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Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A first-of-its-kind, cross-cultural lens to mental illness through the inspiring story of Gayathri’s thirty-year battle with depression. This literary memoir takes readers from her childhood in India where depression is thought to be a curse to life in America where she eventually finds the light within by drawing on both her rich Hindu heritage and Western medicine to fin ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Hazelden Publishing (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Divya Manoharan
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, where do I even start? I think I must begin by requesting, nay, begging everyone out there to grab a copy and read this book.

One day, you meet someone. And you know that someone is beautiful because you look at them and a split-second later, you look at them again. Something about them has spoken to you. She has the most gentle walk; his smile seems too big to hold his face. Her eyes shine, his nose twitches. She has a duck-walk, his hair does a cute floppy thing. It attracts you
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
A little background on me, because I think sometimes people wonder why certain books resonate more with others. My masters degree in in clinical psychology, and much of my research in both undergrad and grad school centered around cross-cultural education for mental health service providers. So I have an academic (if not professional, since I never got licensed and have never practiced) interest in the topic at hand, but also a personal one. It doesn't come up much here, but I've been fairly ope ...more
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had the good luck to have met Gayathri Ramprasad at a training she did here in Portland a while back. She is an eloquent, engaging speaker and an amazingly bright and industrious person. The work she does for the community is incredible. I had a hard time imagining her ever having suffered from mental illness, much less being completely debilitated by it. After reading the first few chapters of this, I had to put it down. Not because it was poorly written-- it's not, and her descriptions of he ...more
Kristina Brownell
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I almost didn't finish this book. It was dark and depressing for far too long. But every time I thought about delving into a more light hearted read, this found it's way into my hands instead. The last 2 paragraphs made it 100% worth reading. "In a life filled with love and light, from time to time, my moods continue to cast shadows in the Sun. But I no longer curse the shadows, for they have become my greatest teachers. Depression in no longer a demon I dread, but a teacher whose wisdom I seek. ...more
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
As a second generation Indian American woman with depression, I definitely resonated with the way the author described her relatives reacting to her illness/the stigma surrounding it.
I wish she had dug a little deeper and that there wasn't so much exposition about her daily life.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title of this book can be a bit off putting, because it appears to be a self help book. I got a few odd looks when I was reading it. But don’t let that turn you away from it. It’s a fascinating memoir of one woman’s struggle with mental illness and social stigma. I learned a lot from this book about Indian culture, human nature, relationships, and yes, depression. It was very emotionally moving and a good reminder that you can never know what another person is going through. Highly recommend ...more
Dee Renee  Chesnut
This ebook was free when I downloaded it to my Nook library from Barnes and Noble.
It is a creative nonfiction type of memoir because the author must fill in her memories, lost to ECT shock treatment for her depression, with stories told by her family members.
I recommend it to readers who want to understand behaviors of others who need better mental health treatments.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook-books-i-own
Very interesting book on mental illness. The struggle and strain on the person and also their family. Fascinating read on a culture that I know nothing about.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
one of the best books i have ever read
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review was first published to Bookish Ardour.

Gayathri Ramprasad hit a point in her struggle with mental illness where she realised she wanted to be a voice for those living with such debilitating conditions. I’m glad she decided to do so and has done so. Gayathri has the right voice for bridging the gap between ignorance and awareness. Her voice has a wonderful balance of compassionate understanding, perception, empathy, and her cultural upbringing lends her the experience to reach
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to learn about mental illness views and treatments in less developed countries
Here is Ramprasad's Personalized Wellness Action Plan (pretty much looks like any common sense action plan with maybe a few that some people are not familiar with):

*Pranayama ~ Breath Work
*Transcendental Meditation
*Meaningful Work
*Social Connectedness
*Joyful Hobbies

Along with eight key words that have helped her along the way:
R - Respo
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction, 2014
"Shadows in the Sun" is the powerful memoir that centers on a woman struggling with depression. Gayathri comes from a very traditional Indian family. From the time that she was fairly young, she started having feelings that she did not know how to deal with and her family didn't really know either, mostly because mental illness was not really addressed in her family's culture. It took Gayathri coming to the United States and suffering a mental breakdown before she really got treatment.

