Happier days: Elza (right) posing for a photograph with her late mother and sister Inessa Irdayanty on Hari Raya in 2012, the year she sought help to overcome her depression.
PETALING JAYA: When Elza Irdalynna Khairil Anwar’s mother, the late veteran actress Azean Irdawaty, was battling cancer, it seemed selfish for her to admit that she was fighting her own demons.
Elza, who also became an actress, refused to believe she was depressed until an anxiety attack left her feeling hollow and scared.
“It started around 2002 but I wasn’t aware that it was depression then. I thought it was just a part of the teenage phase. The feeling of bleakness and emptiness became more obvious when I was 23,” she said in a recent interview with The Star.
The 27-year-old said she thought about suicide when she was 15.
“I thought suicide and depression were not co-related.
“I thought I was just an angry teenager.”
The actress wrote about her experience in her blog, discussing life’s challenges and matters like deaths, illnesses, injustice and separation, contributing to her depression.
In addition to her mother’s cancer, her brother Khaeryll Benjamin Ibrahim, better known as Benjy, was embroiled in drug cases and faced prosecution in court.
“I was already depressed and his cases did not help my situation,” she said.
Elza could relate her battles with depression to that of Hollywood actor Robin Williams who committed suicide on Aug 11.
The popular comedian reportedly sought treatment for depression weeks before his death.