My book of poetry, "Stripping- My fight to find Me" is a story of the triumph of the human spirit. It is a story of our deep need for connection and the infinite power of love to heal.
It’s Sunita here.
It’s Sunita here.
I am a poet, an author, a wife, a mother, a sleep doctor, and a childhood trauma survivor. I healed when I understood that I was broken, not a victim. I learnt that everything I needed was within me. And that my mental health and my inner life was the essence and driving force of my existence.
I now want to challenge and inspire you to move beyond your old stories so you can embrace possibility and fulfill your potential. So, if that is where you are in your life, I invite you to come visit with me when I write. The conversation is honest, the topics are varied, the perspectives are from many angles, but the bottom line is always Self Love Self Care First®.
Where did SLSCF® come from? I realized that I needed to find meaning in my suffering. I kept thinking, “What did I come out of this journey with? How can I convey what I now know other than what is in my poetry? What is the simplest, most fundamental, basic understanding of human nature that I discovered? And that is where Self Love Self Care First® comes from. I discovered that If we do not love ourselves, we do not care for ourselves. The pain of our lives and the messages we receive go deep to cause us at times to not pay attention to ourselves, and at times even hate ourselves. It is a difficult journey. And these feelings and beliefs come from the deepest parts of our unconscious. Self Love Self Care First® is a journey of learning we are all on. This is The Journey. To find compassion for ourselves. To find acceptance for ourselves. To find love for ourselves.
Find your light. Because we are not moving towards any light. There is no light out there. It is inside. We must move inwards- not outward to look for the light. The light is inside you.
And when you find yours, you light up the world!
I hope you will join me in a journey of discovery, wonder, growth, and a celebration of our truth.
Because what else is there to talk about?
Be well, Do well, Live well,
Friday, April 26, 2019
Friday, April 19, 2019
It's Sunita here.
I was transfixed this Sunday, along with millions of others, as I watched Tiger Woods win the Masters at Augusta National. It was a experience to watch this 43 year old athlete compete at a level that no one believed he could, after a series of personal and professional failures of huge magnitudes, and physical setbacks.
It was April 13, 1997 when the world heard of a 21 year old Tiger Woods. The game of golf was changed forever.
November 25, 2009 however brought Tigers career and life to a screeching halt in many ways. That was the day The National Enquirer published a story of Tiger's indiscretions with a cocktail waitress. What followed was the unfolding of a cascade of embarrassing disclosures of his transgressions with many women outside of his marriage. It was years of scandal, the break up of his marriage and many untold stories of pain and suffering of all parties involved.
No one plans to light their world on fire like that. Least of all an athlete of the caliber of Tiger Woods, someone who had endorsements worth millions of dollars with major international brands and a wholesome family man image.
The complexity of human nature is not easily decoded by someone who is not privy to inside details so I will not even begin to offer any understanding to what Tiger's mind frame was to have behaved the way that he did. But what I do want to say is that what followed the scandal was years of emotional, physical and professional breakdown.
Things were so wrong that on May 29, 2017 Tiger was arrested for driving under the influence.
How does one go from that to this?
April 14, 2019 was the sight of Spring miracle of redemption. But was it?
I suspect that Tiger's win last Sunday was no such thing. It was most likely years of hard work, deep introspection and reflection and a spirit that was unwilling to call it a day. I have no doubt that many a times it must have seemed impossible to achieve this feat to even Tiger himself. But the result last week shows a belief deep down in him that said otherwise.
The question begs to be asked Which win is more significant? Tiger in 1997, winning the Masters as a supremely talented 21 year old, bi-racial young man or Tiger, the older, hopefully wiser and healthier 43 year old? Now a father of 2 young kids and still a supremely talented golfer.
You make your own decision on that.
What I leave you with are these questions.
Do you think you have it in you to fight your way back from absolute rock bottom?
Do you think you are worth it?
Do you believe that you deserve a second chance?
Do you love yourself enough and have the self compassion to forgive yourself for your failings?
And most importantly, are you going to let your life's harshest injury define you or are you going to get up and fight to not only get back in the game, but WIN THE GAME?
I hope you do as well.
Because we are human.
Wishing you a Happy Spring, Baisakhi, Easter, Passover and anything else you may celebrate at this time of opportunity for renewal and redemption!
Photo credits News organizations, Palm Beach Sheriff's office and Kevin C. Fox
Friday, April 12, 2019
It's Sunita here.
William Styron is well known for his body of work, many literary awards, and commercial success with his books. Notable amongst them are Lie Down in Darkness, The Confessions Of Nat Turner, (which won a Pulitzer Prize) and Sophie's Choice, (which was made into a superb movie starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol.) However, it is in Darkness Invisible that he gives us a special gift of incredible value.
William Styron describes his descent into 'madness' by vividly painting a picture of how depression wrestles with a human being and pins him down. There is no getting up from under this million pound gorilla. Styron is effective in conveying the helplessness one experiences when depression engulfs one. There is no 'thinking out' of this illness. It is a disease just like any other physical illness that has visible symptoms and signs. Imagine telling an automobile accident victim to put back their severed leg on their body by thinking 'hard enough and positively enough'.
Styron laments towards the end of the book that he should have been hospitalized for his depression long before he actively started to consider suicide as his only way out. As he quietly prepares to kill himself, it is only after hearing a soaring passage from the Johannes Brahms Alto Rhapsody that he feels a connection to his world. The music gives him pleasure which reminds him of the deep love that he has for his family. This momentary withdrawal from the numbness of depression allows him to discover that he could never inflict on them the pain that his suicide would. He immediately wakes his wife Rose up and makes arrangements to be hospitalized for depression. He remains in the hospital from December 1985 through February 1986. Darkness Visible : A Memoir of Madness' was first presented as a lecture by Styron. The best selling book was released in 1990.
