Mental Health

Experience and review by a mother

I’d like to share a mother’s Experience and review of my book ‘Fallen, Standing…’  < (click) which is on my website.

You must be wondering why I have a website and a blog and an art blog. Well it’s easy. We already know I do a million things and engage in several creative forms as tools for expression and advocacy. My alter egos surely have their own worlds.

My website is a one stop to find out about the books and publications I am featured in + my art exhibition + the movie + my shop + services.

My blog (this one) is where I write (blog) of course on my daily journeys, mental health issues, politics, drama, love, my work experience at school, and my mime.

My art blog: has a collection of my art work over the years for those who aren’t interested in the other stuff I do. This works for those who aren’t on other social media platforms as it’s pretty difficult to keep going back to an older Facebook post to locate an art work.

But all of it gets reblogged and shared over here on during different times (if not immediately).



Has society made boys emotionally disabled?

What work do you do in school?someone asked.
In short I work with the heart. It’s all about the heart, I said.

In one of our TRD club sessions in school everyone (including the adults) said that ‘We come to school to look for love that we don’t get at home’.

In another TRD club session a student asked our previous intern What is The Red Door? to which the reply was…’The Red Door is you. You become the change, the helper, a better human being and you reach out to others’.

The girls from school initiated their own peer support meetings every Thursdays during lunch. The boys having heard of what the girls were upto showed interest in starting their own but are facing their own battles of maintaining it. Expressing their emotions is one uphill task since it is rooted in the lives of boys and men that they shouldn’t and that soon becomes an inability for them. It becomes their disability which to me is the starting point towards the creation of anger and violence.

Yesterday, one kid tells me ‘Didi, I need to cry. How do I cry?’ and began narrating how the only expressions he knows is of hitting, punching, breaking, throwing, fighting. I left him with a story to think of and ended with ‘We know how to make people laugh, which is great. But we don’t need to make them laugh, if we don’t make them cry. Everyone knows how to make another person cry but they don’t know how to help another person cry. There’s a difference’.

Then another kid allowed tears to fall when I hugged him and said ‘It’s okay. I’m also crying with you’. 5 minutes later he said ‘This is good my anger reduced’. After sitting on the stairs with him and a few friends of his I told them about love, attention, needs, care and compassion.

I am amazed but not surprised that kids are losing this ability to ask for love, to ask for care, to ask for hugs, to ask for attention through what was once a natural process for them. They are asking for all of this but through violence because the adults in the world don’t offer any role modelling and are equally trapped in their own ridiculous choices.

I’m curious to know about others. How many of you can ask for love? for a hug? be open and ask for attention? OR do you choose to hurt another person in disguise of this. Because the latter is dangerous and cannot be an excuse since it is a conscious choice.


Are you a fan or a label?

Someone who read my book tweeted this to me and it made sense of my entire week!


I always consider having friends something more important to me than anything else since I’ve mostly lost mine or relied on imaginary ones. Off late I’ve also met women who’ve become part of this love tribe…you know the whole new age stuff on women (and men!) having their own tribe thing.

I remember an interviewer asking me how many Likes, Follows and Fans I have. I said “If I was Deepika Padukone, maybe I’d like to focus on those numbers but I am not.”

To me having Fans are like having Labels and all of you know how much I don’t like the latter.

Labels are meant to be on clothes & Fans are meant to be on ceilings to keep you cool. If you can’t be cool without one then it suggest otherwise, no? Well that’s my thing and I kinda like my thing because I have made an interesting friend just over 2 meetings and told her ‘You’re like the friend I’ve always wanted. Not to say I don’t have other friends but this is something else’ – and she agreed!

When I first began working at school, the teacher had this fan like impression too after having read my book and got to know about my story. Today she is my biggest listener and co-worker as we sync so beautifully with her skills in education and mine in mental health.

If I saw others as fans I would also see them as labels which would mean I would see myself as a label…thereby only limiting my own existence and possibilities of being on this already estranged planet. Isn’t there enough hate, prejudice, war, jealousy, envy, greed, fights, disrespect, control and bitterness existing? Imagine having to walk all of that alone – which many are doing. We can flush these all away when we choose to be open and surrender to the greatest being called Nature. In her, through her, with her, by her, she will present herself through others. We can choose to see Her and walk together or we can choose to remain in our illusions of metaphors, control and ownership.

I wish people saw each other as people, as humans, as beings, as individuals – in their own Gods and Goddesses avatars yet aware of the human limitations and frailties of our hearts. No one is an object, thing and goal. Sure enough I’ve also had to deal with letting go of those who don’t understand such relationships and it’s part of the same journey. But if we keep ourselves open – the most beautiful heaven like connections will be made to nurture our spiritual evolution. We begin syncing at all levels…living each other’s life through different realms and bodies. Now who wouldn’t want that?


The beauty of life is love and it is not something that grows when in control. In control, it will begin to suffocate causing a network of disrespectful people coming your way. Lose that need to control and love will bring in a network of colourful beings walking the same path to uplift each other together. We are all warriors…we are either spiritual warriors, peaceful warriors or lover warriors – all of which are the same thing.

Have a happy week ahead y’all! Lots of peace and colour. – ©Reshma Valliappan 2017

love · Mental Health

Friends to celebrate!

In 2013, I wrote an article ‘On being normal‘ which was the same piece that got the attention of my publisher Ritu Menon of Women Unlimited/Kali for Women.

