Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 19 of Feminist Joys: Sharing Stories of Mental Illness

Depression of course, is as near the opposite of joy as you can get. But it is heartening to see a woman in India, even if she is a privileged celebrity, share her story of depression. Thank you, Ms Padukone, and I hope you continue to use your platform well.

I suspect I have had depression several times in my life; most notably, for a year or more after my dad died, and recently, after Markitty failed and we moved to Mumbai to make a clean start. I didn't know that it was depression, and I never got diagnosed or treated. I wonder how many others face this, or something similar, and don't realize that help might be available.

The only reason I know anything at all about depression and other forms of mental illness is because of my obsessive reading of advice columns and blogs. There isn't nearly enough conversation about this, either in our lives, or in mainstream media. And the portrayal of such illness in mainstream media is often distorted; it is presented as something scary to others, rather than to the person who has the illness.

So it's a relief, if not a joy, to come across sympathetic, realistic portrayals of such matters. Some such mental places I have found recently include Tamara Pierce's Will of the Empress, which I just read today; Jerry Pinto's amazing Em and the Big Hoom, Gloria Steinem's Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, which I am also reading and has a moving account of her mentally ill mother. And there's this, on the Ladies Finger (which you should be checking out if you haven't already).

Anything else that you've found that I should read/watch? Or have a story of yours to share? Would love to hear from you.

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