Mother and daughter strike gold, as they become authors days apart.
When people have said a mother's job isn't easy, they weren't putting it lightly. Like many of us single mothers know, being a parent is one of the hardest things you will ever have to face especially without much support. Being the sole provider, keeping a roof over your children's heads. Supporting those same children emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. But, with that experience comes love, patience and many rewards.
There is nothing more fulfilling than looking into the eyes of your children who love you back unconditionally and knowing that everything you do from the day they were born is remotely for them. Just to see them healthy, happy and smiling is enough.
In this blog I will be talking about a mother's life journey, which has now turned into an amazing new chapter.
Doris Allimadi took to writing as a part of therapy to release the troubled past she had behind her. Putting pen to paper, she let her story unfold about the life she lived many years ago, juggling her job and 2 daughters. 'Lost, my battle with depression' is a testimony of Doris's story. From fighting depression, and finding her way again in order to continue her life journey with positivity, she will inspire and motivate those who are, or have been in similar situations. The book shows her honesty because she opens up her heart discussing her life and the demons she had to confront. The failed relationships; pressure to impress family and friends; turning to excess eating and alcohol consumption. In this world where people are often encouraged to take medication for every challenge they face, Doris offers another potential cure; words of empowerment to encourage the reader to take control of his or her own life. Given the seriousness of the topic of the book, Doris has shared some poems throughout her book which will touch you in every possible way. Being a poet herself, she possesses special powers of imagination and expression.
Welcome Doris and thank you for allowing me to interview you.
*What made you decide to write a book?
Although there is still some stigma attached to depression and mental illness in general, there is a lot more discussion on the topic. I felt that it was a good time to tell my story. I didn’t feel afraid as I had been in the past.
*Do you think writing this book has helped you in any way?
It most definitely did. It is not easy keeping a secret, especially from people that are close to you, not being able to explain the change in your moods, behaviour and sometimes appearance. It was such a relief not to hide anymore or always pretend that all was well.
*Can you give a brief outline of what your book is about?
It is basically a story of someone who was going through a lot of turmoil in their life but made matters worse by employing very negative and destructive behaviour in order to cope. They turned to among other things, food and alcohol in excess.
Coupled with everything else, self-loathing set in which then led to depression which in turn led to less obvious forms of self-harm. That person is me.
I had to work my way back in time to find the trigger for my negative thought pattern. I do not believe that people just become depressed, I believe that something makes them depressed.
*How long did it take you to write, edit and complete the publishing process?
The whole process took about a year. I also had help from my journal that I contributed to regularly. I think editing is possibly one of the hardest aspect of writing and publishing. Every time I think I am done and my manuscript is ready for submission for publication, I add or remove something. Until there comes a point where you have to say to yourself, enough, it is done, press the send key.
*What was the hardest thing about putting your story down in writing? How did you feel mentality/emotionally relaying a hurtful past?
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 stigmatised for how I coped with being depressed, or indeed for just being depressed.
* What do think people will take away with them from reading it?
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.
* Who are you targeting? What would you say to those who may be contemplating purchasing a copy?
Firstly, women who are depressives or suffering any form of mental illness. We are so hard on ourselves.
And then everyone! The book teaches us to be good to ourselves. It teaches us to embrace and live by the concept of the 3 selves: self-love, self- respect and self-belief.
The book also teaches us, from a lay person’s point of view that there are alternatives to medication.
Above all, it teaches us that seeking help is not a weakness, the opposite is.
*What would your advice be to women who share a similar story and are thinking of writing their own book?
Firstly, if you haven’t already done so, then seek help. Even talk therapy can save a life, and then do not dwell on the past, acknowledge it, but do not dwell on it. Do not let your circumstances hold you back forever, life is for living. If your story is worth telling, tell it. #Damnthestigma.
*Do you have anything to say to those who may criticise your story and what you allowed to happen in your life?
Don’t judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes. No one knows how they would react in a situation until they are actually faced with it. You may have an idea of how you may behave but until then you really do not know. Was I disappointed looking back? Yes, I was. Could I have behaved any different than I did? No, I didn’t have the strength or belief in myself to have done so.
*After now finish writing your book. What do you now feel is your purpose in life?
A happy and harmonious existence. I no longer feel burdened because my depression is no longer a secret. A purposeful existence with consideration and compassion for others.
*Where can your book be purchased?
Lost, my battle with depression by Doris Allimadi can be purchased from the following links:
TamaRe House Publishing Ltd
Barnes and Noble
You can also order through bookstores like Waterstones and WH Smith.
*Also, please list any book launch dates, so people can come along and purchase a copy.
Friday 28th April, 7PM, The Spread Eagle Pub, Norfolk Road, Reading RG30 2EG
Saturday 6th May, 4PM, St Saviours Church Hall, Wendell Park, Cobbold Road, London W12 9LN
*In 2 words, please describe yourself? Also explain why you chose those words.
Compassionate because I care about people. Not only my daughters or family and friends but other people who may be going through hardships. I care about women and children’s issues, I care about homelessness and indeed my children and I feed the homeless in our local Reading Town Centre once every few months. We fill our party bags with sandwiches, water, crisps, cakes and chocolates.
