To help readers cope with their corona anxieties, The Times of India has launched Talk it Out, a series under which our panel of expert counsellors will answer your mental health queries. This week’s advice comes from psychologist Dr. Roma Kumar.
I am a 24-year-old woman. I was a very good student, but my parents didn’t support me in furthering my studies. Eight months after graduation, I joined an HR consultancy. They didn’t give me proper training, so I couldn’t adjust. Since then I have changed three jobs. I had become very low during that time. I then joined a firm, and all was going well but one day my manager suddenly told me that I need not come. My health took a hit. I have recently joined another firm, but things are on hold due to the pandemic. I really feel depressed. Even though it’s been two years since graduation, I don’t have any experience as such. Please help me.
The stress that you have been going through can be really overwhelming. Try to challenge your negative thoughts. This would help you deal with the loss and move on. Find other ways to define yourself. Pursue activities that bring purpose and joy to life. Try a new hobby. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress as it releases powerful endorphins to lift your mood. Most successful people have experienced major setbacks in their careers but have turned things around by picking themselves up, learning from their experiences, and trying again. You can do the same.
I am a woman in my late thirties. For the last five months, I’ve been abused by my parents. As of now I’m jobless. They blame me for the difficulties in my personal and professional life. I am working towards finding a better job once the pandemic ends, but my family is making things difficult, denying me food at times. They want to marry me off. I’m stressed. Please help. — Anonymous
It is understandable that you currently have a strained relationship with your parents. This can further make emotions very confusing, conflicting and difficult. In our country, people still nurture conservative thinking. Try not to lose patience and hold any grudge against your parents or judge them. Speak to them and make them understand your plans for life. All of us need to take responsibility for ourselves. You will need to face your feelings and give yourself time to adjust. Try to become financially independent and build a strong support system of friends and/or other family members. Stop this negativity.
I have been in a relationship with a girl for five years. I am unemployed and am preparing for a government exam. I have not achieved success yet, which is frustrating. I need mental support. But my relationship has changed during the lockdown. We have not met for five months, nor have we chatted or communicated. But during this period, I have started talking to another girl. I have never met her, but she is very supportive. She has helped me to come out of a tough phase. I am also attracted to her. Now I don’t know if I am cheating on my girlfriend. I am in a dilemma.
The pandemic seems to have reshaped your relationship in an unprecedented way. Managing the distance and the relationship must have been hard, and also because your partner has stopped communicating. Whatever may be the reason, there seems to be some guilt. It would be good to be honest with your partner. Either commit to your partner or rethink your future through introspection.
I’m a final-year degree student. The pandemic has played a major role in worsening my life, mentally and physically. I hate myself. My boyfriend broke up with me after a lot of misunderstanding and unnecessary fights. I also hate staying at home for months together. I have quarrelled with my parents too. I hardly have any friends whom I can rely on and talk to openly. I want to become better but don’t know how. Please help.
The pandemic, death, and social isolation seem to have caused you a lot of trouble. Grief is a normal response to the loss of a loved one. But despite these challenges, you need to focus on the opportunities it has given you to critically re-evaluate your relationships. Take this time to grow and be open to change. There’s always an experience yet to be explored. Acknowledge your losses and grief and follow a structured routine. You can find comfort through art, gardening, writing, talking to friends or family, cooking, music or other creative practices. Try to stay in the present and focus on aspects of your life that you have control over.
I am a student of 10th standard in West Bengal. I’m having extreme mood swings due to the confusion reigning about the upcoming board exams. I hereby request your assistance on how to handle this confusion and what should be the study pattern in these testing times to come out with flying colours.
— Anonymous student
It is understandable that the nationwide lockdown because of the pandemic has thrown all your study plans into disarray and left you deeply anxious and worried and upheaval. As we are all adapting to the circumstances, you must recognise that it is a difficult situation and find ways to keep yourself motivated and on track with your goals. You must keep your long-term ambitions in mind and supplement your study efforts with a healthy diet, proper hydration, exercises, and fun activities to break the monotony. Set your goals according to your potential and priorities. Before you start any task, evaluate the time required and efforts to complete it. Take regular breaks as it will enhance your learning capacity. Meditation, physical exercise and sleeping well will help calm your mind and improve your concentration. Always be positive and believe in yourself to achieve excellence in all that you do.