Actress Shama Sikander, who in 2016 had openly spoken about her struggle with bipolar disorder and how she had once even attempted suicide, says talking about it was the toughest thing she has ever done. When she looks back, she wonders how she overcame it. Asked about how she felt about opening up about her struggles, Shama told IANS in an e-mail interview: “It’s the most difficult thing I have done in my life. I don’t even know how I survived! I still wonder how strong I must be to be able to survive (it)!” However, she says, “to talk about it was not difficult” at all. “I have always been unashamed of my life and not very afraid of sharing it to the world as well to a great extent,” she added. The actress says she was advised otherwise by people around her.

“Whatever I did not say earlier in my career is because a lot of people were stopping me to. But once you face death, you fear nothing. I was suddenly the most fearless that I have ever been and I could feel people and their pain more than ever,” she said. Shama says her aim is to help others who are going through the same struggles as she did. “I wanted to help and reach out to them (people) and tell them, ‘There is light after all that darkness, so do not worry. I came out and you can too’.

That has become my purpose. And I am doing my best to raise the awareness in every way I possibly can,” she added. The 36-year-old actress rose to fame with the TV show Yeh Meri Life Hai in 2003. On the big screen, she was seen in superstar Aamir Khan-starrer Mann in 1999. After fighting and overcoming her disorder, Shama made a bold comeback after eight years in 2016 with web show “Sexaholic”. Soon after its release, the actress was slut-shamed and trolled on social media. On getting objectified on social media, Shama said: “There is a lot of dirt in this world and on social media, it’s like there’s good and there’s bad… You have to accept the existence of both and until you don’t let it affect you, it is not yours. It just exists just like a lot of other things exist in the universe.” Shama says “avoiding” and “focus on the good energy” is her mantra. Shama Sikander will now be seen in Ab Dil Ki Sun, a series of seven short films. Each film is from five to 14 minutes long and talk about the problems that are pushing the new generation towards mental illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder.

“I play myself and everyone… I am you and me and everyone living in this world. It’s more like an open conversation rather I would say. The whole idea is to bring people’s attention to these illnesses and the reasons behind depression,” she added. “Ab Dil Ki Sun” is the maiden venture from Shama’s home production. She says it was daunting at first to produce a film as it was a strong step for her. “I have always acted in films and television, and never really dealt with the production side of it. But a lot of knowledge over the years and great relationships with very many talented artistes and crew members gave me the confidence to go ahead and pull it off. I think I did pretty good for my first production as a producer as people really came to my help with all that they had to offer,” she said.