I find it hard to open up to people. Recently, I started therapy to overcome this but even there, I find it hard to open up and show my vulnerable side. What should I do?

Acknowledging and talking about emotions, especially negative ones, is an important skill for everyone. It helps one stay in touch with themselves, be aware of their needs and take care of themselves better. There are barriers sometimes that prevent people from communicating needs and emotions. Sometimes, they might be afraid of appearing vulnerable, weak or may fear judgement, dismissal or even believe that it’s a burden to others and that they are being too sensitive about life. One may also have come to believe that they don’t need anyone else and hence, they need not discuss their feelings. Understanding your personal barrier and fear can help develop strategies to overcome these misconceptions and beliefs. Apart from therapy, we also recommend that you try journaling, which generally helps people to become more self-aware. Finding one or two friends who you trust and discussing life on a routine basis can make you more open to talking about big feelings when you need to.

I have a two-year-old kid and always thought I’d be a cool mum, but now I find, to my horror, that I’m obsessing over my child. Please help.

Many new mothers (parents) are shocked to realise how much time and work goes into being a parent. Sometimes, we over-estimate and minimise what it might take to be one. Anxiety in a new role is quite normal but when it begins to disrupt your life, then it calls for personal work. We would like you to take some time to pause and reflect on what it is about being a mother that makes you anxious. Is it the worry about your child’s safety and health? Worry about lack of control or of the future? Are you consumed by rigid expectations for yourself? When you find answers to these questions (or others), you can build strategies that can help you cope better. Finding time for yourself, engaging in hobbies and developing friendships with other mothers can help you realise that you are not alone and your fears are part of being a mother. But also try to find out who you are, apart from being a mother. This redefinition and broadening your sense of identity can also lessen the burden you currently feel.