Dilani De Silva awaits October 8 with the same eagerness with which she looks forward to celebrate her birthday. This is because October 8 has given her life so much value in terms of being the woman she wished to be. This day is celebrated as World Women’s Day and it is important to women like Dilani who was a mental patient in the past.
At present there is little trace of her dark past and people see her as a bundle of joy willing to help anyone who is down.
At present she works as a volunteer therapist at the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) in Angoda. She is also the President of the Consumer Forum of NIMH (Reg number -Kollonnawa/DS/VO/2018/31), a post she has served in since 2015 July.
As usual their annual programme for World Women’s Day will be held at Angoda on March 7 because everybody involved with the NIMH is available today (Thursday).
She married very young- at the age of 17- and stepped into a depressing life. Dilani went through hard times in her marriage and she was forced to migrate abroad in search of employment. There she had her first mental breakdown.
She endured all hardships while being rehabilitated, but like the old saying ‘there is a silver lining after every dark cloud’ she found the love and care of a committed staff at this institute.
She was pulled out the woods through medication and loving care. She was supervised by experts and soon she showed a penchant to make soft toys; a skill which even today fetches her a decent income.
“Patients are rehabilitated in groups using art and music as therapy. I make a plea to the society not to look upon mental patients as those who have taken a dip in life. When commemorating Women’s Day I say that the women in Sri Lanka should have some value; given that this country is called the pearl of the Indian Ocean” she told the Daily Mirror.
She has been on medication for the past 17 years and said that she is confident that she’ll not have a fall in life again. “As a woman I’m creative and love the aesthetic side of things, but my fall taught me to bring out the toughness in a woman and also be strong”
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