Exclusive CommunityCerita

I Was Lonely And Depressed For 2 Years After My Best Friend Took His Life, But It Taught Me To Be An Independent Person

"It was tough, but it definitely changed me for the better."

Exclusive Story by WeirdKaya – Reproduction requires proper crediting and backlink to us. Kindly acknowledge the efforts of our editors in sourcing and conducting interviews.

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In today’s career world, sticking to just one job forever has been largely deemed as “old-fashioned” as the prevalent rule of thought nowadays is to keep searching until one finds a job that truly makes them happy.

Meet Srimanimegala Sathiavelu, or fondly known as Sri. At just 27 years old, she’s already worn multiple hats, transitioning seamlessly from petroleum geosciences to content creation and entrepreneurship.

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Sri’s journey teaches us the value of exploring different interests and grabbing opportunities when they arise.

Pursued petroleum geosciences

Sri’s career journey started unexpectedly in her teens. After finishing her PMR exams, like many young people, she went to a career fair. There, she discovered a booth from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), highlighting opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

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I was lonely and depressed for 2 years after my best friend took his life, but it taught me to be an independent person | weirdkaya
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Intrigued by the promise of good pay and the allure of working at sea, Sri chose to pursue petroleum geosciences even though she didn’t know much about it at first.

At 15, I thought it seemed interesting, and I adore the sea. The booth showcased working on rigs, which seemed amazing.

Despite her doubts, Sri applied for the Petroleum Geoscience course after SPM and was thrilled upon UTP accepting her application.

Not one to sit around doing nothing

2020 was a tough year for a lot of people, and Sri wasn’t exempt from it. As someone who thrives on staying busy and having a sense of purpose, she found it difficult to figure out how to navigate through the chaos when the pandemic hit.

Srimanimegala worked as foodpanda rider during pandemic
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With lockdowns in full force during the pandemic, Sri faced the challenge of finding work in a tough job market. Wanting to stay active, Sri decided to become a food delivery rider as she couldn’t bear the thought of lazing around at home.

Aside from her food delivery job, Sri also worked as an administrator at a billboard company, which kept her extremely busy as she juggled between the two jobs.

“Juggling both roles was tough. After finishing my admin work at 6pm, I’d quickly change into my delivery uniform and hop onto my bicycle to deliver orders for about four hours.

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“It was tiring, with each delivery being around 2 kilometres away. But I kept at it because I hate being bored at home,” she said.

Despite her strong exterior, Sri still had her moments of doubt. She felt worthless after a year of not landing a steady job and this inner insecurity grew by the day as she worried about whether she could hold on to her food delivery job due to its uncertain nature.

At one point, I felt useless after not having a proper job for a year. I asked myself: ‘Is this it? I can’t be a food rider forever.’

Experienced decline in physical & mental health

In the midst of all the ups and downs, a chance for change appeared. A friend of Sri’s cousin offered her a job as a geo-technical engineer, which seemed like a fresh start.

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Srimanimegala geo technical engineer
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But when she got into it, Sri realised it was more about construction engineering, which wasn’t what she had in mind. The mismatch between her skills and the job’s demands left her feeling lost and unsure.

Not to mention, Sri also faced long working hours and feeling unappreciated.

“I remember how exhausting it was when I worked six days a week, starting at 7.30 am and finishing at 6.30pm. Some days, I worked for more than 17-18 hours, and I didn’t get paid for overtime. It was tough, especially when my colleagues didn’t show up and I had to do their work too.

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“It wasn’t good for my physical and mental health. It drained all my energy, and I didn’t even have time for myself. I’d work, take a shower, and then be too tired to even eat dinner before I went to bed. After 6 months, I decided to quit and immediately got a call from a manufacturing oil & gas company as a graduate engineer, ” she recounted.

Lost her best friend to suicide

Larrvinraj, sri bestfriend

In the same year where the pandemic first began, Sri faced a devastating blow in the form of her best friend’s demise, Larrvinraj, who decided ended his life.

This heartbreaking loss shattered her world, plunging her into loneliness and depression.

I had a best friend and he committed suicide. That was when I truly hit rock bottom.

“He was the person I talked to all day updating my day-to-day life. When he did what he did, I didn’t see it coming at all,” she recalled sorrowfully.

