I am not sure whether I believe in God, in many gods, in one lifetime, in many lifetimes, in a divine Universe, in fate, or just in plain old coincidence. The answers to these questions don’t plague me the way they do many others; they simply exist on a plane which I trust will become as clear as it needs to become to me, when it needs to become so, throughout this lifetime.
What I do know is that for whatever reason, Mother India has woven her mysteries into my life from forever. My very first friend was an immigrant to Canada from Punjabi India, and some of my first memories involve eating hot chappatis dipped in spicy pickles on the floor of her red-carpeted living room. The love I have for chappatis has never waned, and I still turn to the warmed bread dripping with ghee when life leaves me decidedly underwhelmed. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that my eternal commitment to India was kneaded into bread.
If I am honest, and I feel that I must be, I am a bit disappointed to find myself once again writing about depression. When I decided to write a blog, I had planned specifically to avoid the topic entirely, partly because it felt a bit too much like work, and partly because I did not want to open myself up too deeply to the world. Writing about travel and yoga offered me the opportunity to present to the world a woman who was free, fun, funny, and adventurous. This seemed ideal. Writing about my experiences of mental illness threatened to reveal to the world the scarred person I try to run away from, and to open me up to a maelstrom of criticism about being self-indulgent, imperfect, and lazy. This didn’t seem as wise.
As usual, the universe had other plans for me, and my anger compelled me to to respond to some of the hateful comments about depression which surfaced in light of the German Wings tragedy a few months back. I feel equally compelled to write about depression again, in response to comments I have heard repeated more and more often recently, both to and about people who are suffering.
Three lines of thinking seem to form the foundation of antipathy towards people who are sick with depression, and I will respond to each in turn.
When I was younger and looking ahead to my adult life, the one constant I envisaged was travel. I fantasized about becoming independently wealthy (or dependently wealthy, I wasn’t particularly fussed) and travelling from country to country, graciously learning about different cultures and becoming a wandering woman of the world.
Barring unlimited wealth which would enable me to jump freely across continents, I was willing to settle for an international job which would send me throughout the world multiple times per year, as long as I could remain predominantly a free agent and have every weekend and evening to myself.
I had planned today to blog about something more high brow than Spanish Flan, but unfortunately, my tonsils are swollen and I have a small fever, so my thoughts on anything more meaningful than a classic Spanish pudding are decidedly scrambled.
Kind of like the Flan that Went Wrong. Continue reading
It saddens me to acknowledge that I am hesitant to post this blog. Whilst I generally feel strong enough to be honest about the more difficult parts of my life, the most vulnerable part of me worries that admitting to mental illness will somehow discredit me as a human being, though it is hard to articulate how or why.
Yet, in the wake of the Germanwings tragedy, I feel compelled to write about my own experience with mental illness as honestly as I can. I hope that in so doing, I will foster some understanding in those who are lucky never to have suffered themselves, and strength in those who have.
I am told that before I ever learned how to speak, I would shout random sounds at strangers from my push chair until they came over to interact with me. My mother believes that this behaviour set the stage for a lifetime in which I would thrive on being the center of attention, or be a social butterfly of sorts. I disagree. I believe that this behaviour set the stage for a lifetime in which I would explore and interact meaningfully with the world around me, and have a voice that would make a small impact on the people I met. Perhaps I am assigning ideas somewhat too grandiose for a child in a push chair, but it’s heartening to think that even then I wanted more than nappies and dry cheerios.