This article like many of my other articles, statements and talks speak of a ‘friend’.

On 1st October 2016, (after 12 years) the same friend I mention in this article spotted me on Facebook & sent me a message: “Resh, old friend, is that you? It is you! Oh, I’d know that face anywhere. I’ve missed you.”

The minute I heard from her I had to respond! I was boarding my train to Dehradun for work with Project Burans. So my first post for 2017 is going to start with the celebration of a real friend *drum roll please…… Neha Srivastava who thought she wasn’t there for me or didn’t do enough, but she didn’t know that I wrote an article keeping her in mind.

There are many different kinds of people in the world and kinds of friends in different realms. I’ve had the bargain of both imaginary and real. Maybe the real ones aren’t closer physically, we don’t meet ever, we don’t hang out, we don’t speak but they have impressions that last a lifetime. And I rather have these kinds!

Neha, I have not taken your ‘consent’ to tag you in my public post and blog. However I feel the world needs to know that people like you do exist – so that the message continues. Nevertheless, I can remove your name if you do not wish to be known. Until then I am going to be brat and go ahead with this. 🙂



My last post for 2016!

2016 has been a very intense year for me. This is likely my first New Year eve post to welcome the 37th year of my ‘alien’ life in this human vessel. There’s been many learnings that I’d like to share with you as I don’t have much human interactions and relationships to begin with on a daily basis (which I am happy about in being the recluse that I am)
So here’s my list that I am grateful for:
1. 3 rejected grants for funding The Red Door™ but 3 other YES’s that offered no money & only investment from my own pocket. I couldn’t say yes to these as I had no funds, but I understood who were the ones who truly believed and understood the work done.
I learnt: Stay true to my inner belief and first plans on being self-sustainable. Money comes in for good work and causes and will come in as just ‘enough’ in order to remind us about humility. In doing so, those on the same purpose will stay. Don’t chase. There will be talkers, doers, movers & walkers. Each are necessary.
I also got a lot of practice in filling up forms and I can now say I know how to do it well! 
2. 2 personal artist rejection program but my first ever art exhibition that I managed to let the world into another level of schizophrenia and spirituality. Some of the most important conferences in the world such as INTAR (alternatives & holistic approaches in Mental Health), AWID Forum (the largest feminist forum with 1800 participants), DADAFEST UK-India with The Red Door as a handshake, other talks and workshops I was at embraced the same concepts…creativity=spirituality=I’m on the right track!
I learnt: I might want something else but the universe has other plans where all my skills are utilized together and not as separate avatars.
3. Sequel of my memoir postponed to 2017 but one published paper. My parents have not read my book entirely, and it’s okay. Readers and visitors to my book launch or art exhibition have asked ‘Where are your parents? How are they? How did you write such horrible things about them? At first I felt the unfairness in my life presenting itself as I had written in my memoir ‘Fallen, Standing…’ about my parents not being there for me at many levels & about society’s lies and hypocrisy.
Here it was my first book launch or my first exhibition and they weren’t there. But when I took the mic at many occasions I did wish my parents were there, however the show had to go on without them.
I learnt: To pause & to let go of projected expectations suddenly thrown at me & to trust my knowing that I always had their blessings & presence through other ‘mothers & fathers’. Some people don’t have parents! My father messaged once when I ranted about the feedback I got: SHE will always take care of you. We’re only your earthly parents. Don’t bother about what others say of you or your book. We know what it is. Dealing with such comments is not something new for you or us.
4. Multiple broken relationships and strained ‘friends’ but there’s nothing to be heartbroken about. I had written and spoken in my interviews about schizophrenia being ‘not being loved’ ‘being disrespected at many levels’ and ‘having one’s heart broken a million times over and over again’. My healing was just the same this year. I learnt that even that was an expectation and no one has the power to necessarily break anyone’s heart. It is the shit we believe in.
I learnt: There is no hate, no need for revenge, bitterness, guilt or forgiveness. Those who hurt have allowed me to grow and evolve further. They owe me no apology and I owe them no forgiveness. There is no ‘owing’ but only letting go in order to move towards one’s higher purpose.
5. The fragility of life and relationships; to never wait for adversity to show us how important and valuable relationships are. We can choose our friends & lovers but they’ll all evaporate, however true relationships have no choosing and we can’t choose our parents or siblings either.
Mom got burnt in a gas explosion on the morning of her birthday in June. After having recovered from breast cancer this accident purged all of her confidence and positivity in life. None of us have ever seen mom so low in life and given up. Her body image has been her biggest source of confidence. The very reason dad fell in love with her. Her accident was followed by my father developing another heart blockage as a response to his trauma of seeing my mom in flames. Dad already had an angina in 2001 and a bypass in 2008 with diabetes and high BP.
I had to think hard about my own health decisions after a new skull bone growth I developed around my birthday earlier in the year. I’ve sworn to never go down the old road of health care even if I lose myself in the process of finding my way out.
My brother had a similar burnt accident in 2010, followed by my brain tumour 6 months later. We received a lot of unnecessary comments in 2016 as a family from individuals who’ve not experienced any of this, but it brought us closer as a family despite us living in 4 different countries. Distance did bring us closer.
I learnt: When we can truly accept that death is the only certainty it is when we truly begin our healing & life changes incredibly for the best.
Not to forget: I can now tie a perfect tie and button myself up without taking too much time as before. 😀
HAPPY 2017 to everyone & thank you all for reading this.
Lots of lov, peace and colour to you – Resh