asha international mental health

We Give Hope

My story – surviving the loss of my beloved daughter Priya

My story – surviving the loss of my beloved daughter Priya

    My name is Geetha Balagopal.   My beloved daughter Priya was lost to suicide on January 10th 2016 during her 4th suicide attempt. Priya was a beautiful girl, a quiet, introverted, brilliant and dignified child, who excelled in whatever activity she participated in.  The anxiety was always there but I was not aware of it.  She was bullied in school and it started very early – in Kindergarten.  I never knew about it.  She didn’t have many friends but got calls from classmates who needed help with homework.  During the summer of her junior year in high school, she told me that she has OCD.  My response was “you have too much time on your hands disorder” Having been raised in a culture where you are conditioned to “just do what is required without complaining”- I didn’t realize the seriousness of it. Priya left home when she was 15 and a half years old to join the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, (a boarding school for highly gifted high school kids) around the same time she told me that she had OCD.  She only came home one day a month – and she only called or texted if she needed supplies or food.  She made new friends, fell in love with Indian dance and I was happy for her. One day in early 2009, I was driving Priya back to school –about to merge on the highway, when she said that she feels hopeless and that “life is not worth living”.  I almost ran off the road but kept my voice calm and asked her why...
Journal of an anxious soul

Journal of an anxious soul

If the voice in your head is constantly telling you that ‘you are not doing enough’ or ‘you are not enough’, it is probably your anxiety speaking. Because of this voice in your head, if you tend to overwork yourself and still tend to criticize yourself – guess what? It is anxiety! If you constantly feel your mind is playing tricks with you – making you overthink and over-analyze situations or people’s actions/reactions, and seek external validation to determine your self-worth, it is probably your anxiety speaking. If you struggle to say ‘NO’ and tend to overextend yourself, it is a manifestation of your anxious behavior. If you are hard on yourself and feel excessive guilt for small things like saying ‘NO’ to someone, taking time off work, gaining weight….and the list is endless, again – it is again your anxiety taking over. If you feel you are battling your own thoughts 24*7, it is probably anxiety. If you have moments where your mind is clouded with obsessive thoughts and you have difficulty concentrating, it is probably anxiety. When did I realize I had anxiety? I have lived with anxiety for close to 10 years now! Gosh! Imagine having to deal with all those thoughts on an everyday basis – it is so exhausting! I realized I had anxiety last year after a breakup when my life started to seem like a mess. I would try and concentrate on work but was unable to concentrate due to the obsessive thoughts conquering my head. Daily tasks seemed to overwhelm me, and my heart would start racing as I would begin...
Hope Lives. Shame Kills. And What About Reality?

Hope Lives. Shame Kills. And What About Reality?

“Stories are living and dynamic. Stories exist to be exchanged. They are the currency of Human Growth.”  Jean Houston, PhD Twenty-five years ago, these words flowed out of me: “Balanced within exultation and despair is the state of mind called reality.” The words were written above the title, States of Mind, and beneath the title was the author’s name: Leslie D’Angelo. The self-publisher? Resources for Living. And what was States of Mind? The chaos in my mind. The yearning in my heart. An embodied voice that needed more than anything else to feel, to write, to speak, and be heard. My name is Diane Kaufman. What experiences have I had and how do I allow them to define me? Or do I dare to define myself? Here goes…. I am a suicide survivor. I am a poet, artist, child psychiatrist, humanism in medicine awardee, and founder of Arts Medicine for Hope & Healing, ARTS for Living, and Creative Life Lines. I am still becoming who I am. I am a hurt little girl who grew into a sensitive and brave woman. I have Bipolar II Disorder. I am a mother, a grandmother, a sister, Aunt, and friend. Most of all I want to be a humane human being and I don’t want to stop growing. I want to cultivate and share the gifts I was born to give – just as we all are born with special gifts to help illuminate the world from human inflicted darkness. Who was this Leslie D’Angelo? My middle name is Leslie. Perhaps I wanted to be an angel. D is first initial of...
How to Keep Up With a Home Yoga Practice on a Budget When You’re Self-Isolating

How to Keep Up With a Home Yoga Practice on a Budget When You’re Self-Isolating

Doing yoga at home is one of the best ways to stay grounded and stay active when you’re self-isolating. Not only does yoga keep you fit and toned, it comes with mental health benefits such as decreased anxiety and depression. Starting yoga at home is also one of the most affordable ways to stay in shape. Below, learn about the gear and technology you can use to have an uplifting and wallet-friendly yoga practice at home. Get Set Up for Streaming If you regularly go to the yoga studio, you probably know how much it takes out of your budget each month. However, there are numerous ways to stream sessions at home. Many yoga sessions can be viewed for free by using YouTube or other services that you already pay for, such as Amazon Prime. If you have a smart TV, Roku stick or other smart tech, you can usually stream videos by downloading the YouTube app on your device. This allows you to watch videos on your TV rather than looking at your phone. If your devices are paired, you can even use your phone as a remote to select videos you want to cast to your TV. When you already have the tech, this is a completely free way to bring yoga sessions into your living room. Take Advantage of Apps Like streaming services, you can also get guidance for your home yoga practice by using apps. Women’s Health ranked these apps as the best ones available. Yoga apps are usually free to download and come with a selection of free content. However, most require paying a monthly...
From Adversity to Advocacy: A Personal and Political Perspective on Navigating a Bipolar Life

From Adversity to Advocacy: A Personal and Political Perspective on Navigating a Bipolar Life

“Sharing our stories without shame is a huge part of our journey to wellbeing” says writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author, Melody Moezzi. “We are not broken. We are brave. We are brilliant. We are beautiful. And, we are blessed.” Watch Melody’s inspiring story of how she is thriving despite her struggles with bipolar...
The Color of My Mind: Reflections of A Queer Latina Mental Health Activist

The Color of My Mind: Reflections of A Queer Latina Mental Health Activist

As an eight-year-old Latina girl growing up in New York, Dior wrote in her dairy – “My life is over. My mother says no my life is not over. Well, I think so. The end.” Her parent’s divorce, domestic violence, threat of eviction and bullying at school filled her with despair. But her grandmother’s love sustained and inspired her to excel at school and become an activist. Today, Dior is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist advocating for equitable mental health care for all. She is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of Black Indigenous People of Color in the media representation of mental illness. She is also the editor of The Color of My Mind, a photo essay book based on the photo project. She tours the country giving keynotes, hosting workshops, and speaking on panels. Her work and insight have been covered in media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Newsweek, and NBC News Latino. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards including, The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations under the Obama administration. Watch Dior’s inspiring...
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