The World Health Organisation announced in March this year (2022) that the Covid 19 pandemic had caused a 25% rise in anxiety and depression worldwide. Quite startling isn’t it? Most of the population affected by the pandemic, especially women and children, reported mental health issues more prominently during the pandemic. Enabling more conversations and awareness around it. However, does that mean mental health issues didn’t exist before? That’s not true, it was considered as a taboo, many didn’t speak about it, feared to be judged and those who did were disbelieved. It has never been given the attention it deserves and has been ignored by many as a non-issue. In the book ‘Chemical Khichdi’ Aparna details her life’s journey and struggle with bipolar disorder and how she managed to lead a successful and happy life despite it. She calls it a memoir as well as a self-help guide.
What does the book cover?
The book is divided in three parts: Part 1- The Condition, Part 2 -The Seven Therapies and Part 3 – Conclusion. Through her story, personal experiences, poems, and journal extracts, Aparna conveys to her readers the importance of understanding mental health issues in this book. She encourages people to discuss their mental health difficulties wherever they feel most at ease, including at work or at home. The goal is to ask for support. In order to help her readers, deal with problems and be more honest with themselves, Aparna has outlined “seven therapies.” The therapies may conflict, but they can be used together, and each one is just as effective as the others.
Sharing some interesting quotes from the book:
- Living with vulnerability is about accepting the difference between personality and illness and learning to love both: My personality is reflected in how I respond to my illness, not by my illness itself. – be kind to yourself and each other
- Mental health Is a team sport – Medicines are never enough, have allies to heal your mind.
- A post covid realisation: mental health can be managed remotely – and globally – Stay connected with your loved ones be responsive. Like earlier times you don’t have to visit your psychiatrist physically but can connect virtually.
- Discovering the meaning of success, happiness and fulfilment – professional success need not be the benchmark. Balancing work, achieving success and being a homemaker or time with family is equally important – give importance to your personal happiness.
- The importance of having conversations with yourself – spend time with yourself to reflect on your thoughts or emotions
What’s in it for me?
The book is an eye opener for me. I was particularly moved by Aparna’s experience, and I concur with the author that it is important to normalise conversations about mental health. Asking for assistance and presenting yourself to the outside world as you are, is perfectly acceptable. I feel inspired after reading this book.
I highly recommend that you read this book. Sharing your story with the world requires a lot of courage. The story is so candid and insightful -the path from self-realisation to self-acceptance. There is no purpose in observing “Mental Health Day” unless you continue to talk about it. On a frequent basis, raise awareness of the issue. Watch and listen to those around you; they could need your assistance.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.