Agony Aunt: I have everything that I always wanted. Yet, I do not feel completely happy

The pursuit of happiness

Right now in my life, I have everything that I always wanted. I have a relationship that makes me happy, my work is booming and my family is very supportive of everything I do. Yet I do not feel completely happy, I am not content with my life and I do not know what to do about it. I have tried focusing on my hobbies such as travelling; but the moment I return to my life, I feel the same way. Is something wrong with me? What can I do about this?

The constant feeling of un-fulfilment despite there being fulfilment in different areas of your life could be an indicator of underlying depression that often goes unnoticed. This is also known as high-functioning depression. The symptoms you have mentioned resemble high functioning depression however, visiting a psychologist and getting a better understanding would be beneficial. Becoming aware of the source of your discontentment could help in resolving it and prevent the spillover that is currently happening in most other areas of our life.

Victim of OCD

During instances of sadness or anger, I would focus my attention on work or usually I would begin cleaning. This would work for me as I could put the incident out of my mind and feel better eventually. But now, I have begun getting obsessive about the work that I do for distraction. If I start cleaning when I’m sad, then I find it hard to get myself to stop and need everything to be perfect and absolutely organised; I have never had such obsessive thoughts before, such that I feel a very strong urge to keep doing it and am unable to stop even after I start feeling better. Can I stop these thoughts?

Often, in times of difficulties, our brain develops patterns of the ways that have proved to be beneficial. In your case, what started as a distraction from negative emotions has, in turn, become a source of concern. From your narration, this seems to be the start of obsessive-compulsive disorder which can be medically treated. A psychiatrist would be able to help you to understand this better and help you overcome it.

Courtship & confusion

My boyfriend and I have recently decided to move in together. We have been dating for the past two years and in the last six months, we have seriously thought about living together before marrying each other. Both of us feel that marriage is a huge step; hence, we wish to know and understand that being together in each other’s space will not cause friction and/or the eventual descent of our relationship. I wish to know how to be sure of this decision. Also, I am anxious about the possibility that this may not culminate into marriage if things turn out badly.

I believe taking a decision to move in together would have been difficult as it is a major change in your daily life. Your reasons for moving in together seem to address most of the concerns that two people contemplating a committed relationship would have. However, the anxiety mentioned appears to stem from your own personal expectations for success/failure regarding this decision. In order to determine whether this decision culminates into a long-lasting relationship, the only way is to actually take this step, be committed to your decision, as well as be honest towards it.

Bad side of binge watching

I have a friend who is addicted to watching shows online. She binge watches shows on Netflix, Prime, and HotStar to name a few. In the last three months itself, she has finished watching over 50 shows and she also brags about it. The flip side to this is that she neglects everything else around her in order to get more time for watching the shows. Her mother got worried about her and spoke to me a few days ago and told me that she had started neglecting personal hygiene as well. I want to help her create a balance, what should I do?

The description above suggests screen addiction which will require a rigorous de-addiction program as your friend is seen neglecting hygiene and other day-to-day activities. It is essential to rule out the possibility of there being some underlying psychological concern that could be resulting in screen dependency as a coping mechanism. Thus, rather than calling her out on her addiction, if you focus on what makes her resort to this, you will be better able to curb this the problem at the root. Additionally, you would be only able to guide her through this process and not create a balance as that is something she alone can invest in.

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