This book
Kathleen Cremonesi
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I recommend this book for many reasons. As a woman, I enjoyed seeing a young woman in a male-dominated society rebel against expectations. The traveler in me loved the rich descriptions of her life in India -- the colors, the smells, the emotions -- my senses were all on high alert while reading this portion of the memoir. But the author's greatest gift to her readers lies in her ability to allow someone who has no personal experience with mental illness to deeply feel and connect with her pain, ...more
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an inspiring story of an Indian woman who overcame severe depression and is now a mental health advocate. This is the first Indian account I read on depression and it is spot-on. I found it very inspiring and it made me hopeful about the future (at least immediately after finishing). Ofcourse, it perhaps needs to be taken with a pinch of salt given the possibilities of a recovery never happening for various reasons. Nevertheless, in the wilderness of depression, it surely gives a reason ...more
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a fabulous book! There were some things I didn't like but overall loved it! The author's ability to use language to evoke tremendous emotional struggles is the hallmark of this book. I was afraid, as I read, that the italicized portions that were educational would be distracting. Not the case with this book. I was afraid once she found the light within, her struggle would be over. Again, not the case with this book. I was afraid it would feel like going to work. Still not the case. I do ...more
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the story of depression. Written by a woman born and raised in India. Neither she nor her family recognized that mental illness was to blame for her weight loss, nausea/vomiting, irrational thoughts and feeling of worthlessness and despair. After her arranged marriage and a move to America, she was better until after the birth of her daughter. Post-partum depression came on with a vengeance. Her story is touching and hopeful, through love and understanding of herself she found a glimmer ...more
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a look at depression from the inside. Gayathri Ramprasad tells her own story. The hospitalizations, the suicidal thoughts, the fears. Shadows in the Sun is a powerful story. It could be a depressing story, it is not. It would give someone suffering from depression a ray of hope. Guya is a woman raised in India where mental illness is a stigma, a disgrace. Recovery is a journey she says not a destination. That is a truth for other serious illnesses as well. It includes sources and explana ...more
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very different kind of book than I usually read. It was not a mystery, or a romantic comedy. It is a story about a woman from India. Her name is Gayathri Ramprasad. You say her name as Guy-a-three.

The story is really a memoir about her journey through depression and back again to a well functioning life.

It is well written with all the resources, and books to help others handle their illness. It was written as a story and kept me interested until the very end.

Sanja Knezovic
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a journey! Excellent book about depression and how the author overcame it. I like the authenticity and I have learned more about Indian culture. Mrs. Ramprasad tells her own, deeply moving story and encourages everyone to enjoy simple things in life, especially health, family and friends. Depression is a condition that she learned how to manage and she created life of meaning and purpose. The book is a personal story, but it is universal and could be used as a textbook in psychology classes ...more
Privy Trifles
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I perhaps share a lot more in common with the author apart from our mother tongues. I share some of the nightmares she has suffered, her desire to kill herself, the thought of considering herself a useless human being not fit to live, a bad daughter, a bad sister, the words that haunt her till a long time of her life, her long battle with depression and her victorious leap that she took from thereon to make her life better and better. She has inspired me to write my own memoir someday…!

Read the
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a day it was so enthralling. The author offers a unique glimpse into the world of a person dealing with depression in two cultures, India and America. While I don't suffer from depression, I have several close loved ones who do and this book helped me appreciate what they may be dealing with on a daily basis. It also offers a great message of hope and understanding for those who suffer from mental illness and those who love them.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a terrific book. The author told her story of her debilitating mental illness and her journey to recovery. It was a heart warming story and it especially resonates with me as transcendental meditation helped her to her recovery. I have been practicing TM for decades and it is wonderful to see how this wonderful technique helped. The author's story was one of great courage. The book was truly uplifting but it also demonstrated the health crisis of mental illness in today's world.
Deborah Hall
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I finished this book days before Robin Williams died. I cried so much after his death, because this book and some others helped me understand the inner workings of depression. Gayathri brings a beautiful ending to a sad and scary mental illnes. I would recommend this book to anyone who deals or may deal with depression in their life.
This book was brutally honest about depression and anxiety, but also full of hope and joy. Mental illness is shrouded in judgment, shame, and fear, and this book does a great job of removing those shrouds.

I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with depression and to family and friends of those struggling with depression. Understanding helps breed empathy and compassion.
Arthi Narayanan
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A truly inspiring read - Ramprasad's account of how mental illness is viewed in India is hauntingly accurate. She writes eloquently and provides so much detail and insight into her struggles. Her story is so encouraging, and this is a must-read for anyone interested in or struggling with mental health issues.
Kim H.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very candid, sometimes painful look at depression & its effects on bothe the sufferer & the people who care for and love them. The book also raises awareness of the cultural or societal barriers which exhist and can prevent people from getting the help and support they need.

Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book gave a VERY detailed account of what it is like living with depression and other neurobiological disorders, especially in a culture where mental health is ignored and basically unknown. It will definitely give hope to those who may be struggling with this type of health issue.
Lori searfoss
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is a revelation, gripping the reader from the first page. The reader becomes enthralled in the author's recounting of her childhood and subsequent drama of seeking to be understood and searching for a diagnosis.

Jasmine Chimento
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
very interesting non-fiction about a woman with severe depression in India and the US in the 1980's
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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Gayathri Ramprasad is the Founder and President of ASHA International ( a non-profit organization promoting personal, organizational, and community wellness. She is also a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS). Gayathri is a member of the Global Speakers Federation and the winner of the prestigious Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement, the ...more
“Do you have a name for the baby?” Nurse Melinda inquires. “Roshini,” I answer. “What does it mean?” she asks. “A ray of light,” I say, drawing my baby closer. “Roshini means a ray of light.” 1 likes
“Beneath mounting waves of fear, I discover faith. In the midst of madness, I discover a new meaning to my life. I learn that the strength I had long sought in others had always resided in me. Despite despair, I discover the power within to transform my life.” 1 likes
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