For Sid Mallya, dealing with all the negative news around his father, the fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya, has not been easy. The actor says the hardest part of it was dealing with the negative messages he received.
The ordeal, however, put him on a path of self-discovery and self-care, he insists.
'My dad's situation was a difficult one'
"My dad's situation was a difficult one. I don't think anyone wants to see a close relative or friend go through a tough time. I think the hardest part though has been dealing with the negative messages that have been aimed at me because of it," Sid told IANS while recalling how he overcame that difficult period of his life.
"But on a positive side, this whole ordeal has led me down this path of self-discovery, self-care and mental health awareness which has helped me rediscover and connect to my true being," added the actor, whose real name is Siddharth Mallya.
Once a liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who made a fortune selling beer and expanded his business into other realms, is now a wanted man in India for allegedly defrauding banks and on money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.
Asked how his bond with his father changed while going through these experiences, Sid said: "I don't know if it really changed all that much. We are both very different people as is, and are wired very differently! As such we have each dealt with the experiences in our own individual ways."
Sid has lived his life rather openly, exposing his personal battles and vulnerabilities -- be it his struggle with mental health, anxiety or decision to quit alcohol. He has also come out with a web series called "ConSIDer This", in which he is seen talking about his own mental health struggles and how he tries to overcome it every day.
Looking back at his decision to give up alcohol, the Los Angeles-based star said: "I wasn't a frequent drinker but whenever I did drink (be it ten drinks or two), I would get massive amounts of anxiety the next morning. This anxiety was having a big negative impact on my productivity, mental well--being and general all round happiness. I realised that alcohol wasn't having a positive effect on my life at this moment in time, so I decided to stop!"
Sid asserts that he won the battle against mental illness by "introspecting and going to those dark places within to see what was causing me to suffer".
"I was then able to work with my therapist in order to overcome the issues I was having. It's still an ongoing process, but I'm so happy with the path I'm on. Without a doubt, my therapist has been the biggest support to me and I really owe the peace I have now to her. My friends have also been a constant support to me and I am so blessed to have such a close group who are more like family. And finally my dog," he noted, stressing that he is "probably the happiest and most at peace I've ever been!".
By living an open life, Sid wants to "try and help as many people as I can".
"And show people that they aren't alone in whatever it is they are going through. I felt the best way to do that was to talk about my own struggles in an open and transparent manner. I said from the beginning that if I could help or inspire even just one other person, then it would be a success. From the messages I've been receiving since 'conSIDer This' launched, it appears that the videos have been able to help a lot more than just one person, so the risk has definitely paid off," he said.