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'Keep in touch socially with your friends on the net'

April 04, 2020 11:06 IST

Is staying at home all the time becoming unbearable for you?

Are you stressed, bored, frustrated or irritable, leading to fights with family and friends?

Do you find it hard to deal with children at home?

Or, are you worried about a loved one living somewhere else?

A lot of us must be troubled by these questions since the outbreak of deadly coronavirus forced a 21-day nationwide lockdown in the country.

IMAGE: Family members play Ludo inside their house during lockdown, in Patna. Photograph: PTI Photo

Psychiatrist Dr Kersi B Chavda interacted with our readers on April 3, 2020, and answered their queries on mental stress due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown.

Here is the complete chat transcript:

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Hi guys! This is Dr Kersi Chavda, psychiatrist. I am here to talk about some of the psychiatric issues we might be facing related to the (corona)virus pandemic/lockdown.


Vinu Murthy:
I have started getting headaches. I know I am perfectly fine and I am not prone to headaches or migraine. I feel the stress due to this lockdown and the fear of coronavirus is causing it. What should I do?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Well, if there is stress, what we need to do is try stuff to reduce it. What I have already mentioned. If you normally do not get headaches then attempt to exercise, do Yoga, deep breathing, visual exercise etc. All this is helpful. If (still) out of control, get in touch with your family doctor.

Zoran Saher:
I am not sleeping well. I keep having corona-related dreams. They are not pleasant dreams. I don’t read that much about the virus or watch stuff on TV. But I get these dreams every night. How can it be stopped?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
You know, this is becoming very common. One thing that is known to help is to visualise something pleasant just before going to bed. Often we continue to dream what we have been thinking about just before we sleep.

It’s tiring to be in a lockdown. It’s boring and frustrating. What are the best activities that you recommend?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Exercise, read, restrict TV news time, keep in touch with friends and family on the net, do an online course, spring clean the house.

Will there be any shot or vaccine available before July this year?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Lots on the anvil. Lots of trials. Nothing definite as yet. Cannot really comment but am hopeful.

Imran Farooqui:
My mother is driving me around the bend. She is very bossy. And always wants me to be doing stuff I don’t want to do. I have never had to be in such a close contact with her. We end up fighting a lot.

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Well, maybe she feels you irritate her as well. Since we cannot change the environment, adjust and live with it. Find humor in situations rather than getting angry or upset, which really won’t help. And talk softly rather than shouting. Ignore issues to the utmost. Smile more! Maybe that will shock mum!

Khyati Janani:
I am an air hostess and my roommates and I are under quarantine. A few days more to go. But our neighbours are constantly harassing us and the society wants us to be in quarantine for 21 days and come and threaten us. We (live on) rent so that makes the situation more difficult.

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
That is terrible! Happens to my doctor colleagues as well. Try explaining to the secretary of the building. If that does not help, file a police complaint. Keep doing the fantastic work that you guys are doing. Stay strong.

Yusuf Furniturewala:
I am a lawyer and we are not habitual of such lockdowns. We are constantly engaged in matters and always remain in crowd, performing in court proceedings. But since the lockdown, I have developed anxiety about how I will be back to normal business and my mind is shut which is not normal for me.

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
I guess everyone has your kind of fears. But as a general rule, our imagination is much worse than reality. So keep thinking of the steps you will take after the lockdown ends; have some kind of prioritised plans. Start maybe in small steps and then the momentum that normally happens will take over.

Nitin Deshmukh:
I feel very depressed and wonder when this will all end?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
It will end. We have to survive this. And we will. I firmly believe we are stronger than we think we are. If very bad, see a psychiatrist for help. Otherwise follow the touting I had suggested right in the beginning of this programme.

Vinayak Tavade:
I am very anxious. Someone in my son's building has tested positive. He is also anxious. What to do?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
There are protocols Vinayak! He has to be in self-quarantine for at least 14 days. Should not come out at all. And if the person starts having symptoms that increase, he needs hospitalisation. Your son should sanitise often and take the usual precautions. Nothing really to worry. But certainly we need to take care.

Sonia Agarwal:
Doctor I am 65. I have no family around and cannot go out. I don't like reading. Lack of physical activity is making me depressed.

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Try walking at home. Try watching TV. Listen to music. Keep in touch socially with your friends on the net. If religious, pray. Sometimes that is useful.

Dr Kersi, I have a three-year-old at home who is tired of being indoors now. Since my husband and I are both working and my son gets cranky wanting us to play along. Sometimes we also lose our patience and run out of ideas to keep him busy at home. What is the best way to deal with kids?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
You have to become the kid. Get down to his level. Laugh, be the horse to his rider, sing, dance, make him do small chores at home, make him help in cooking and washing up. Make stories, plays, utilise this time to bond.

Shaadik Choudhary:
What do people do in an abusive household? My father keeps beating up my elder brother, because they are getting in fights, and he is not studying. My mom is too weak to intervene. Help please?

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
I'm sorry to hear this. I believe this will need a face-to-face consultation with a psychiatrist. Cannot be dealt with in the chat. Visit the nearest hospital/psychiatrist whenever possible. Hopefully there will be a solution to this issue.

Dr Kersi B Chavda:
Ok guys... it’s been a pleasure! God bless! Stay safe! Wash hands often with soap for 20 seconds, keep social distance and stay at home as far as possible!

Dr Kersi B Chavda