Q: I had a bad breakup a year ago and my parents decided to get me married. As my own choice had failed, every inch of my marriage when I questioned the qualities of my then to-be husband, my parents told me that I knew nothing about this either. The initial days of my married life were spent on noting down the adjustments I had to make – from my clothes to how I addressed him. Each day I felt that I was living a nasty life, because I had no say in it. I tried talking to my parents but they told me ‘adjustment’ is the only way a marriage works. The only solution I found was on social media; there I created a happy image of my husband and me. I live a fake identity; the acknowledgement it gets online calms my stress. While I continue to struggle with reality, this fictional life is keeping me sane. Do you think I need to see a psychiatrist? Can I have an e-counselling session, please, because I cannot be physically present? I feel the need to share this truth with someone.
A: Seeking help is always a good idea when we feel overwhelmed and a clearer path of thoughts and action is not evident to us. And yes, many online counselling options are available. As somebody who regularly counsels people online, I would still say that before going for it one must keep the logistical challenges in mind, such as a stable Internet connection. Even though online counselling is not recommended for major psychological challenges like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and the like, it has seemed to work well for people with day-to-day distress and concerns, who have no access to a trained and empathetic listener in person.
Now about your concern with social media. I would like to say that your inner concerns about making your life seem happier and more ‘happening’ than it is are shared by many people, if not almost all of us. You are not alone; a lot of us discovered, and discover on a daily basis that we have a need to document our lives through social media and to maintain a largely positive narrative of who we are and the lives that we lead. Any suggestion of struggling with life is not always rewarded with sympathy. I would suggest that you move away from posting about your life for a bit, as it is only making you realise the differences between what you want and what is. I would definitely look for a creative solution for the issue, with some professional help.