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ASK ANU: 'I feel suffocated. I want to be happy'

September 06, 2021 10:37 IST

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Pixabay.com

Is your relationship causing you stress?

Are you feeling lonely, helpless, indecisive?

You are not alone!

As part of an initiative to help Rediff readers, mind/life coach, NLP trainer and mental health guru Anu Krishna wants you to talk about your problems.

Every week, Anu will answer your queries, address your concerns and offer expert advice on how you can take control of your life.

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here's the unedited excerpt from Anu's latest offline session with readers:


AB: I'm working in a company for last 10 years and have been a consistent good performer. The management recognises it too.

But in the last 2-3 years one person from Finance (same as my level) has been consistently interfering and keeps talking negative about my work.

He makes my working as routine and not much significant to current output by constantly talking / pushing to management mentioning negatives of my doings.

He is dominating the entire company and our management knows it but doesn't contradict him on face and keep avoiding issues when we talk of it.

He controls all our efforts and denies execution / completion even if approved by CEO quoting himself as finance controller and approves for other things who doesn't object to him.

On confrontation he avoids us and changes his stance - denies he ever did it.

It is becoming very difficult to bear every day frustrations though I haven't allowed him any chance to say on my performance as every year we surpass targets with 10-15% higher achievement and collections front too we succeed efficiently.

He is been responsible for legal matters and hasn't been effective of recovery of bad debts and smartly puts onus on others for default / losses.

Pl advice me directly on mail only as I've many things to share but above should give you my mindset.

ANU: Dear A, I hear you. What still is unclear from what you have shared is what is it that you want clarity on from me?

Do you want to build a stronger mindset to deal with the situation?

Assuming (I have to assume here because, I don’t know how this is affecting you) that this is possibly keeping you on your toes as to what will be his next move, this maybe affecting your peace of mind; the only thing that I feel you can do is develop a strategy to checkmate him at every instance.

By now, you know his pattern of doing things and causing nuisance and then conveniently hiding things, it should give you an edge by simply predicting his next move and staying ahead in the game.

Most times, using the mind to strategize is more helpful rather than using it to obsess over why the other person is doing what he/she is doing.

We cannot ever control another person’s behaviour, but what we can do is reflect within and play the game smartly without creating a huge ruckus. In the end, based on my assumption, it's your peace of mind that you can be in no matter what happens outside you.

Based on the strategy through his patterned behaviour, it should give you a good head start before you embark on any project/meeting/presentation or whatever. You have experienced it and been in the midst of it all; now Observe and

Change what you do; without ever thinking that he is the one to change. He will at his own relevant time.

Spend your energies not on controlling him but on yourself and how you can plan, evaluate and execute. Focus on oneself can go a long way in changing things; personal pr professional.

(My answer is based on what little I could gather from your question)

Best wishes.


AT: I’m facing depression problem since last 28 years during that period I have shivering in hands and legs, have brain disorder, appetite is not proper, I don't enjoy anything.

I don't like taking bath, don't like going out, don't like changing clothes, every moment feels suicidal but I have controlled myself these years.

I have also opted for psychiatric treatment, I come out of it but again after a year or so I again get depression there is some chemical imbalance in my brain. I got Divorced because of this disease my life got shattered. I really don't know what to do.

ANU: Dear A, I can only imagine what you are going through. Do you want to feel better not for anyone else, but for yourself?

Break this mould that you are in please. You already have by sharing here on this platform. So that’s a courageous step towards a better life.

How can you do this?

This may sound very instructional, but since you aren’t a client that I work directly with, this is something I can offer you on top of my mind.

Firstly, please work with a Psychiatrist who also believes in alternate intensive Mind Therapy that you absolute need right now.

They need to work in tandem for you to get to a better state. There will be a point in time when the medication can be weaned off as the alternate therapy starts to work on you. That’s why both these experts need to see eye to eye and work for you and with you and not stick to their ground. Please touch base with groups/friends who can help you

In the interim, do the following almost like a prescription…it can be an ally to you.

And most importantly, move in with your family and allow them to step into care for you till you are back on your feet.

Please take care and I wish you a good healing.


T: First of all I would like to remain anonymous. As the world is happy with work from home I am not.

