My name is Gayathri Ramprasad. I’m the author of the upcoming memoir from Hazelden Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within.
Julie and I have been friends and mental health colleagues for almost ten years. It’s exciting to finally announce that the book we originally discussed in a restaurant booth when we were both starting our mental health advocacy work is finally a reality. The book comes out in March, but Julie wanted me to introduce myself to everyone before we talk more about the release.
I was born and raised in Bangalore, India, amidst ancient traditions, and a large, loving extended family of twenty-three – grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. My happy childhood, however, gave way to a traumatic adolescence. By the time I was 18, I was debilitated by generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. At 23, as a young mother in America, I struggled to free myself from the death-hold of depression.
On April 30, 1989, confined in the seclusion room in a psychiatric ward in America, stripped of freedom, dignity, hope and humanity, I promised to emerge a messenger of hope and healing. For every indignity that I had suffered in shame and silence, I promised to fight to restore my dignity and the dignity of others like me around the world. And for every moment that my family and I had lived in despair, I promised to bring hope to the lives of others like us.
I dreamed of having a life where I could be a loving mother and wife as well as someone who could honestly tell her story. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I knew I would do everything I could to help others who went through and are going through what I experienced. I started a nonprofit called ASHA International- Julie is on the board! We promote cultural competence and mental health awareness. Writing the memoir took many years. I’m glad I kept going and I hope I can encourage you if today is a tough day or if you care about someone who is having a hard time. We can get better. I still deal with my depression and anxiety, but I now have tools to keep it managed. I talk about all of this in the book.
Helping others has helped me heal and become whole again.
ASHA literally means HOPE both in Sanskrit, one of the world’s most ancient languages which originated in India, and Hindi, India’s national language. In English, ASHA is an acronym for A Source of Hope for All touched by mental illness. I look forward to telling you more about Shadows in the Sun. Check back for more information in the next few weeks!
Wishing you wellness,
Click here to watch a video trailer about the book.
Click here to read more about ASHA International.
Click here to read more about Shadows in the Sun on Facebook!
A note from Julie: I’m so excited that this book will finally be available to the world! It’s the first memoir ever written by a woman from India that directly addresses mental health. Amazing!