Looking for a bridge over troubled water? KRITHVI SHYAM, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties.

I have a problem, but I don’t know what exactly it is. The thing is that, I don’t know whether do I have any problem with my so-called friends or do they have any problem with me. But I feel like they just use me whenever they want something. This shows they are selfish, right? They talk sweetly to me but behind my back they are totally opposite. And because of this am disturbed everyday. I just want to be away from all these things, even away from the so-called friends, as my studies are also getting affected. How do I deal with this?


You haven’t said why you suspect your “friends” of being selfish and two-faced, or if something (or someone) has confirmed your suspicions. However, it’s clear that these people are a toxic presence in your life, especially during a period when you’ve got enough to deal with as it is. It’s time you cut ties with them and moved on. Although, instead of dropping them completely and starting afresh, taking things slowly might be more helpful. Maybe you could gradually distance yourself from them, while spending more time with other people who are potential friend-material. I would also suggest you visit your school counsellor. These kinds of problems don’t usually have just one solution, nor can they be resolved overnight. It’s important to find someone who can help you gain control over your thoughts and work through your emotions, so that you are ready to face these next two years with confidence.


An uncle I am very close to died recently. Unfortunately, it is also my first experience with death. Hence it seems to have affected me in the sense that I am now constantly thinking about death, the inevitability of it, the purpose of life and stuff like that. It's constantly playing in my head. How do I deal with it? What are the things that I can rather learn from it? 


I am very sorry for your loss. The things you’ve described are completely normal, not just for people who have had their first experience with loss, but even those who have lost loved ones before. I’m no philosopher (is that even a valid occupation these days?), so I can’t really comment on the purpose of life. However, I do think that you would find some answers if you spoke to others who are/have been in a similar predicament to yours. Try joining a bereavement support group online, for instance. Reading books on how to cope with grief will help you understand your feelings better at this time as well. To honour your uncle’s memory, maybe you could also pursue causes that were important to him (like volunteering in a charity that he would have wanted to support). As for what you can learn from this, I think that varies from one individual to another. Perhaps, since you were close to your uncle, you might find that you come away from this experience with a greater appreciation for those who are with you in the present.


Good GriefDecember 12, 2012