Even though her family tried to help, Sri still felt incredibly alone and lost in despair. “My family is supportive, but no one could save me from this loneliness and depression that I had,” she explained.

From June 2020 to 2022, Sri struggled with her grief and loneliness. But in the midst of it all, she found strength she didn’t know she had.

“That was when I became someone who could stand on my own. It was also the time where I understood that I had to forge on alone and that no one is going to save me.

“It was tough, but it definitely changed me for the better.”

‘If you’re not happy, leave’

Srimanimegala content creator
Provided to WeirdKaya

Most have been taught while growing up to stick to one single job and that climbing the corporate ladder is the key to success. But for people like Sri, that wasn’t how it turned out at all.

“I actually felt dumb every time I started a new job because I will be back at zero in experience as it was a whole different jobscope. And this feeling was what kept pushing me to search for something better.

“There was also this constant thought in me that often asked whether there was more to my career than what I’m currently doing. This is why I kept trying new things to find out,” she said.

Sri added that her job-hopping wasn’t so much of moving on to the next position. Rather, it was a form of “escape” for her from jobs that does not align with her dreams. 

My motivation is to just keep going. If it’s not it, I’ll just start fresh.

Sri was determined to find something that truly made her happy, so she welcomed change as a regular part of her journey, not just something that happened once in a while.

As a teenager, Sri always dreamed of traveling the world, but she also knew that to make this dream a reality, she needed money. So, she aimed for a career in the oil and gas (O&G) sector because it promised good earnings.

Thus, when she received her first paycheck from an engineering job, she wasted no time in using it to go on a solo trip to Thailand, where she embarked on an adventure which changed her life and made her even more determined to make travel a top priority.

Stumbled upon ‘gua sha’

Along her journey of self-discovery, Sri came across ‘gua sha’ (刮痧), an ancient Chinese healing technique. Finding it unique and fascinating, she began sharing about it on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Srimanimegala gua sha
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“There weren’t many people talking about ‘gua sha’ within the Malaysian Indian community, so I decided to give it a shot. Even though I wasn’t an expert in ‘gua sha’, I went on a 30-day challenge to try it out and shared my experience with my followers.”

To her surprise, her interest in ‘gua sha’ paved the way for her to get involved in the content creation scene and soon found that a bunch of people started following her as they loved her realness and how she shared her skincare and lifestyle tips. So, she decided to give back something in return to the community for the support and love she got throughout this journey. 

Sri eventually got her big break when one of her videos went viral and had everyone talking about ‘gua sha’ as though it was the real deal in town.

When asked about her online success, this was what Sri had to say:

“To build a community, you need to keep putting out content that educates people. I thought about what I could manage while working my day job and noticed people often talked about my skin and hair.

I saw there wasn’t much awareness about ‘gua sha’ in the community so , I wanted to do something different and give them what they need but that is not in the market and that is how Goochy & Coffee was born.” 

‘The meaning of success is relative’

I was lonely and depressed for 2 years after my best friend took his life, but it taught me to be an independent person | weirdkaya
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As Sri explored her path to self-discovery, those who didn’t understand her dreams raised doubts over some of her decisions.

“I remember this one particular person who said: ‘Traveling for a living is not logical. And your dream isn’t logical!,” she recalled.

But for Sri, success goes beyond society’s standards and is about feeling liberated and joyful, not just hitting specific goals or fitting into societal molds.

Success to me is to be wild and free. What is successful to others is not your success. If you’re genuinely happy and feel good enough, you are already successful. Not everyone has the privilege to have a peaceful mind and be happy.

Sri also cautioned those keen about trying out different career paths on taking advice from people whose goals were different from theirs.

“Don’t take advice from someone who you don’t want to be even though they’re successful. If this person is a doctor but your dream is to be a teacher, you wouldn’t ask any advice from a doctor who is generally deemed as successful.”

Sri is also a firm believer in being brave and adaptable when switching jobs, adding that one should grab opportunities and accept change, even if things don’t always work out.

“Go for it. You’ll never know unless you try. What’s the worst that could happen? If you fail, it’s ok. You can always try something different. Who knows, you might fall in love with your next career.”

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