How Patna-based author Swati overcame depression and became a suicide prevention activist
Swati Kumari seemed set for a rosy future after her MBA from France. But after a long, debilitating illness, and loss of her mother to suicide she hit an all-time low, only to rise like the proverbial phoenix and write a book to help others.
Swati Kumari grew up in a joint family in Kanpur, amid the hustle and bustle of a gregarious, small-town household. Swati hit all the right notes during her academic journey. After her graduation, she went to Bengaluru for MBA, and there she got an opportunity to study in France through the foreign student exchange programme. She completed the International Management Programme from ESC-Pau, France, and came back to India in 2012, when she suffered the blow of life-altering adversity.
My life has not been a bed of roses. However, I am glad I have been able to fight against destiny and carve out my own path.
At present, Swati stays with her uncle and aunt in Patna. She has published two books and works as a suicide prevention activist.
Getting trapped in the darkness of one’s mind
Becoming a published author was Swati’s dream since childhood, but her journey towards this can be traced to the days when she hit rock bottom. In 2013, on the cusp of her career in the corporate world, Swati was diagnosed with cervical tuberculosis and was homebound for two years. Disease, medicines, and therapies not only pushed her to the limit physically but psychologically as well. Swati says, “Throughout my life, I had studied hard to become self-dependent. So, it was deeply upsetting when I had to become economically dependent on my family once again.”
While she was struggling with this, another storm hit and devastated her life. Swati lost her mom to suicide. She says, “My mother was my best friend, my motivator, and my life. It was a shock for my family, a traumatic period for me.”
For Swati, this was an exceptionally tough blow. She felt she was falling deeper into a dark world. She no longer had a reason to live. She wondered to herself, “Am I alone in this cosmos, who is suffering from this pain?” and her inner voice replied, “No, you are not the solitary one!”.
Since all her family members were facing the same grief, she decided not to let her inner melancholy show and started pouring out her pain on blank papers. Swati says,
I tried to see my mom’s life through her eyes and completed my first novel, Without A Goodbye.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Recently, Swati presented a paper at the World Suicide Prevention Conference in Kuching, Malaysia. As she is rebuilding her life, she is determined to make a difference on her chosen path of helping save lives.
Though difficult times led Swati to turn to her childhood love for writing, she is glad to have found her way back to her true calling. Swati says, “When I was in school, I read many books. In every free period, I was found in the school library. I started writing poems and short stories since primary school and it was my dream to write a book and get it published. My dream of becoming a published author was lost in completing my school and higher studies.”
Initially, Swati found it difficult to sit isolated and concentrate on writing for long. But with time, she has become a disciplined writer. She can now be all alone sitting in her room for 15 hours a day for a week. But on weekends, she takes a break to recharge herself.
“My mom’s love and her dreams motivate me to keep moving ahead every day,” she signs off.