Shaheen Bhatt’s book starts with a personal account drawn from some corner of her personal journal. I don’t know about you, but I have always maintained my own personal diary wherein I used to ramble about insignificant incidents, rant about a bad friend, and basically pour my soul. I cannot even imagine someone reading even a fragment of my diary. The thought of someone getting to know such personal details about me terrifies the life out of me.
And then there is this woman by the name Shaheen Bhatt who had the courage to slit open the scariest of her wounds for everyone to see and understand where it hurts the most. I don’t know how she prepared herself to come out in front of the world and share her story. But I am glad that she shared, because if she hadn’t, so many people who have read her book and found refuge wouldn’t be getting this gift. Yes, her book is a gift. In fact, it’s more than just a gift. It’s a priceless possession that sits in my bookshelf, looks at me every once in a while, and lures me into reading the pages that I dog-eared.
I’ve Never Been (Un) Happier (Review)
“I’ve Never Been (Un) Happier” is an account of human suffering and the dogma around it. This book shows you the insurmountable affliction that causes a human being to stop seeing the point in being alive. And if you have ever suffered from Depression, then you might end up seeing yourself in this book. This book is for those who don’t understand when their friend, colleague, family member, or spouse tells them about their ever-lasting state of unhappiness. This book is a map to a depressed person’s mind. It will take you there, show you the dents, peel off the plaster from the walls in order to expose the dampness – the deadness.
You will not enjoy reading this book, because Shaheen Bhatt did not write this book for anyone to enjoy. She wrote this book for people to grow empathy for those who battle every day to draw the willpower to inhale one more time and not feel guilty about it. When you buy this book it’s not a mere purchase – it’s a decision. And I want you to make this decision.
A lot of people in this country believe that the Bhatts have art in their genes. From Mahesh Bhatt to Pooja Bhatt, and now Alia Bhatt – all of them are celebrated for their art and success. But there is another one of the Bhatts who sulked in her room, complementing darkness with craters beneath her eyes. Shaheen Bhatt, the daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan, found herself to be incompetent to be the child in a family that is celebrated in the nation. She didn’t find herself good enough, or rather she didn’t see the point in being good enough.
When Shaheen reached the age of twelve, suddenly, the world turned a bit gloomy. There was no clear explanation to this sudden uneasiness, but there it was – darkness so encompassing that soon she lost the sight of the sky. There was no way she could point the silver linings anymore. In her book, Shaheen has shared the entire chronology of her depressive episodes. She states the eventual decline in her overall mental health clearly. Not only depression, but she has also talked openly about her body image issues that fuelled her depression. A person’s relationship with his/her body is extremely important in order to determine what they see in their reflection. It’s imperative to have a positive body image. But in Shaheen’s case, her body image was pretty distorted in her own eyes. She would suffer in compulsive cycles. Her depressive episodes pushed her into binge eating that in turn led her to gain weight. The weight gain would make her hate her own body, and she would stop eating just to get thinner. The cycle continued for Shaheen, and she ended up creating a very toxic relationship with her body."I feel this book is one of the most honest books that I have ever read." Click To Tweet
I feel this book is one of the most honest books that I have ever read. Shaheen has not shied away at all. She has even talked about her discovery of alcohol and then her eventual alcoholism. It stunned me how open she has been the entire time with her book. It’s so rare when a person bares their soul to the world, open to criticism and judgment because they look at the bigger picture. Personally, I loved the part where Shaheen talked about her experience of suffering from depression and anxiety both at the same time. The way she has described her experience with the two, it sent chills down my spine. Her description is vivid, real, and honest.
“I’ve Never Been (Un) Happier” is informative, and brings you clarity regarding mental health crises around the world. Shaheen has made sure to make it as wholesome as possible. She has also shared a couple of video links in the end so that you can continue your endeavor to understand the illness properly. She has talked about therapy, the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist, etc. The part where she opens up about her illness in front of her mother is heartwarming and brings you hope.
Not all stories have happy endings, right? But I don’t like happy endings, because most of the time in life we never reach that perfect happy ending. Perhaps, the only end is death, and even though someone dies, someone else continues to live. However, acceptance and hope are the two closest to the happy ending most of us try to seek in our lives. “I’ve Never Been (Un) Happier” closes with acceptance of the illness, and finding ways to live with yourself. It’s about embracing the bad days, along with celebrating the good days. It’s about hope. Once a wave crashes at the shore, it recedes. Similarly, after every bad day, the hope of a better day gets stronger. You cannot buy hope, but you can buy Shaheen Bhatt’s book!