This memoir by Shaheen Bhatt focusses on mental health issues through her personal experiences. The best part of her work was her honesty, her self-awareness and raw description of her journey with depression. The memoir has several pages straight out of her diaries and I think that’s what made it even more personal.
This is probably the first book where I’ve read bout a real person’s mental health at this level of detail, and it has opened by eye to mental health concerns that never crossed my mind. There’s still so much that we’ve got to learn bout mental health and the more the people come up and share their stories, the more awareness is spread.
This topic isn’t just something you can study about, or you can just read about from a Wikipedia page, it’s something you learn about through your own or someone else’s personal experiences; and that is all that Shaheen Bhatt has shared in her memoir.
Miss Bhatt gives many insights on this issue, how pain and mental illness could be two different things. She emphasizes on how depression can’t be described in a single word, not even a few sentences, how someone could experience depression for years straight without themselves or those around them knowing.
She acknowledges her privilege, agrees that she had a comfortable life/upbringing, but that does not exempt her from facing chronic depression.
I’ve personally seen that in many families, and even when you’re just ranting to your friends sometimes, you quite often get served with the saying “You don’t know how fortunate you are” or “You know there are so many people who have it worse than you” or “well, at least you’ve got a roof over your head”. If you really think about it, that’s not a healthy approach to deal with someone who is in a negative space.
Yes, you should be grateful for everything you have, that is a great practice. At the same time you’re allowed to be upset about a particular situation, you’re allowed to speak up about it, you’re allowed to seek help.
And the next time someone comes up to you with a problem, remember that no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to put yourself in their shoes, so let’s cut out the judgement – that’s soooo 20th century. Hear them out, ask how you can be of help, and if you can’t, direct them to the right resources. We’re all in this together.
So overall, this book doesn’t give you the answer to how to deal with depression, but it plainly, bluntly, boldly states that it’s okay to go through depression, that you’re not alone in this. And to quote Albus Dumbledore (I think Shaheen is a Potterhead ’cause there was one page scanned off her Hogwarts diary): Help will always be given at Hogwarts (or the real world), to those who ask for it.
Happy reading. 🙂