Before I accepted that I had off and on for years suffered from depression, I was not willing to even entertain that possibility. It wasn't that I was in denial. It was just that I believed that everyone went through 'bad patches' and it was part and parcel of the landscape of being human. A lack of awareness of the importance of mental health and a total buy in of the stigma associated with any kind of mental illness was a hallmark of my family culture. In all fairness, this was not very unusual in the times that I grew up in, nor in the cultural context of my upbringing.
So when I finally hit a wall that I could not find a way through, I sought help. And I learnt that in my case, depression was only the calling card of all the trauma and invisible damage that lay hidden behind it. But that's another story for another day...
Even while in treatment, I would beat myself up for not being able to 'think my way' out of the darkness. I thought that it was my fault that I was not getting better because I was not 'trying hard enough'. I would repeatedly tell myself that I needed to be more 'positive' to get better.
With this, now what I recognize as deeply flawed thinking, based on society's uneducated and ignorant projections about depression, anxiety and mental illness, I tortured myself endlessly. I manufactured feelings of shame, failure, hopelessness and worthlessness. And this misery was on top of what depression, toxic stress and ACE's were doing to me.
I now understand what trauma does to a brain. Especially a young infant or child's brain. It is complex and very complicated but this damage is now well understood by researchers and clinicians. So the success rate of treatment of such trauma is steadily increasing. Depression has many forms and causes but a very big component of etiological factors resulting in depression is childhood trauma.
Depression is a real disease. It must be recognized by healthcare professionals. It must be respected as a tenacious and clever invader of our minds and bodies. Even though it usually has a complex origin, it's source must be determined and diagnosed as best possible. And finally, it must be treated. Once the severe phase is over, depression requires us to be vigilant about it's return and recurrence. It demands a lifestyle change to stay ahead of it and not be ambushed by it when it returns.
A life entirely free of depression may not be possible for everyone who suffers from this illness, but a diagnosis does not mean a life sentence of misery, a joyless existence or thoughts or the actual step of committing suicide as the only means to find relief.
Depression is a treatable disease. In many cases, permanently. In some cases, it can be well managed with medications and talk therapy.
But the first step is recognizing that you are depressed and then seeking help.
I share with you my poem 'Arousal' from my book Stripping : My Fight to Find Me It is #17 in the collection of poems.
My slumber went unnoticed:
No reason for detection,
No cause for concern,
No need to wake up from this deep sleep.
I opened the door
To a gentle tremor
Of this avalanche that I was hiding.
Incidentally, William Stynor lost his mother at the young age of 12 and considering those times, most likely did not get the emotional support and assistance a young child needs to grieve and heal in a healthy way. He hit the wall at age 60 before suffering from Major Depression. In hindsight, he picked up on his predisposition to mood swings and depression earlier in life and also realized that his family's emotional history was marked by this predisposition as well.
I challenge you to be honest with yourself. Are you just surviving or thriving? Do you need to look at your family's emotional history and your life thus far. You deserve to THRIVE! Not just survive.
Wishing you a week of honest discovery!
Until next time,
Friday, April 5, 2019
It's Sunita here.
How was your week? Does it feel like you got a lot done to move ahead in your life or was it a mad dash from one thing to another that has left you exhausted and saying TGIF?
What was the pace of your week? Did you have time to do any of these activities- exercise, relax, reflect, rejuvenate, talk to your loved ones, reach out to some friends, accomplish some long term and short term goals you had set for yourself, look towards your future and identify what you would like to do next, practice Self love Self Care First and experience your Heart Bliss?
If not, did your week look more like the picture above? Did you feel like you lived in a task driven world where the pressure of getting to the next item of a 'to do list' was suffocating you? Or did you end your work week feeling like you advanced in your life plan and were now ready to enjoy what the weekend had in store?
Friday evening does not have to be a celebration equivalent to what it feels like of get out of jail. The weekend can be a continuation of the excitement and rejuvenation of a well lived week. But for that to happen, we must ask ourselves these key questions.
During the week,
What all and to whom did I say yes to?
Did that yes have any meaning to my life and it's mission? If no,
Then WHY did I say yes ?
When we focus and allocate our time to our identified priorities and people, it becomes very easy to be energized during the day. Of course, this doesn't mean that there will be no challenges or hurdles to get over, and there will probably be a fair amount of stress involved as well, but the end result is what gives meaning to our lives. Living this way is a natural high and propels us to do more of what drives us to be the best of who we are.
Being 'busy' is a way to be distracted and get out of asking ourselves these important questions. Honest self reflection, introspection and assessment brings up parts of ourselves and our life that we don't like and wish were different. These hard truths can hurt. But without going to these dark places, we are unable to get to the light and design a life that is full of meaning and reflects our true selves.
When that happens, we become Fully Engaged, not busy.
Busy is a four letter word that I prefer not to use anymore. 'Busy' does not take me where I want to go.
'Fully Engaged' is where I want to be. It is a state of mind and being where there is ample time for me to 'do' and 'think'. It is a way of life which is designed on the basis of my priorities, goals, interests and purpose. With built in time for me to practice Self Love Self Care First. With abundant time for my Heart Bliss. With always time for me to love. It is a place where I create a meaningful life that matters to me.
Wishing you a weekend of being fully engaged,