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Expert Speak: An anxious person's guide to relationships

Just a basic, non-fancy doctor-approved manual

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 10 July 2018, 2:06 PM
Are you anxious?

Are you anxious? Image: Thinkstock

Navigating the ever-fluctuating hook-up culture with anxiety looks nothing like a Woody Allen movie.

Everybody experiences anxiety to a certain degree, but relationship anxiety, or 'is it a relationship?' anxiety is, perhaps, the most acute. 

"Anxiety is the commonest psychological issue. You must realise that any psychological issue works as an obstacle towards a proper, continuous, positive relationship. And it's essential to understand the problem and work your way around it," says Mumbai-based psychiatrist Kersi Chavda.

"Anxiety is not just happening to the guy next door, it can literally happen to anybody," he adds.

The good doctor gives the anxious souls some very basic guidelines to deal with relationships. 

Know your problem

"Once you're aware that you have anxiety, no matter what the degree, or how strong or moderate your anxiety attacks are, it is always advisable to get an evaluation done by a mental health professional. It may not be related to your relationship, but nevertheless, it will affect you and people around you. You should know what you are dealing with," Dr Chavda tells us.

How do we know it is major?

"When it starts affecting your normal daily life, your social and professional life. Something more than 'Oh, why didn't he or she smile at me today?' A more severe feeling than usual unease," says the doctor.


Agitation, restlessness, acute paranoia and even somatic symptoms, which basically happen when someone faces extreme bouts of anxiety. You might feel headaches, a heavy feeling in the abdomen or backache. 

Somatisation is basically the physical manifestation of a psychological distress and is more commonly seen in young people.

Anxiety is everywhere

Dr Chavda also tells us anxiety can stem from anything and you should not penalise yourself or your partner. 

"It could be related to anything, any minor discord, maybe an open relationship, or a relationship which has some amount of suspiciousness or any minor fears about fidelity, or a sense of paranoia, which is very common. A sense of impending doom, which often makes us think something bad might happen," says Dr Chavda.

You. Must. Talk

A lot has been said about involving your partner in your anxiety struggles and the doctor tells us that you must let your partner know about your mental health issues.

You can take note from actor Kelsey Darragh, who mapped out a handy list for her partner, to tell him what he should do when she is having a panic attack. 

"It is essential to talk it out with their partner, as it also affects them, and it often gets pretty restrictive for them. So, definitely talk to them," the doctor advises. 

Millennial troubles

You'd be surprised to know that your age or relationship status does not affect how anxious you get.

"It does not matter whether you are old or young, whether you are in an open relationship or a closed one. I often see millennials saying they can't have anxiety as they are so young. That's crap. If we're looking at anxiety across the spectrum, we must know this can affect an unwitting layman and a well-informed youth in the same way," says Dr Chavda.

That damn commitment

From your partner's texting habits, to their latest social media post, to how you share your finances, and of course, if you want the commitment at all, some of the commonest reasons why you might be anxious revolve around the notion of fidelity.

A routine helps

"Right now, I'm dealing with a bunch of people who are sleeping for four hours at night and three hours in the afternoon and tell me, 'Isn't that enough?' No, we need a continuous feeling of rest, which entails a seven-hour sleep. Also, most of us in this country, we end up working too hard. Get in an order and allow yourself some time off, and also make sure you have a habit of physical activities. Routine, and more importantly, a sense of routine helps," Dr Chavda tells us.

Read more:

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