As a young girl in Bangalore, Gayathri was surrounded by the fragrance of jasmine and flickering oil lamps, her family protected by Hindu gods and goddesses. But as she grew older, demons came forth from the dark corners of her idyllic kingdom--with the scariest creatures lurking within her.The daughter of a respected Brahmin family, Gayathri began to feel different. "I can hardly eat, sleep, or think straight. The only thing I can do is cry unending tears." Her parents insisted it was all in her head. Because traditional Indian culture had no concept of depression as an illness, no doctor could diagnose and no medicine could heal her mysterious malady.This memoir traces Gayathri's courageous battle with the depression that consumed her from adolescence through marriage and a move to the United States. It was only after the birth of her first child, when her husband discovered her in the backyard "clawing the earth furiously with my bare hands, intent on digging a grave so that I could bury myself alive," that she finally found help. After a stay in a psych ward she eventually found "the light within," an emotional and spiritual awakening from the darkness of her tortured mind.Gayathri's inspiring story provides a first-of-its-kind cross-cultural view of mental illness--how it is regarded in India and in America, and how she drew on both her rich Hindu heritage and Western medicine to find healing.
- ISBN-13: 9781616494759
- ISBN-10: 1616494751
- Publisher: Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services
- Publish Date: March 2014
- Page Count: 269
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-02-17
- Reviewer: Staff
From the president of the mental illness activism group ASHA International comes this memoir of struggling with depression and the disease’s stigma. When her first bout of depression strikes as a teenager in Bangalore, Ramprasad’s strict father tells her to “buck up” when doctors can’t diagnose her frequent vomiting and crying spells. Her devout Hindu mother tells her to pray harder to evade the evil eye. Because mental health treatment is so rare in India, for years Ramprasad doesn’t even know what her disease is called. The diagnosis—given by an Indian psychiatrist—comes abruptly, but naming the problem is not a magical cure. Even when Ramprasad moves to America and begins to see Western doctors, she continues to suffer intense anxiety and suicidal ideation, often brought on by the very medications prescribed to cure her. Though the book would have benefitted from more analysis to balance the immersive experience of reading about the author’s experiences, Ramprasad admirably offers an honest depiction of depression as an ongoing struggle. She reminds readers that not all cultures deal with mental illness in the same way, and her hard-won triumph makes it easy for readers to support her crusade of hope. Agent: Susan Lee Cohen, Riverside Literary Agency. (Mar.)