Comedian Tanmay Bhat, who rose to fame with comedy collective AIB, says he has been suffering with clinical depression. He was suspended last October following complaints of not acting against sexual harassment allegations made regarding his colleague Utsav Chakraborty. Bhat on Sunday took to Instagram and uploaded a series of videos, sharing how the subsequent events after his suspension have created a toll on his mental health.
He said: "After everything that happened in October, I'm mentally checked out. I feel almost paralysed and unable to participate socially, online or even offline. I think a big part of my self worth growing up as someone who looked like me became my work. For most of my adult life I worked at a company that I was trying to build.
"And having to watch the letting the office go, all the people who worked with us, having to say good bye to that took a toll on me mentally and physically which finally came to a headway around the end of the last year and doctors told me that I am suffering from clinical depression and told me to consider doing something about it."
Last month, AIB issued a statement and announced that Bhat would no longer be their CEO.
View this post on Instagram
The hardest part about everything that has happened in the last 8 months is to come to terms with my own failings as a leader and as an individual. But I know that owning up, being vulnerable, and taking responsibility are the only ways to move forward. I am deeply sorry for the distress I’ve caused to my friends, and anyone affected by my actions. I am deeply sorry to my colleagues who’ve had to go through immense stress that I feel responsible for. I realise that in the past, I’ve failed to live up to ideals that I've propagated myself, and my resolve is to ensure that this never happens again. I ask that you believe my intentions in good faith while holding me to my words. If I make any lapses in judgement in the future, I welcome critique and accountability from followers of my work, both men and women. In any leadership capacity in the future I will strive to build spaces in which women feel welcomed, valued, safe, heard and nurtured. I am committing to a daily process of unlearning, rewiring, and learning. To those who continue to have faith in me — thank you for giving me this invaluable opportunity to change and grow. I want to now look forward and let my actions prove my growth. Thank you.
Sharing what's he up to now, Bhat said: "A lot of you have been asking fair questions - why don't you move on, why don't you rebuild, all fair advice but for some reason, I have just watched something that I have worked for last part of my adult life come crashing down. I have just been staring at the rubble going 'what now?'
"I don't think I've been strong enough to be able to pick myself. It's been a few months since the doctor told me to start medication. I honestly sometimes get super worried that this state of paralysis is permanent. I sometimes feel I might never get back to being who I was or operating to my potential."
He also thanked people for supporting him. "It's nice to know there are still people out there who are rooting for us and me. I am still clueless about any answers to questions like when will I be back and doing what. I don't know. I'm still feeling extremely paralysed to even put out this message because in my head no one wants to work with a depressed comedian and that's an oxymoron.
"But at some point I just got to get up and start fixing this stuff. I owed you guys a thank you. That's all for now," he added.
After opening up his battle with depression, many artistes came out in support of him. Singer-composer Vishal Dadlani commented: " No rush, no pressure, take all the time you need to figure it out, but know that there is a world of love for you out there." Comedian Kenny Sebastian wrote: "You have gone through so much and come out wiser and stronger, this will be no different."
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