Ask The Mentalist: Unloved at birth
'A stitch in time saves nine', this is most true for health issues especially mental health issues that we deprioritise over every thing else in our lives even though we know it is the mind that controls our well-being and behaviour and most of the social discords.
India got its first medical health policy in 2015 and the Mental Health bill was passed in the Parliament in 2016 but how many are aware of it? Unfortunately in our country mental health issues are sidetracked for lack of awareness. According to WHO projections, about 20 per cent of India's population would suffer from some form of mental illness by 2020. The country has only about 3,500 psychiatrists. while the government is working on reducing this huge mismatch it is also the individual's responsibility to understand and evaluate signs and symptoms that could get projected into major health issues if not detected and treated in time. Your anxieties, depressions and mood swings are not natural, they are triggered, and we need to address these stimuli and counter the negative emotions. Examination stress and job-related anxieties are steadily gaining attention so much so that most big organisations have a mental health team that constantly proffers help to employees. As such, we are taking a small step ahead and you could help yourself and others by posing your dilemmas and questions here.
Hi, I am a 32-year-old woman who separated from her husband two years back. I have had a difficult life in terms of relationships as I had a very estranged relationship with my parents. They always seemed to love my younger brother more, who has been the apple of my eyes too and is the only person in this whole wide world that I can relate too. He loves me a lot too. But I think things were not great between my parents and me even before he was born. I was tagged as the troublemaker and it bothered me then as much as it bothers me now. I was seeing my ex-husband in college and my parents knew I was committed to him but still insisted on finding me a match. When I stifled those attempts they were more hostile to me. They presided over my marriage but not as well wishers, they were cold and lamenting to me throughout and even all the 10 years that I was married to my ex. Somehow all the people I have been related to, sibling, cousins, friends and finally my husband were treated more favourably and esteemed higher than me. As a child I found my parents complaining to my friends about me and my friends used to laugh it off, but how many of them would now? They adopted the same pattern with my husband or my friends as an adult. I have tried to talk to them and show them how deterring they have been to my personality and self confidence and they have always told me it's my own doing. I can't feel much affection for them. I don't take their responsibility anymore. And that makes me feel like an ungrateful, selfish child. What do I do?
Dear Guilty, it is painful to not have receive the love that each child wants to experience from their parents. It is painful to accept that this is something you have not had. It also seems that you continue to feel angry with them. You would still want them to try and be the parents you would like them to be. There are disappointments that you have felt in your relationship with them, and so have they. It is helpful to introspect and see if you feel ready to let yourself heal your pain and to find a way to forgive them. They might have tried to do their best for you in their own way, though sometimes it hard to see and accept it was the best. Also remember, your feelings from the past are coming in the way of creating a better relationship with them in the present.
Dr. Shruti Kalra is a Consultant and a Clinical Psychologist at VIMHANS Hospital, Delhi, for the last 10 years. She specializes in the areas of relationships, marital and family Issues, adult mental health, depression, counseling skills and psychological assessment. If you have a question or would just like some friendly advice, you can write to us here.
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