Americans have become immune to the terms, drugs, and behaviors associated with depression even as its reputation has grown as a debilitating and sometimes fatal mental illness. But in India and elsewhere the stigma associated with this condition is cultural and runs deep. In a sweeping narrative that spans the globe from Bangalore to Portland, Oregon, Gayathri Ramprasad shares her harrowing journey through depression to recovery in SHADOWS IN THE SUN: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within.
Gayathri Ramprasad was a blossoming, young Indian girl being raised by a loving family steeped in tradition. But as she grew into an adolescent, she found it more and more difficult to cope with the routine ups and downs of life. The “tipping point” came after Ramprasad failed a class at college and became inconsolable. Unlike a reasonably healthy person, who might be upset at first but come to a place of acceptance and a rational state of mind, Gayathri could not stop herself from obsessing over her failure and what this would mean to her future and her family.
Gayathri’s arranged marriage, moving to America, and the birth of her first child all led to suicidal ideation and attempts, along with varying degrees of fear and chaos for her growing family. At her lowest point, she was found digging a grave for herself in her backyard with her bare hands, mumbling unintelligibly, with her young daughter sitting in the house alone. Over time, she learned how to respect her illness without letting it dominate her existence. She also realized she wasn’t alone. Having grown up in a family and culture that initially thought her illness was a curse, was surprised to learn that her father, brother, and sister all struggled with mental illness. Today Gayathri Ramprasad is president of ASHA International, a nonprofit organization she founded, whose mission is her calling—to promote personal, organizational, and community wellness around the world. SHADOWS IN THE SUN illustrates how troubled a person can become and how wonderful it is when she can walk out of the darkness and into the light of recovery.
This review is part of Gayathri Ramprasad’s book tour with TLC Book Tours. Find out more about the tour and all the stops here.
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