It's been a year since my marriage but each day I desperately wait for offices to open so I can shift with my husband to another place and live independently.

It's not like in laws trouble me or something; on the contrary they are good. But I feel suffocated.

I am supposed to look after my sister in law's son which is the main reason for my depression.

I've been through legitimate depression so I know when I am going through it. Now sister in law is moving abroad leaving her son to permanently live with us!

I can't Anu I just can't. I am postponing having my own kid because I want to live an independent happy life at least for few years with my husband without the responsibility of a child. But I don't remember a single day after my marriage without a child in between.

It's not like I don't love that child; I do. I just don't want to take responsibility of him and it's not even fair to ask of me that right.

I am not happy. I really want to be. Please help me please.

ANU: Dear T, Simply be assertive and put your foot down.

Sometimes people do not respect boundaries till they are made aware that there are boundaries.

Supporting your sister-in-law to care for her son on a few occasions as the boy’s aunt is a great thing but playing the boy’s mom is not what you need to sign up for! And what you haven’t signed up for, isn’t something that you need to follow through.

Take charge, if you don’t someone else will as they already have; almost assuming that anything is fine with you.

The boy isn’t your responsibility and for anyone to assume that is unnecessary.

This has gone on because you have allowed it and if you want it to stop, you simply have to say it; support or no support from anyone.

Your happiness is how you want to experience; so create that accordingly…on your terms…without being rude, but by being frank and calm.

Play this situation over and over in your mind and how you will be assertive with them.

When the mind is prepared and rehearses this repeatedly, and then when the real situation plays out, your mind is already ready to support you.

Even if you have felt hesitant up until now, this mind training should hold you in good stead.

Take charge NOW! Best wishes.


BD: I lost my father on 30 April 2021 due to Covid-19.

Now, Lockdown is lifted not a single relative visited our home, but they are visiting else where places for recreation.

My father has attended every single marriage and funeral of relatives.

My mind always gets upset on it.

ANU: Dear B, I am sorry for your loss.

But does it help thinking of what your relatives should have done or what they should be doing now or not?

You can’t control what others do; but you can certainly manage how you want to react/respond to what they have done.

They don’t seem upset over it, why are you driving up yourself the wrong alley and feeling upset?

Certainly your dear father wouldn’t want you obsessing over this especially when it’s about him.

Did it occur to you that these relatives might have had their reasons for not visiting your home.

Instead of plaguing yourself with these thoughts, please move on…it brings you peace of mind.

There’s much to look forward to by celebrating your father’s time on Earth. Reminiscing your time with him, will bring in a warm feeling that will help you be in a better mind space.

Be at peace always.


VC:I am in a very difficult situation I am not getting what to do so I am writing you this mail for your suggestion.

I was in love from 6years our love life was very good . We were very happy and promised to get married also but suddenly my boyfriend said we can’t marry because of his family issues so I accepted that with a big heart. He asked me to marry another guy I accepted that also. And after some days my marriage got fixed with another guy and I got married also.

But soon after my marriage my boyfriend realised my love and started crying.

He started calling me and soon after 2 days of my marriage he was continuously calling me and this created a very big problem.

My husband saw his calls and msgs and started chatting with my boyfriend pretending to be me only. They both talked and my boyfriend told my husband everything about our past things.

My husband got angry he started beating me getting angry on me started following me and due to all this he left me.

After my husband left me I called my boyfriend and said: Now my husband left me so what to do. You are also not accepting me.

My boyfriend said: I don't have anything to do with you I don't need you at all and plz go away from my life. Now I don’t know what to do. Can you plz help me or guide me.

ANU: Dear V, I can only imagine what you are going through.

One man (husband) judges your situation and as hard as it is for any person, it would have been great if he didn’t play peeping Tom and instead confronted you to work things out with you. And the other man (boyfriend) dumps you in sheer fright and runs for his life.

Do you seriously want to beg either of them for a place in their lives?

They have both displayed total lack of maturity! But in their defense, they have felt cheated and not known how to deal with the situation. BUT nothing justifies physical abuse…

I do work with couples to bring them together where it seems possible. Reconciliation with your husband is possible both of you choose that path. Involve a senior member from both sides of the family and bring it to a neutral place; shedding egos along the way.