I also support an orphanage in Gulu, Uganda where I am originally from.
Hardworking because I have responsibilities and it’s the only way to provide for my children and others.
*What is your next goal for the future and where do you plan to go from here?
I plan to publish more books. I am currently in the middle of writing a short story and a collection of poems.
Alyssa Allimadi, Doris's youngest daughter has created an A to Z book which teaches children all about fruit and vegetables from around the world. Her alphabet with fruit and veg is an important book for young children, because it also focuses on the significance of a healthy diet. Now at 11 years old, some of us may have been playing with our dolls or watching TV, but this young lady has not only written the book, she has also drawn all the illustrations.
Doris and her two daughters.(above)
*How did you feel as a mother, when your daughter Alyssa said she wanted to write and publish her own book?
Yes, sometimes it was a struggle. Sometimes I asked why, and sometimes I just thought this is downright unfair but I love my daughters so much and as I say in the book, I had responsibilities and therefore no time to grieve for absentees. My children need a roof over their heads, food on the table, clothes on their backs and scholastic essentials. That kept me focussed. I also have the most amazing family who made sure my children never ever went without. If I didn’t have it, they certainly did. I could never have done it without them. They were there from day one, from the hospital until today.
Yes, beneath that struggle we are reaping rewards. I am extremely proud that she wanted to follow in my footsteps. When she was 8 years old, she asked me why it had taken me so long to publish. I didn’t really have a valid answer and she told me she would be published by 10 years old. She completed the book whilst she was still 10 and published just after her 11th birthday.
*How much of your help did she require?
Some help with some of the captions but she largely worked alone. She prefers to work alone, she tells me that I stress her out, but I like the fact that she will ask for my opinion or advice if she needed it. Sometimes she took my advice and sometimes she would revert back to her own if she thought it worked better.
*What is your opinion of children writers?
I love it. It enhances writing skills, arms them with a climate of vocabulary, teaches discipline and children who write regularly will grow up with such command of both spoken and written languages.
*What made you want to write your own book at such a young age?
I like playing with words and drawing in my spare time and one day I thought to myself how can I put the two together? I wanted something I could be proud of and that could help someone. I like helping. So I thought about an alphabet book with fruits and vegetables that would encourage children to eat more healthily in order to keep their weight in control. My mother came up with the title.
*What have your teachers and friends at school said about you publishing your own book?
My year 5 and year 6 teachers are very proud of me and they both did the blurb for the book. My friends think it is so cool that I have my own book, they keep asking how I did it and that they want to do the same too.
My Head Teacher only found out recently when I showed her a copy and she could not believe it. She was so proud and so happy for me. She said it will go in the school magazine with a picture of me donating the book to her for the school library.
*What do you want to say to all the children out there who may want to read your book?
I would tell them that they will definitely enjoy it and learn about some fruits and vegetables that are not common. I learnt a few myself. There are also captions to go with the fruits and vegetables. I illustrated the book myself.
*What was the most exciting part about writing your own book?
Receiving the first copy. But it was also very exciting and challenging to come up with fruits and vegetables I was going to use in the book and making up interesting captions to go with them.
*How do you feel about your mother also publishing her own book?
I am very proud of my mother. She really enjoys writing. She has published before but I think she is the most excited about her latest one.
*If you could describe your mother in your own words, what would you say about her?
My mother is very bossy, pushy and resilient. But she is also very kind. She takes really good care of my sister and I. She always tries to make sure that we have the things that we need and sometimes for a treat even things that we may want. She works very hard mostly for us. Sometimes we have to force her to buy something for herself because she keeps saying I have to get you this or I have to get this for Sasha.
I think she would also want me to say that she is pretty.
*Do you think you will write another children's book?
I will definitely write another children’s book in a couple of years. At the moment I am working on my black and white portrait of legends who have died.
*If you had one wish and you were allowed to have a famous celebrity read your book, who would it be and why?
It would have to be JK Rowling because I am so inspired by her story. Everybody knows about her sad story and the success she made of herself. I also love reading her Harry Porter books. I would love to have a successful book with sequels one day.
*Where can Alphabet Fruit and Veg by Alyssa Allimadi be purchased from?
*So Alyssa, do you have any book launches planned?
Yes, I do.
Esher Nursery School & Forest School at Thames Ditton Farmers Market
22nd April 10 am – 1pm, George & Dragon, High Street, Thames Ditton KT7 0RY
6th May 4pm – 7pm, St Saviours Church Hall, Wendell Park, Cobbold Road, W12 9LN
Well, what can one say? Such determination and inspiration from both authors and as a mother myself who has suffered from depression, I know how hard it is to build yourself back up again from feeling so low. So, a big well done and congratulations to Doris who has shown pure strength to help those who may not even realise what they are experiencing. Depression is no joke and without the right support, or help, it can lead you down a very dark path where you lose yourself in the process.
I would just like to wish both Doris and Alyssa the best of success with their new books.