Book: "Lost, My Battle With Depression"
The author, Doris Allimadi
Doris Allimadi lives and works in Reading, UK. She is a single mother of two, Sasha, who is a third year student at the University of Exeter and Alyssa 11, a recently published author.
Doris has just published a book, "Lost, My Battle With Depression", detailing her secret struggle with the illness and the practical solutions she eventually applied to manage it. She wrote this book because she wanted to tell her story. The burden of keeping it a secret was almost as exhausting as the illness itself. She says she also wanted to give sufferers the courage to speak up, to seek help and say #damnthestigma.
A. Caroline Olok recently posted on facebook as follows: Friends, has anyone read or is reading "LOST, MY BATTLE WITH DEPRESSION" by Dee Allimadi? It is a must read! Gripping, painful, with a lot of issues that we can relate to. Expectations of what is love, addiction, self-loathing etc! Friends get yourselves a copy. Very moving and a lot of inner reflection to be done! No one is immune to depression, most function with it! It is certainly an eye opener!
The Black Star News: Tell us more about your book?
Doris Allimadi: My book is about my journey through depression, the reasons why I kept it a secret and why I decided to eventually speak up and encourage others to do the same.
BSN: Why did you keep it a secret?
DA: For many reasons. I was ashamed, because I didn’t understand the illness myself and I didn’t think that the black community suffered from an illness that I at the time didn’t consider to be a real illness. There is still a lot of stigma attached to the illness and I didn’t want to face any discrimination because of it.
BSN: So why now?
DA: Because there has been a lot of discussion on the topic lately, there has been a lot of high profile personalities coming forward to speak of their own experiences and also unfortunately a lot of depression related suicides. I was encouraged by other people coming forward and I hope that my story will help someone too.
BSN: What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
DA: The hardest thing about writing my story was looking at my past, rehashing very painful memories that had lain buried for so long. I felt both emotionally and physically drained by it all. I was also afraid of letting people know so much of me. I was afraid of being judged or stigmatized for how I coped with being depressed, or indeed for just being depressed. By the time I had finished I was both relieved but so very drained.
BSN: Who are you reaching out to?
DA: Firstly women, because we are our own harshest critics and then everyone. Men suffer from depression too. In fact, studies show that men are now more at risk because they do very rarely seek medical attention, for anything, let alone an illness such as depression. I say to them, seeking help is not a sign of weakness, the opposite is.
BSN: Since speaking up and publishing "Lost, My Battle With Depression", do you find that family and friends act differently towards you?
DA: No, actually. A few family members and friends expressed shock and sadness that they didn’t know what I was going through but on the whole, they have been very supportive and understanding.
BSN: How did you come up with the book title?
DA: It was easy. I did feel truly lost because I wasn’t presenting my true self. I had this secret illness that I didn’t know what to do with and the illness was depression and so I put the two together.
BSN: What do you want the reader to take away from reading "Lost, My Battle With Depression"?
DA: Understanding. Understanding that depression and mental illness in general, is just an illness like any other for which there is treatment and coping mechanisms. Understanding that we must not be discriminatory towards those who are depressives or mentally unwell. It can happen to literally anyone and sometimes it can be fatal if people are afraid to seek help for fear of being stigmatised. No one is immune.
BSN: It sounds like heavy reading?
DA: It is, because the topic itself is a very serious topic but the book is written in a very relatable language and using layman’s terms rather than medical or expert jargon. There are also some poems and very light-hearted moments.
BSN: Can you give us some examples of the light-hearted moments in your book?
DA: Yes, sure. There is a section where I talk about sexy men and I use Barack Obama as an example, an epitome of what a sexy man is and then I immediately issue an apology to Michelle Obama for having such impure thoughts about her husband. That’s funny, right?
BSN: Do you have any hobbies, what do you do in your spare time?
DA: Yes, I do have hobbies. I enjoy reading, current affairs, watching films, listening to music, singing and dancing. I absolutely love Karaoke, except I can’t sing at all but that doesn’t stop me from having a go.
BSN: So, what next for you?
DA: I am currently busy promoting the book and arranging book launches here and there. My very first one will be in Reading on 28th April at 7pm at The Spread Eagle Pub, Norfolk Road, Reading RG30 2EG and the next one in London, St. Saviors Church Hall, Wendell Park, Cobbold Road, W12 9LN at 4pm.
BSN: Any more works in the pipeline?
DA: Yes, I am currently working on a collection of poems and a short story.
BSN: Where can people buy "Lost, My Battle With Depression"?