Mental Health · schizophrenia

On Radical Acceptance (& Not Fixing Your Kid)

Over 10 years in advocacy work especially in schizophrenia I’ve constantly mentioned to other caregivers and practitioners that fixing kids are not the solution. My voice is still getting heard in that department. It’s obvious because I am no caregiver here in context to having schizophrenia myself. This removes the other caregiver roles I do play.

But it’s likely not my battle to tell other parents to stop fixing us because what we say goes across as a defense or an act of rebelling only too often. It takes another caregiver to say it to other caregivers. I really hope they listen this time because there are so many kids around the world getting fixed for no reasons. So many adults who have lost their childhood, youth and adulthood to having been fixed. Where even their recovery is one of being fixed. Their living is one of being fixed.

People need to given space to be just the way they are. The motto we use in The Red Door is JUST BE & LET BE. And quite contrary it isn’t something radical one has to do. It’s quite a natural part of being an Indian which many of us have lost. The cultural balance and imbalances are so unique yet not so.

Where what is radical for one culture is something the other has taken for granted. Just being in itself has its roots to the way of Buddhism or Zen or Taoism. I am only giving these references and not trying to sell a religion. The way we believe and think does influence everything about us and our surroundings including cleansing our dna and cells from unnecessary thoughts as pointed out in the law of expressed emotion.

BE and LEt BE 🙂

Star In Her Eye

There’s a small town in Belgium named Geel (pronounced hale with a throaty, Germanic H). By 1930, a quarter of its residents were mentally ill. If you know about Geel, you know this was not because something lurked in the water or food supply. It was because for 700 years families in Geel accepted mentally ill patients, or “boarders,” to live with them in their own homes. The town got a nickname: “Paradise for the Insane.”

I’ve never been to Geel, but I recently heard about it on NPR’s Invisibilia podcast. In the episode, reporter Lulu Miller interviews Ellen Baxter, a researcher who earned a grant to live in Geel for a year. Prior to this trip, Baxter had faked her way into a mental institution, wanting to find out about the therapeutic practices used. She saw virtually none. What she did see: people watching television, looking out the…

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Mental Health · recovery · Sexuality

What can life teach you?

Here’s my Tedx Talk at Christ University, Bangalore that was in February 2016.

You will have to bear with the breathing you can hear and sudden digressions that I made (which does happen in normal conversations) but this was caused by a boiling fever I had that very day. I was almost not going to give the talk as others were more worried about how hot my head and body got. Hence, the heavy breathing, pauses and in between sniffs happened on stage as I had to find clarity in what I needed to deliver.

But shit sells anyway 🙂 all puns included!

Mental Health · schizophrenia · Uncategorized

Handwritten book review in a letter

It is such a joy to open a hand written letter sent across from Indonesia after having my book tour and talk on Mental Health in February. What makes it even more special is that it comes from a woman older than my mother who has lived through many paths and experiences in life and is a painter herself. I thank such women for simply existing.

Like many feedback I have received before, I am not surprised to the confusion some readers have about the book. To me, that is the experience of schizophrenia in relation to the world around. To me, it is not necessary that we have to know exactly what makes schizophrenia what it is. I often wonder how I could have written my book any other way. Must I really write it in such a way that every person who reads it will get the perfect idea of what schizophrenia is?

But maybe that truly is the nature of what schizophrenia is. It is not for you or anyone to GET. Life is uncertain and there is beauty in the uncertainty of language and what we can’t give words to because it forces us to change our perception and understanding of things. It forces us to cultivate a different way of human connection. We cannot limit our understanding of life based on verbal or written language. And schizophrenia is forcing us to go beyond this.

I guess I wouldn’t write my book in any other way because it will imbibe the very emotions necessary to understanding schizophrenia…which is: making meaning and sense out of chaos and confusion.

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The letter reads:

Dear Reshma,

I’m not as good with words as you are. My story is simple and lacks the struggle you had to deal with. Trauma came your way and you are dealing with that in a way I can only admire. To me the book was confusing and an eye opener.

Very rarely people are able to get an insight in schizophrenia. You live in a world of constant impulses, which you try to silence through work of art (writing and painting).

At…I met a woman who managed to create space for herself through hard work. Somebody with the capacity to live with difficulties in an honest way. True to herself. Your speech that day created an atmosphere of togetherness. That is how I felt anyway. You have something to give and you mentioning acceptance will always be in my mind. In the hope I will be able to act accordingly when necessary.

Conclusion: The book is an unique insight into the turmoil and social challenges of people with schizophrenia, something which could happen to anyone. Not an easy read, but the symptoms are well written, including the perception of the medical system and how treatment really affects a person. Most people have little idea of how bad drug side-effects can be and the book is therefore a real challenge to medical establishments. Determination, tenacity and resilience illustrates a strong character with strong feminist and social justice views, giving a voice to many people without a voice.

All the best…

Art · Mental Health

Redefining life – Uncovering Madness

Lexicon_1A short article published in an online magazine called Lexicon. The artwork on their front page is The Stranger. A 30″ X 30″ Oil on Canvas I painted in 2012.

http://lexiconin.com/latest-edition/arborvitae/redefining-life-uncovering-madness/