Mental Health

Life musings again…for World Mental Health month part 2

It’s closing in to midnight & I’ve had back to back sleepless nights and days which has not only physically exhausted my body but has not made emotional exhaustion easier. Normally if one is in good shape the other can continue for a while on it’s own but that hasn’t been possible for me as both shoulders have become heavier. As always the higher one climbs the thinner the air and judgements from those who can’t breathe at the same plane will always continue to exist.

Of course now I don’t have to worry about those who’ve ‘converted’ by their constant interactions with me offline and online. But those who have not still requires me to climb down the ladder…actually the entire mountain all over again and revisit views and stereotypes that I thought I could handle. But the truth is far from what I thought. It doesn’t get easier or lesser by the day. It still hurts even if one might say ‘I don’t really care because I can’t afford to’. It does touch a spot when it is obvious that the other questions your ability as a person…your capacity to be normal with your schizophrenia and it doesn’t matter how well you’ve worked your way up to prove it to the world there are these moments that will remind you about the ugly truth your label will continue bringing you. Just one label is enough to put a black cloud over you and all of a sudden everything that you stand ‘awesome’ for, the stuff the world has applauded you for, or the inspiration you’ve indirectly managed to bring can gets cosmically twisted…making you question the notions of karmic bullshit and life purpose.

Making you question what really is there for this world. Perhaps they do not deserve the crazy ones like us then. Perhaps there is something we inherently know and in the attempt of share it with the rest, it puts us in a lot of dilemma and mindfulness fucking that it gives the very essence of spirituality a run for its patriarchal nonsense (which of course only a few will recognize) since mystics themselves seem to think that they are swimming in better waters than the psychotic. Somehow everyone speaks of balance but doesn’t see that the so called ‘psychotic’ could likely be balancing the mystic out because there are waters the claimed mystics would never survive in because they’ve never have to swim in it.

To me a mystic will only remain a mystic and that will be their only reality where as the so called psychotic has the perfect opportunity of choosing to remain one for the sake of amusement or choosing to move towards being a mystic with yet an opportunity to resume to their earlier identity. Now this sounds like a pretty good deal eh? (not leaving aside the fact that we’re good at carving even newer identities with foolproof plans that save us from normalcy)

SO finally after 7 years of advocacy work in Mental Health (through The Red Door & not counting years before) I’ve realized that financially stability will not come through charity models, nor do I wish to be taken as charity. Not at least when living with the grandfather of labels in mental illness. I’ve always wanted to prove a point in everything I choose to pursue and this one is going to be the next step.
In fact, people don’t want to donate or support a cause as I don’t look schizophrenic and I do not appear to be in ‘suffering’. This forced me to see life differently with many rejections that came along.
My Ashoka India Fellowship stipend ended this year which means I will have to think/work hard on figuring out my bank balances, as I am not going down the road of functioning as an NGO.

After much thought and discussion (which happens every single year) with the co-founders and advisors of The Red Door, we’ve concluded that 7 years of ‘social work’ has paid off through torn pockets and sleepless weeks. The Red Door has actually reached a level where our work has influenced and inspired others (now I can boast) and yet continues to explore more creative themes and realities.

And it’s also time for me to focus on making a living through my artwork which has existed in the background of The Red Door in the last 7 years. I’ve only made one art work all of this year and it’s pretty frustrating creatively and energetically – since it all started with the voices for me.

So here’s a to a new beginning, and yet more sleepless days and nights to another creative enterprise in the making while still continuing The Red Door.

Thank you all for the ever growing support, believe and love! I know I suck at keeping in touch or even blogging at a particular schedule…but I think that’s exactly what schizophrenia is 😉 . It operates on it’s own course.

Here are 9 galleries of my art works which are now updated.
Thank you to a few individuals who helped me save many of my earlier works. And thank you to the rest who kept encouraging me to not give up on my art…or more so indirectly on my voices.

Each one has a story to tell and few will be included in my sequel which is quite a tough thing to put together. For now I can share my whole journey through these images here. 🙂

 

disability · Health · Mental Health · philosophy · schizophrenia · Sexuality · Spirituality

Have we lost our teenager?

My talk from Changing Tomorrow at Chat Jaipur is finally up!

But I am also sharing my facebook post from learnings with the kids at school in K.C.Thackeray Vidya Niketan as it does synchronize with my talk 2 months ago. I’ve learnt a lot about life as a teen and I am relearning it differently again with the kids at school.

Post on 23rd December 2016:

Teacher: I read your previous status and thought about these kids. It’s the same analogy one of them gave me one day, where they learn stuff here and get thrown into the same crap outside of school.

Me: Yes, I thought the exact same but you know one of your same kids has learnt and is practicing. It’s no more just about living in the same messed up society and having it’s crap thrown on us. Your one kid is dealing with the same but he’s making choices everyday to be a good human person. At the end we’re all from the same shitty society but we’ve turned out fine. Some people complain and find excuses and some make choices every day.

