Mother and daughter authors: Doris Allimadi (left) with her book ‘Lost, My battle with Depression’ alongside 11 year daughter and author Alyssa Allimadi with her first book-‘Alphabet with Fruit and Veg’. (Photographs: Courtesy of Doris Allimadi)
“The book is first for women because we are usually so hard on ourselves”-Doris Allimadi.
In a rare occurrence, a mother and daughter have respectively become authors with their books respectively published, a day apart. Doris Allimadi a UK-Ugandan and her 11 year old daughter Alyssa Allimadi now have lined up mother-and daughter- book launches in and out of London where they will both sell signed copies of their books. The books are also available online.
Doris Allimadi, a UK-Ugandan has in words, laid bare her silent struggle with depression but bearing in mind a time she would courageously open up about her experience, for the benefit of her family members and others.
Her 11 year old daughter Alyssa Allimadi has also attained author-status at an early age with her first book in which she is encouraging children to eat their fruits and vegetables, for health purposes.
A resident of Reading, in South East England region, Doris responded to the interview I put across to her, inquiring after her reasons for writing the book and who her target reader is.
Me: Hello Doris. When did the decision to write Lost, My Battle With Depression strike you?
Doris: It wasn’t a decision that came to me suddenly. I was always going to write this book, it was just a question of timing. There has been a lot of discussion lately on the subject of depression and other mental illnesses, with high profile names either coming forward to share their experiences or reports of depression related suicides. This gave me the courage to finally tell my story.
Me: How long did it take you to write the book?
Doris: I would say that the whole process took about a year, aided by my journal to which I regularly contribute.
Me: Who is the book for?
Doris: I say women first, this is because we are so hard on ourselves. We never give ourselves a break, constantly judging ourselves and trying to live our lives by some unattainable ideals. And then everyone, because no one is immune. Anyone can suffer from depression, in fact research now shows that men are most at risk because they never seek medical help, for anything first of all, let alone depression. An illness that until lately, many people did not view as a real illness.
Me: Given your experience, how would you define depression?
Doris: Prolonged sadness and unhappiness. It is true that we all get sad sometimes, for whatever reason and we get over it, which is normal. When one feels engulfed in constant and regular dark clouds, having neither strength nor will to fight it, and being unable to manage those feelings, that is my definition of depression.
Depression and mental illness in general, is just an illness like any other form for which there is treatment and coping mechanisms
Me: What would you say causes depression and what are your views of a medical model to curing it?
Doris: There are many triggers and degrees to depression. For some it could be traumatic experiences in childhood that have never been dealt with and keep recurring. For some it could be during adulthood. There is usually something that makes one become depressed. Something or things that haven’t been dealt with. I do not believe that people become depressed out of the blue. Other causes include but not limited to: stressful events, bereavement, family history, loneliness, personality, and alcohol and drugs, the very things we use in order to self-medicate and thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle.
I do believe that there is a chemical imbalance that would cause a sufferer not to be able to manage their feelings or situations as well as a non-sufferer would. In order to treat depression, medicine needs to know the cause and degree of depression.
Some people suffer from mild depression and for others it is much deeper and they all require a different type and length of treatment.
In my experience, talk therapy is just as valid. Sometimes all someone needs is encouragement and the skill to cope, to just let it out and not be burdened by whatever it is that is weighing them down. Drugs is not the only way to treat depression, especially mild depression.
Me: I have heard a lot about stigma with mental un-wellness. What is your experience?
Doris: Oh, yes, there is still a lot of stigma attached to mental un-wellness because it is an illness that not many people understand. People do not understand that it also affects your physical being for example people who comfort eat will eventual suffer obesity which in turn have an impact of their backs, knees and general well-being.
I didn’t suffer any stigma because I hid my illness for a long time. No one knew until very recently. I did keep it a secret because I didn’t want to be discriminated against.
Me: How many copies of the book have been printed?
Doris: The book is currently a Print On Demand (POD).
Me: Apart from the UK, where else is the book available to buy?
Doris: The book is available in Europe, America and Canada, and Australia. ‘Lost, my battle with depression’ can be ordered through the publishers, Tamare House, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites. Major bookstores like Waterstones can also order the book.
Me: What do you hope to achieve through the book?
Doris: To raise awareness, to open up discussions about depression, to encourage other sufferers to speak up and seek help.
And 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.
Both books are available online through the links below.
TamaRe House Publishers
TamaRe House Publishers
Barnes and Noble