Self Help

Reviewing Shows Saved My Life

Originally published in November 2013

Three years ago, I hit rock bottom. I was only starting to recover from the death of my father, who had passed away from cancer, when my mother was also diagnosed with the Big C. The mere concept that I would eventually lose TWO parents to cancer was paralyzing. I simply didn’t know what to do with myself.

Professionally, I had just begun my first job after a year of unemployment (and self-loathing). I began working as a writer in an advertising agency, where I found myself creating stories for brands I had absolutely zero attachment to. Between my unsatisfying job and the harrowing sadness that was my mother’s cancer, every aspect of my life began to suffocate me. The future looked grim, and enormously lonely. So I got proactive, and decided to combine my two lifelong passions: television and writing.

TV has been my escape for as long as I can remember. When I immerse myself in a show that I love, everything but the story and the characters fade away. For 40 glorious minutes, I detach from reality and I forget the misery. So one particularly busy afternoon at work, I chose to clear my head by starting up a little blog: Nad’s Reviews. I’d always been fascinated by reading in-depth analysis of my favorite shows, so I promised myself that I would write down a few lines after every episode of TV that I’d watch – and trust me, I watched a lot of shows.

So there I was, writing about things I actually cared about and using the writing skills that I had been carefully honing my entire life – it was beautiful. In fact, it gave me a reason to wake up in the morning. I’d go to work, finish my assignments, and reward myself upon my return by watching… and more importantly by writing about my favorite shows. I began by writing an average of three lines about every episode, and soon enough, I began producing fully-fledged essays. What storylines worked? Which didn’t? What dialogue stood out, and what masterful twist did I absolutely not see coming. I cherished every bit of it.

Later that year, my mother’s illness intensified. Weekly chemo visits piled up, and we soon found ourselves living in the hospital for what soon became the most traumatic period of my life. I don’t think I can fathom anything worse than watching a parent wither away before your eyes. At night, my older brother and I would often take shifts watching over our beloved mother. The small hospital room, the relentlessly-beeping IV, nurses going in and out, … the cycle was endless, and it was a stretch of heartbreaking sorrow that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. But through it all, I kept writing.

A few months later, my mother passed away after an incredibly brave three-year battle with cancer. Still… I never stopped writing. In the year following my mother’s passing, I dedicated even more of my time to Nad’s Reviews. What began as a mini-journal for myself, grew remarkably fast. People actually looked forward to reading what I had to say about their latest television obsessions (not to mention the odd restaurant review or two). Their enthusiasm pushed me forward, and reinvigorated my spirit. Today, an average of 3000 people visit Nad’s Reviews on a daily basis, a far cry from the six readers I had when I first started out. The site has filled a void in my life. It’s helped me heal. It’s helped me grow. And it’s given me a purpose.

Grieving and coming to terms with my mother’s passing was, and is still not, easy. My shows and my words continue to offer me refuge, a silent escape from the horror that’s been my life. Yes I have my family (what’s left of them at least), and an extremely supportive circle of friends. But what of those moments when I’m alone? When all I have are my thoughts, my memories, and the pain that has yet to fully heal? Well, I have my blog and I have my shows. And on most days, that feels like enough.


  1. Very heartwarming and empowering. The circumstances under which your blog started are sad, but the outcome is extraordinary. It fills my heart with joy to see people with the same interests as me (writing mainly, and tv of course) get so far. Keep it up 🙂

  2. Wow. I am in awe of you, Nadim. Truly, thank for sharing your story with us. I had no idea that you have gone through all of that and now I feel like I know a little more about you. You and I both have an affinity for writing and writing saved both of us (though different circumstances). I, too, at one point hit rock bottom while living in the United States, and if it weren't for writing I don't think I would be here. So again I thank you for sharing and reminding us how precious and valuable life is and how important the arts are in life.

  3. Nadim, thank you for sharing with us the story about this impossibly hard time of you life and how you found the way to stay sane.

  4. What a moving and lovely essay, Nadim. As someone who lost a parent a cancer, your description brought a tear to my eye. Keep writing.

  5. We watch the same shows, we love the same shows and almost every single time we react the same way to episodes, plots and characters. So I thought there was no way I could possibly love you any more!

    And then you wrote THIS. The fact that you're able to share this with us shows just how far you've come, and the way you opened up didn't feel like you were writing another post–it felt like you were just telling ME these things. I've only known you for a few months, and yet I feel like we've been friends for a very long time.

    It's been “Major Pleasure” (now you repeat: “Major Pleasure” while hand-saluting), Nadim. Again I say this, you rock!

  6. Chris! Thank you for the awesome words! It is indeed scary how similar we are and I'm so glad you're part of the Nad's Reviews team. We have to find you a new show to cover now that HIMYM is over 🙂

    Major Pleasure hand salute! Haha thanks again!

  7. by encouraging me to watch many serials, you saved part of me through those very sad days & you are still saving me……

  8. The best pieces of art ever created are the ones that share the deepest secrets and emotions….
    This is when we feel with the author, and live their experiences and celebrate their triumphs!!
    Nadim! What a beautiful entry! What a powerful young man you are!
    You are an inspiration to MANY!
    Never forget that….
    Now I wipe my tears and prepare to face life!

  9. I never had a journey I didn't grow from and this one has obviously grown you, Nadim. I only regret that it was so hard for you, something no one deserves. But I am grateful that you have come to a point in your life where you could talk about it openly and share it, so that others can be comforted by it. The healing continues I know but you are so much stronger and more loving for having been through it. No? Perhaps I falsaf'id too much.

  10. Wow! I feel like both hugging you and giving you a high-five. Well done, Nadim. Stay well, stay strong, and keep writing. Maha.

  11. How deep and melancholic ! And through it all you clutched to the only way you found escape, which is writing. Much respect for your amition and yearning to proceed disregarding the grapple you faced and all the ordeals life has thrown at you.

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