Ria, an attractive 38-year-old lady called me up on a bright summer morning, requesting an appointment. “I feel unhappy, listless, depressed and generally irritable with life. Everything is good in my life. Nothing is wrong. I have a beautiful family, two children in middle school and a smart and successful husband who provides me with all the comforts. But my husband does not give me attention.”
“I feel like we are roommates,” she said
“My husband travels a lot for work and I feel I am not getting the attention I want from him. I try to talk to him and have asked him to spend more time with me, but he just brushes it aside. These days even when he is around all we seem to do is argue or lapse into stony silence. There are times when I feel that we are roommates or guests at the hotel, each one caught up in their individual lives.”
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She was busy with her life
How do you get your husband to notice you? This was what was on her mind I guessed. “Not that, I am free from commitments. I have a full schedule every day. I go to the gym, have a well-toned body and am involved in the committee of my club and often meet my friends for coffee and social dos. Yet, I don’t know what is wrong with me. I feel tired, lonely, bored and cranky most days. I thought maybe it is hormones but my gynaecological consultation and tests are fine. A friend recommended that I seek counselling. Perhaps this might help resolve my malady, so I called you.” We fixed up a session and met over the next few weeks regularly to alleviate her symptoms and find a way out of her mental discomforts.
She was creating her own misery
As I heard Ria over the next few sessions I observed, listened and concluded that there were a few basic reasons for her unhappiness. One of them was that she believed that she was feeling miserable because of her partner’s lack of attention.
Before her therapeutic sessions, all her focus was on her partner’s behaviour and habits without taking a moment to think about how she was contributing to her misery.
She had issues with self-confidence
She realised that over the years, she had stopped engaging in meaningful work and was usually not doing anything for her psycho-spiritual development. So, she had started losing confidence in her self, slowly and steadily. Also, not being independent financially led to a certain fear and resentment towards self.
Related Reading: How To Be Financially Independent As A Married Woman
The reasons that contributed to her unhappiness
Some of the issues which were stopping her from feeling happy were lack of self-esteem, lack of communication, fear of loss of a relationship and lack of meaning in life.
The treatment plan for Ria included learning to focus on her potential, doing productive work and finding a sense of meaning and learning how to communicate effectively with her partner. Once, she started getting comfortable in her skin, her symptoms vanished.
Her husband became more receptive
As her behaviour and interactions changed, her husband became more receptive to her and agreed to seek help too for some of the issues which had led to a distance creeping into the relationship. Couple counselling helped re-strengthen the bond.
Ria’s case is not isolated. Relationship issues, lack of interest in daily life, loneliness, feeling irritable and listless afflict most individuals today. Lack of awareness about the importance of addressing mental health issues timely compounds the problem. Usually, seeking help from a qualified psychologist reaps tremendous benefits and results in a feeling of satisfaction and happiness for most individuals.