Work with a Marriage Therapy expert who can then help you re-evaluate your priorities and put things in perspective.

Work as a team (if both of you want that) and rebuild the marriage. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s possible…So, move in that direction if you see that glimmer of hope as well.

Best wishes.


RD: Hello Anu Ma'am, I don't know where to start. I don't know if there is anything wrong with me at all.

It all started on 4th of July 2012. My father passed away that afternoon.

I have been a single child raised by a single parent. My mother passed away during my birth due to a medical error.

During my early childhood my father was distant and alcoholic. We barely bonded. I was a studious child turned rebellion for no particular reason. Getting into wrong circumstances and with wrong people.

By the time I was in 10th standard, me and dad had a bond. He shared his feelings of loneliness and disappointments from life, friend circle, work, extended family, etc.

It made me judgmental and opinionated towards everything and everyone. I never connected with my extended family and neither did any one of them.

I moved to Bangalore in 2007 for a better career upon his insistence. I had goals, ambitions and desires and a place in life where I wanted to be. But after his death, life has been a mess for the last 9 years.

The untimely death took me away from completing my engineering degree.

I drifted back to hometown in a desperate effort to safeguard the home he built, where I grew up.

If I quantify my 20 years with dad, it would sum up to barely 5 years of happy time. Rest of it is just marred by alcohol, abuse on his part and mine, distance, periods of no conversation or connection.

I came up with ideas to keep the home and still pursue whatever was left of my dream. But it didn't work.

For instance, the neighbors created problems for the tenants who I bought for that home.

Some of my father's friends and my own had vested interests in that house and constantly created hurdles which damaged my efforts in my very first job.

The lawyer I hired to transfer the property to my name played her own tricks to take the house.

Lengthy government procedures, bribery, setbacks resulted in me losing my focus on the second job as well.

As a last resort, in 2017, I sold the home and planned to settle down in Bangalore for good cutting all my ties with the place I called home.

This also affected my relationship as my fiance's father questioned his faith on me and finally got her married to a guy in the States.

Over the last 5 years, my career has marched forward aggressively.

I travel to places cherishing the things I wanted to do -- travel, eat and gather new experiences.

But when I come back home, there is a void. I don't feel happy about how far I have come and achieved despite everything.

There is no one around to share my thoughts and feelings. There is no space to let out and let go. I am in a constant state of breakdown. I want to cry but I rarely do.

Those moments of childhood, the experience of his demise the after effects still have a hold over me. I have become skeptical of trusting people and letting them in and trusting them.

Then there is my own regret of not finishing my engineering and working towards the life I wanted and setting down for a normal degree and corporate life.

I have started to indulge in excessive travel and bouts of poetic rant to let the hurt out but now I feel it ain't working.

It's becoming difficult for me everyday. I don't feel suicidal because I know I won't take that step.

But I feel very very lost and unable to find a way to move forward. I feel I am just there in the crowd without a purpose.

What should I do?

ANU: Dear R, I can only imagine what you feel this moment.

Well of course, no achievements can possibly ever substitute for the sense of belonging that you perhaps crave for.

It’s unfortunate that many known people have tried to claim a stake in the property and possibly it might have offered you a respite when you sold the house.

What remains of all that you have gone through is memories and those 5 beautiful years with your father.

What if you heightened the happiness level in those memories by seeing them clearly and reminiscing the celebration moments with your father?

It’s easy to harp on what went wrong or what could have been better? But can anything substitute the few yet meaningful years that you had with your father?

And when it comes to the void that you currently feel, I do feel that it’s time that you extended your social circle.

The world is well connected and there is much in common that you can have with people across the globe in terms of mutual interests and discussions.

Develop a hobby or do something that you love everyday and remember to be with Mother Nature often. It helps clear the mind and keep you grounded.

Lastly and importantly, think of how you can add value to another person’s life.

When we think of something beyond us, it fills us with a lot of positive feelings and keeps us motivated from within.

Life can be filled with remorse or joy; it’s only a matter of choice!

My best wishes to you!

ANU KRISHNA