Bottom line: There always is a choice. Or there are excuses. And we are that same shitty society. We either contribute positively everyday or we find reasons to blame others and victimise ourselves.

I hope I don’t sound preachy! There are days I must analyse and judge myself 🙂 It is necessary when we strive towards perfection as human beings because perfection is not something attainable in a day since it is a forward moving goal. Therefore, I love to cultivate my life towards reaching it, yet knowing I am never perfect in this human body.

Yet my human body is what teaches me to respect all of its matter…billions of it and be humble in knowing it has its limitations.

Hope you like my talk though. I received the link for it yesterday which was quite a Christmas gift to me as I needed it more. I needed my own lessons and learnings repeated to me by another me.

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! (See my featured image. It’s an old artwork though)

 

creativity · crisis · Mental Health · schizophrenia

Updates, life, Mental Health, School, You…it never ends :)

Okay, so as you all have been following my blog and keeping track I’m constantly stalking time and doing a million things which then leaves me with very little time to read what everyone else is writing and doing – since my eye tends to squint when it needs to adjust to the screen or any light (much like my cats but they don’t squint and naturally adjust to light, since they aren’t victims of technologically advanced gadgets that affect our brains and eyes directly)

Nevertheless, before I share my stuff I would just like to let you all know – that if there is a post of yours that you feel I would enjoy reading and connect PLEASE do tweet it to me so I could read it. I’ve not found a way yet to keep track of so many of my online friends and supporters but until I do – do bear with me. I’ve kinda married to my work and been completely focused on the 60 kids at school.

So here’s one article now published on Youth Ki Awaaz on how Mental Health Care in India needs to change (and around the world actually) cause I hold society as the main support system here. A blurb of it:

My question remains: What are you going to do about this rise of mental health and all of these other strangers in the asylums around the country? They were once someone’s friend, child or parent. Now they have no home and only a place that treats them worse than…( I have no words for it.)

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If you haven’t visited my school blog, please do CLICK HERE  there is much to be updated as always in terms of vlogs, writing, pictures, etc. But I only have 2 hands (still) 😀

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and a little bit of sudden spurts that happen with me:

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(Quote from Alice in Wonderland. Image source here)

Sometimes there should be nothing and no one, she said.
But you’re here.
That’s cause you’re in front of the mirror, she replied.

I fell asleep when she hit the lights.
Now we’re finally together.

‪#‎TheSchizophrenist‬ ©Reshma Valliappan 2016

I hope your weekend is going well! Peace & Colour from me and my imaginary friends.

Art · Shamanism · Spirituality

I got mentioned by someone I admire!

I stumbled across this post yesterday while I had to search for some links of mine to give someone else. It reads ‘The Importance of being Reshma Valliappan‘ (missing a ‘p’ in it)

It caught me by surprised cause I have yet not read The importance of being earnest’.

The writer Mr. Randhir Khare is himself someone I personally and silently admire. [ I don’t need to social media all of those I look up too. I think they just know it ]

And as the universe would have it, I was going to be visiting his gallery Gyaan Adab the same afternoon. When I mentioned the article to him, he just said [ like any other ninja would ]  “I like leaving stuff there and have it be discovered by itself”

So I leave you to read his piece. He is one of the few people who I could say has known me for 10 years now, watched me and work at different times and can keep me engaged with his stories or talk without me getting bored. [which happens most of the time with me if I had to listen to another]

 

crisis · Mental Health · patriarchy

Should we rejoice about the MH Bill?

Here is my piece (first part actually) on my response to the Mental Health Bill 2016 that was passed in India recently:

Should we rejoice?

It was followed by another friend who also gave her response too:

Unshackling the Recent Mental Health Care Bill 2016

and then followed with another here:

Favourable or flawed?

AND THEN followed by why I love kids and advocate for them which I posted on my Facebook page (12th August 2016):

“Every time someone tells me a child needs a Mental Health label or even presents their point of view on why it is okay I am going to share this video to prove my point, and an instance from school to back it up.

Today, one kid whom I’ve not interacted with before asked me who I am and where I’m from:

Me: From a different planet
He: Where is your planet?
Me: Outside of the Milky Way galaxy, you’ll have to check the map.
He: That will take me a lifetime to find didi (didi = older sister).

If he knew I had schizophrenia & all the symptomatic ideas behind it he would have concluded I was talking crazy. But he looked at me as a child does, in curiosity – imagination – acceptance – non judgemental.

And those kids who were somewhat aware of what schizophrenia is – have shared ‘but I also see things in my head, does that mean I have that?

And yesterday;
6 other kids who are part of our Anti-Bullying project was asked what is their purpose behind the project?
They: So that they don’t get depression
Me: What do you think is depression and where does it come from?
One kid jumps: It’s a name we give to their problem when someone troubles them and calls them names. Then they become depressed. Naming is bullying.

I rest my case.