Beat your Lockdown Blues: All your mental health queries answered by Dr Anjali Chhabria
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I am 25 years old. I moved out of my house last year to an apartment close to my parents. Being alone is stressful. I cannot even visit them because their society has strict rules and they are also a little old. I am constantly worried about how they are faring. I talk to them once a day. I have been managing on my own so far, but I can feel myself slipping into depression like the old days. I used to spiral into anxiety and self-pity and used social situations to cheer up. I try to keep abreast of the current situation, but then feel more fear seeing the news. I barely even eat anything and don’t know what to do.

Ans: The current situation has the potential to trigger underlying psychological issues, especially depression and anxiety. The idea of being locked up in your house without having to meet or see anyone could get overwhelming. I would recommend you to start therapy sessions so that you are able to handle the onset of depressive symptoms better. A therapist would be able to equip you with helpful tools to sustain the current lockdown in a healthy manner, both physically and mentally.

One of my dear friends passed away due to COVID-19 and I have been feeling very low since then. I’m worried about his wife and children; they couldn’t even go to see him. Many people and families have been shattered and they cannot even see the person for the last time...thinking about such things has made me feel very low. Since I live in a joint family with elders, I cannot go out and help with charity work. Work is also slow, so my thoughts don’t leave me. When will all of this get over? Can you help me?

Ans: I am hearing that emotionally last few weeks have been very challenging for you. It is quite devastating for the families who have lost someone to COVID-19 and are unable to meet the person for one last time. Your need to help others is quite noble and can be channelised effectively by working from home with some NGO or COVID-19 specific organization. Not all volunteers are needed on the ground. With some research you can surely find something to work upon and contribute. In order to counter negative thoughts you can start investing time in either finding an avenue to provide services or brainstorming for ways to help with other like-minded people.

I’m 22. Last year, I came out to my whole extended family as bisexual. This happened accidentally because of an incident and I did not foresee happening. My parents had known for a while and they didn’t understand or necessarily agree, but gave me space and respected my decision. My dad still doesn’t like to talk about it. However, my uncle came to stay with us for the lockdown and he’s extremely conservative. He degrades and humiliates me. I feel scared, angry and ashamed and have stopped talking to any of my friends. I don’t know what to do since we are in the same house and no one seems to stand up for me.

Ans: The entire process of coming out to your parents and family is emotionally quite draining. You bare yourself completely, hoping they will understand and accept you for who you are. I am sorry that your uncle doesn’t believe that an individual has a right to express and experience life as per their liking. At times confronting such behaviour often helps bring some peace. Along with your parents make it a point to bring it to your uncle’s notice that you do not stand for such treatment towards yourself. In case you find no support remember you are your strongest ally.

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