Praneet Kaur is a counseling psychologist, relationship expert, and sexual abuse trauma recovery specialist. Her therapy approach is to make her clients self-reliant and emotionally independent that gives them the strength to face the challenges and enjoy the joys of life. Praneet believes in addressing the root of the problem. She works with anxiety issues, depression, underachievement, procrastination, perfectionism, family conflicts, and more.
Be it a relationship, a friendship, or an opportunity which is not coming through, when is the right time to let go? When do we stop being optimistic?
There is no universal answer to that. In any manner of relationship, there is always going to be a set of both positive and negative emotions. When the negative emotions outnumber the positive ones, and you realize that you are complaining more, and have started feeling increasingly insecure, jealous, uncomfortable, and suffocated, that might be a good time to let go. I always ask my clients to let emotions be the marker of where they should go next.
How can an emotionally awkward person express themselves?
It is only a matter of realization. As a relationship counselor, I can tell you that the major reason for conflict in relationships, romantic or otherwise, is because people refrain from expressing their expectations and needs, and absurdly expect the other party to somehow figure it out. If you want something, you have to step up and ask for it. If you are thirsty, you have to walk to the well to draw the water. The well won’t come to you.
If one feels hesitant in expressing their expectations, they have to look into what exactly is stopping them from doing so. Sometimes, there is a fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability, etc., which needs to be addressed for a person to overcome their insecurity.
Can daydreaming be harmful to one’s mental health, even if it provides temporary relief?
Anything that provides only temporary relief is not beneficial for our mental health. There is fantasizing or daydreaming, and then there is lamming – visualizing what you want or happen in your life – these are very different things. Fantasizing or daydreaming essentially means that you’re cooking up a false scenario in your head. It provides short-lived respite. For example, If I don’t have a partner, yet I am investing all of my energy, time, and emotions in thinking of a person and enjoying those thoughts which are not even real.
Now, what conspires is that you will hate accepting the reality and struggle to make peace with it. The more often you daydream, the lesser you live. If that happens, you won’t proactively make a change in the aspects of your life that you dislike, and satisfy yourself with a false cooked up reality. It is a vicious cycle, as you end up dysfunctional, a procrastinator, unproductive, and an airhead.
My parents do not understand the concept of personal space. How do I keep my mental peace without butchering our relationship?
An open discussion about your mental health with your family is not something that happens overnight. Even us millennials struggle with understanding the concept of mental health. We might have a basic understanding of its importance on an ideological level, but we still hesitate to seek help. The older generation conforms to a more rigid belief system, so It’ll take a lot more sessions, reading, talking, and engagement with persons living with mental health issues or professionals than it took us, for them to harvest an understanding of mental health. It will take time and effort, so before you jump in and judge them on their lack of consideration, you must try and put yourself in their shoes. You have to be creative in your approach, rather than just barging in. You have to build up a platform, have a conversation with them, show them documentaries, movies, and ask them about their views before you explain your situation to them.
COVID-19 has hampered a source of positive energy for people who run on fuel derived from social interactions. How can they keep themselves from despairing?
Humans are social animals, and stepping out provides a stimulus for them to interact with others. However, positivity can be generated from within. Lack of external stimulus does not necessarily mean a lack of positivity.
Earlier on, people were able to go out and party, shop or chat their troubles away, but that’s not possible nowadays. Of course, some people derive a lot of joy from meeting their friends. While the world is fighting the virus, we have lost contact with the peripheral things – getting dressed, going out to fancy places, just the whole experience of stepping out of the four walls, and interacting with the bigger world. As such, It is imperative to understand that we are physical distancing, not social distancing.
Whenever society undergoes a transition like this, we all need to deal with it very creatively. My clients are telling me how they’re getting dressed up, pouring a glass of wine, and interacting with family and friends virtually. We can’t just give up on the situation, so the idea is being able to find freedom in confinement.
How does one keep themselves from cutting people off when they need time to stay low and heal?
People cut themselves off from the people around them for various reasons. Sometimes, people distance themselves from others to test if those close to them will notice and is a way to get attention. Often, people also have difficulty being vulnerable as they fear being taken advantage of in their weakened state, being rejected or dismissed. No human wants to appear weak, because it leads to feelings of losing control or our position in society.
Self-victimization is also something where people self-pity and self-blame as a way to garner attention. They somehow start romanticizing sadness and enjoying that space. The only factor common in all of the above scenarios is that one must reach out for help as studies show that connecting with people helps overcome insecurities and vulnerabilities.
What steps can I take when a friend shares his/her distress? How do I judge if they’re upset or thinking of self-harm?
There is no cookie-cutter response to this, and there is no universal marker of when a person might be suicidal. If there are any such markers, it’s best to contact the professionals rather than trying to handle it yourself, because if the situation is mishandled, it can go very wrong as well as take a toll on your mental health.
There have been a lot of discussions on Sushant Singh’s death, and the fact at hand is that suicide is not a split-second decision. Suicide is a build-up to a point where life becomes synonymous with suffering. Help your friends before they give up, don’t wait until the situation worsens to the extent that they might harm themselves. You have to convince them to seek help while there is still hope.