SHADOWS IN THE SUN: Healing From Depression and Finding the Light Within ~Gayathri Ramprasad
SHADOWS IN THE SUN is a memoir about depression and the stigmas of mental illness in a bi- cultural setting. It is a book from the HAZELDEN Publishers, “a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949, helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. Through published works, Hazelden extends the reach of hope, encouragement, help and support to individuals, families, and communities affected by addiction and related issues.”
Gayathri (guy – a – three) Ramprasad is a very intelligent woman, who has chosen to be open and candid about her healing from the depths of depression and attempts at suicide journey with the writing of this book. She is currently an Advocate for Mental Health diseases in the USA, India, and internationally. Ramprasad’s words invite the reader into the lovely family traditions and celebrations of her roots in India. She shares with us the dynamic worldviews of her father, who wants to live in the USA and the religious, spiritual depths of her mother’s traditional views. They are a careful middle class family, who value education and success. Ramprasad has 2 siblings who share her world; as a family they are quite open to new ideas, mini-skirts, Western concepts and lessons in English. When her grandfather dies, her family moves out of the family compound and begins a new life venture, which will hopefully align them with a life in the United States. Ramprasad’s culture is not open to Mental Illness and it is a shame which can ruin a family and their status within the community.
The first signs of Depression begin to appear when Gayathri has failed a pre-university class and she is devastated by the doors that will close to her and the shame she brings upon her family. She had wanted to be a doctor and find more love and approval from her parents with such an honorable choice. That opportunity was now closed to her and her response involved a great sadness, downward spiraling thinking, and vomiting. As it turned out, that failure was not the case and a trick had been played; still the stage was set.
SHADOWS IN THE SUN describes the author’s arranged marriage and her move to Oregon, where her new, handsome husband is very successful in the computer world. Gayathri does very well in her new life in a lovely apartment with a good kitchen for all her cooking wants and needs. After the birth of her daughter, she experiences a severe post-partum depression which in turn introduces her to Western ideas about Mental Illness and she, with great effort, benefits from her experiences and is able to cope and move forward with her life, until a second pregnancy brings her fully downward into a place of attempting suicide. Although she learns a great deal from this experience and her recovery from several episodes of severe problems (particularly when she returns to India to visit her family) she begins to piece together a holistic approach which combines her roots and traditions with her own independence and resolve; she arrives at a place where for three weeks of the month she can have a “normal” life.
Gayathri Ramprasad has received another degree to add to her credentials and a number of awards for her work in Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy, for her public speaking efforts. She is a recipient of the prestigious Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement. She makes her home in Portland, Oregon and her words give hope to the millions of people who suffer from Mental Diseases.
“It is said in the Upanishads, the ancient Hindu Scriptures, ’You are what your deepest desire is. As you desire, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.’”
I received a copy of this book from TLC online book tours for review and it was a privilege to read this memoir and have the opportunity to share it with my readers. I am quite sure that nearly everyone I know or who reads this blog knows someone who might benefit from – SHADOWS IN THE SUN.