, only two, I prefer quality over quantity and people never cease to disappoint you. That is just the nature of life and the human species. My work in itself is my motivation and nothing inspires me more than to rescue someone who needs NMT’s support and our services," she said.
Sharing her philosophy of life, she said, "One is to never give up on something you have signed up for and is your sole purpose on this planet. For me, that is No More Tears. Do not have any expectations from anyone, you will be happier this way. I know I sound extremely pessimistic, but it has always worked out better for me as it keeps me safe from being hurt emotionally. Lastly, there are no guarantees in life so be careful who you trust. This world can and is a brutal place."