Q: Hi, I am 21 years old and ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be alone, as I felt comfortable in my own company. I do not have that many friends, but I often feel awkward even around a few when close to me. I try my best to avoid social interactions and prefer staying at home as much as possible. When I get a day off from work, I stay at home all day and assure myself that this is what I want, even though I know that this is not true. Whenever I am forced into a social situation, I start getting withdrawn to a point that people never realise that I exist. I find it really difficult to start a conversation and never join in when others chat. Once I am home, I tend to reflect again on the events that depress me a lot. I don’t know if this is merely social phobia or a much more complex problem that needs to be addressed by an expert. Please tell me if I can do something about this, because it is affecting my personality and life gradually. Zainab
A: Dear Zainab, to be very honest, it does not appear that you are naturally an introvert. From all that you have stated about yourself, you miss being at ease around people. Even though you have a couple of friends, you try not mingling with them due to anxiety issues. The fact that being with others is an ordeal for you suggests that you are possibly suffering from anxiety disorder. The only way to find this out and fix it is to consult a therapist; an expert that can spend some time with you and explore your problem in detail. As far as coping strategies are concerned, progressive desensitisation helps those suffering from social phobia; if that is exactly your problem. But you need to keep in mind that treatment should always be motivated by an accurate diagnosis. Even the best of interventions are not as effectual if they are not targeting the right issue, which can further waste your time and provide more time for the symptoms to worsen. Therefore, consult a professional and get yourself evaluated before jumping to treatments.
Q: Hello! I am 26-years-old and a software engineer. Three years ago, I lost my father to a cardiac arrest and just four months ago I lost my brother in a road accident. The sudden death of two of my loved ones has left me in a state of shock, making it difficult for me to cope with the tragedies. I loved both, my father and brother a lot and I just cannot seem to get over the loss. I recently got married, and was really happy considering my husband is a great guy, but after a few days I again started feeling the absence of both, my father and brother, merely because they were not beside me at the most memorable day of my life. Everyday, a thought crosses my mind that I will gradually lose all my loved ones and all the negative and worst possible scenarios occupy my mind. Please tell me how to get rid of this trauma. Muzna
A: Dear Muzna, it is certainly an irreversible loss and the pain too, is irreplaceable. This very reality cannot be changed and has to be accepted. All I can do is guide you a little about coping with the loss of a loved one. Firstly, think about all the care and love they had given you and that they made your life meaningful. Remember the way they encouraged you in life. Replay your worst fear at once everyday; you might feel anxious at first or maybe for a few days, but this technique will free your mind of all the negative thoughts you keep getting. Talk to your family members about this and spend as much time as you can with the rest of your family, it is as much difficult for them as it is for you. Engage yourself in different hobbies, as it will occupy your mind for a good period of time. It is a fact that everyone will die one day and never return. But this certainly does not mean that we, the living, stop celebrating our lives with the rest of our loved ones, while keeping those whom we lost always in our thoughts.
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