Kairavi Bharat Ram’s book C is for Cat and D is for Depression takes young children on her journey with mental health, despair and hope
“You don’t hide symptoms or precautions of COVID-19 from children, do you?” asks Kairavi Bharat Ram, author of C is for Cat and D is for Depression.
“Why do we hide depression from them? Physical and mental health has to be treated the same way. We have to educate children about mental illness. They have to be aware to identify early if anything is going wrong,” she adds.
In the book published by Scholastic India, Kairavi talks about her journey with mental health, narrating the subject using rhymes for young children. “Though I wanted to focus on children because no one talks to them about it, the book is not limited to any age group,” she says.
Dealing with anxiety
Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan make it interactive. “When a child has fever or stomach ache, parents don’t send them to school. What about when they have an anxiety attack? It has to be dealt in the same way because when the mind is not okay, they are in a worse state.”
The 22-year-old went through depression when she was in Class XII. “I took a break and started a make-up blog to interact with people again. Now, I do that on my Instagram handle @ thetypsyprincess.” Kairavi is currently studying Fashion Management at London School of Fashion, and has co-authored two books on mythology: Ramayana in Rhyme and Krishna in Rhyme.
The metaphors she used with her therapist found their way into the book. “My therapist would try and make me view my thoughts as external bodies. So, instead of saying ‘I’m having negative thoughts’, we would say ‘the radio of doom and gloom is back on’. I started thinking along the same lines to describe my emotions. Over the period of therapy, I started writing these, and the book was born,” she says.
The book, she adds, is not only to educate children but also parents and adults about mental illness. “Anything can trigger a breakdown in a child. The metaphors help a child articulate what he or she is feeling and express themselves better.”The objective is to get the message that there is help available.
“What I learnt from my journey is that, though it sounds clichéd, change is the only constant. So hold it out and keep swimming till you get to the point where things change. The book is completely black and white; it starts on a dark note and ends sounding bright and sunny. It won’t be rainbows and sunshine for the rest of your lives. There will be ups and downs, but you should be hopeful. That is important,” she adds.
C is for Cat and D is for Depression is available on Amazon.in