A mother’s melancholy
My 18-year-old son marched in the Mumbai Pride as an openly gay young man in an attire that was not usual in society. While I love him very much and would like to do my best to accept him, the stress on Indian society, my husband being a non-understanding “macho man”, the taunts of relatives and non-understanding in-laws is causing me severe stress, anxiety and panic. I do not want to stifle my son but I am reaching a point of break-down myself.
Ans: The situation somewhere requires you to talk about your anxieties to a professional who may be able to help you learn techniques for managing the external factors without losing your calm. You support for your son can only happen if you are emotionally in a stronger state. It is alright to let your son know that you are trying your best at being there for him but at times your anxieties might get better of you and this has nothing to do with him. Your son needs to see you as strength but at the same time learn to acknowledge your vulnerabilities as well. Thus, you can let go of the strong persona once in a while and accept that you also need to be taken care by people around you when need arises.
Living under a shell
My 23-year-old daughter who has always been an introvert has been consistently been further going into a shell. She prefers to read, avoid social interaction and move out and make friends. Recently she has begun locking herself in her room for hours on end. She has always been close to my wife and me…but now refuses to say much. Very worried parents here.
Ans: I understand that the behaviour would cause an alarm for you and this does need some investigation. Reach out to her in a different manner by spending time with her without expectation of her talking, once she sees that she can be herself with you, there is higher possibility of her talking things out. Often as parents you may transfer your own anxieties onto the children not being able to differentiate between the two. Try approaching her without your anxieties so that you can be there for her completely unbiased. The more you make her feel comfortable around you the less she will feel the need to remain in the room or keep her distance from you all.
Troubles of overthinking
I am a 33-year-old successful marketing consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. Being exposed to the nuances of the medical industry, signs, symptoms etc as a result of attending medical conferences, my awareness of these things is an essential requirement of my profession. However, since the last six months every time I am down with even a bad cold, I overthink the signs and symptoms and relate it to my knowledge in the professional field that I have learnt. I then think and overthink and a common cold can become pneumonia in my head. I can’t get the obsession out of my mind.
Ans: Often working excessively in a given field might lead to thorough knowledge which might be detrimental if the fine line is blurred between knowledge and its application. The insight here will help in getting this sudden magnification in thought under control. There could be various reasons at play here and working with a professional can help you deal with situations at work and personal life better in terms of health. Cognitive Behavioural therapy would be good start to work on the obsessions as thoughts and actions both need reworking.
Never-ending family fights
My parents have been fighting ever since I was a child. All I have seen is fight, violence, abuse. I crave for a normal day ever since I saw my friends’ houses being normal and without such daily screaming matches. I have realised nothing will change in my house. I tried harming myself for a while but to no avail. Each time I would end up with few cuts or bruises. Now I really want to kill myself. Life is not worth living.
Ans: I understand the anguish and the daily frustration of living in an environment which affects you negatively. The thought of suicide is the final straw as far as your patience is concerned but there are so many other ways which can be instrumental in making yourself feel comfortable. To begin with, involve someone from the extended family here so that even if you decide to move out of this environment for a couple of days till your parents gain an understanding then there is family support. Your parents and you might require family counselling so as to contain this issue from escalating negatively. Giving up on life is an extreme step and you voicing out your problem here indicates that you do wish to give yourself a chance at working out things for yourself to begin with. Let’s first aim at that and then target family as a whole.
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