Mental health depression writer optimism ambitious migration

How My Depression Made Me Write My First Book

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

I was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. When I was three years old, the 1996 civil war was swelling and my family had to translocate to India because my mother was pregnant with my sister and there were no medical facilities. For a certain period of time I only had uncooked noodles to eat. Moving to a new country and renting a house near the air force station made me become paralysed in fear. More because I got reminded of the bombers in Sri Lanka whenever I heard a normal air force helicopter fly and I used to close my eyes and not open them for hours together.

I remember being called an alien in school for not being able to use the common spoon because I was from a different country.

Nevertheless, I grew up to have a happy childhood. During my eleventh grade, I had to change schools and the sudden change pushed me into depression. I was always taking off from school to go visit psychologists. Due to severe hormonal imbalances, I acquired PCOD due to which I became very obese. Being the overweight late teenager, regular counselling sessions were not easy for me. One fine day, during my undergraduate years, I decided that I should not give up on myself. I started eating healthy and my weight naturally went down to a healthy level.

I started thinking of what would make me happy and the answer was ‘seeing other people smile’. That was when I turned into a new leaf into someone being overly empathetic and compassionate. I made a lot of friends and I turned into that person who would be there for everyone.

My parents have lived in different countries because of circumstances and I always yearn for a life where my mum, dad, my sister, my two canine brothers and me would live together. Though I would love to go back to Sri Lanka and serve the war-affected people there, family circumstances and my dad’s political background brought me to Sydney to pursue my Masters. I thought that maybe this would be the place and chance to bring my family together. I was happy, fearless, studying and working part time at the same time. I loved being independent and met a lot of new people. But last year, certain unforeseeable situations left me with unanswered questions.

All this while I did not realise that being independent was different from being emotionally independent. I became a mess. I dreamt every night and woke up crying every morning.

Initially I thought that it’s no big deal and just a passing phase. But I could not stop thinking of all the why's and how's. I blamed myself every five minutes. It became like a disease. I went into clinical depression. I started overthinking and at one point I could not differentiate between normal thinking and over thinking. I wanted to quit my studies. I started going for counselling sessions again. I was feeling weak and empty. I always thought that I was not scared of anything but I saw myself turn into someone who was afraid of people.

Eventually, I forced myself to realise that I WILL NOT get the answers to all the questions in my life. I struggled to keep myself strong. I decided that I would help myself heal and that I did not need psychologists. I started gymming. I started to build my stamina. I started working more and studying more. I started a ‘Free Hugs’ campaign and it made me feel so good. I was being a rebel striving to improve myself. I became addicted to hard work but I tried and retained my capacity to love. (So if you are in my life today, I want to give you as much happiness as I can. I want to give you EVERYTHING.)

That was when I started WRITING. Writing was a guttural response to sad and scared soul. Writing worked like magic on me and my poetry book, Extra Decaf is now available on I have a huge support system, including my sister and friends who continuously walked with me through this book. Writing was my only option for survival at that time and if my writing can make people happy, I would do it again. The next time I write a book, I will write about what  people want to read rather than writing what I want to say.

I have now learnt to let go of the past and to focus on helping people and making them smile.

Today, I am working as a microbiologist and providing Tamohara’s education scholarship. I might look like I have it all together now. But no, I still feel insecure and terrified. I am not the fearless person I once was. But, I am STRONGER. I want to do more and to be more because I know that I am capable of more.

Last year was a roller coaster, but I am thankful because it taught me how important it was to embrace the insecurities of others, to assure them it was okay to cry, overthink and to be a mess. Eventually, we are all going to make it.

"When the time comes for you to make a change (to grow), the universe will make you so uncomfortable, so unhappy, you will eventually have no choice." — Iyanla Vanzant

This was my life saving quote and it will always be.

We all need some chaos and destruction to groom us into better people with magnified flaming hearts that are ready to leave pieces of love in every possible place. If you would let yourself wither because of your broken heart, who would be there to tell your story?

Share this Article

You Might Also Like...