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    Anita, my cat’s name is Lily.


    Hi Anita,

    I apologise for not replying. I am not getting email notifications. I am doing much better with my IBS. The new doctor’s medications have helped greatly, and I even gained some weight. I have figured what helps me and what doesn’t. So far it’s going okay, even though I do have ups and downs. My anxiety is up and down too, and I do my best to manage.

    I am now fully vaccinated, so that is a major relief. Things in India aren’t as good as we’d like them yet, but they are better than before. What with the Taliban taking over, I still fear for my country. But that is something I try not to dwell on.

    It is so nice to hear from you. Always warms my heart. How are you doing?



    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for thinking of me. I’m sorry for the delayed response. I just… couldn’t. My brain fog sometimes gets bad, and I find it difficult to complete my work. And then everything gets delayed.

    I am safe, thank you for asking. Restrictions continue, and we are not allowed except for a a few hours a day, which is when we get our groceries and stuff.

    About my cats, well one of them comes home. Jumps right in through the window whenever she pleases. So she’s kind of mine. So I’m much closer to her physically. She likes being carried some times. And she loves sleeping next to me too. I can’t tell you how attached I’ve become to her. So I’m scared for her and take extra precautions so that I dont get it myself and then pass it to her. There is no evidence so far of cats transmitting the virus to humans. Yet, my mother is scared and doesn’t like it much if I touch the cat. She doesn’t even like it much when the cat comes in. But I don’t really listen much. I told her that while I get her fears, it’s something she needs to handle on her own. Till there is evidence of cat-to-human transmission of course. Till then, the cat is going to be home. 😀

    Who doesn’t love a naan and curry. Buttered soft and fluffy naan with coriander is the best. Mushroom curry is my favourite. What’s yours?

    Hope you have a good day 🙂


    Hello Teak,

    Apologies for my delayed response. I have just been procrastinating to be honest. I hope you are safe and well, wherever you are.

    I agree with your point that these “conspiracy theory believers” aren’t open to facts and science. I even know that they have limited to no understanding of biology. I feel it is their own fear acting up. This virus has caused havoc and devastation to such an extent that it is difficult to wrap your head around it. It is hard to believe that such a tiny thing, which isn’t even alive without a host, could cause the world to come to a pause. It is easier to wrap your head around these conspiracy theories, and like you said, the Internet provides you with information on whatever you want to believe.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s lung condition. It must have been so scary for you. Is he vaccinated as well? My country just started vaccination for my age group, but we are facing shortages, so it is difficult to get an appointment, but I am trying.

    Maybe you are right. Maybe it is my own fear of abandonment talking when I argue with these people. I cannot handle uncertainty too well too. But when it comes to these arguments, sometimes I think it is not just my fears talking. It may also be my scientific background. It kind of hits home when people simply refuse to look at and try to understand evidence. It may also be my arrogance, I guess. What do you think?

    No, I haven’t lost any family to COVID (touch wood). But I lost my father when I was a teen, and my immediate family is just me and mom. I have no siblings. I lost all my grandparents after my daddy, and the family has just been getting smaller. So I am just terrified of losing any more family.

    I do hope you are right about me not jinxing anything with prayers. The Help is one my favourite books and movies. Have you read/watched it? One of the main characters, Aibileen Clark, is such a peacefully godly woman, and she writes down her prayers every day. Inspired by her, I used to write mine too. I’ve always found that I communicate better with writing. (And my handwriting is pretty :D) Maybe I should get back to it. Paper could count as wood, right?

    I hope to hear from you.


    Hi Anita,

    It is such a joy to know that you like Indian food! What is your favourite?

    Thank you for such kind words about my homeland. It gave me such a deep feeling of warmth in my chest.

    I do plan to start wearing my bracelet or at least keep it within reach. Touching it does make me feel much calmer and safe. I even have a similar feeling with a cross. I have always carried a rosary on my person, and I wear it many times too. I have several wooden crosses too. I can’t explain why, but I have always felt a sense of safety with a cross. I am not Christian, and I hope I am not offending anyone. My college has a chapel, which I used to visit every Monday and Friday. These prayer times were the most peaceful times of my week.

    Yes, you are right. It is better to concentrate on what I can control.

    Well, I do have to step out once or twice a week for groceries and the such. I do wear 2 masks, yes. And I don’t go into crowded places and keep away if someone is not wearing their mask right. I feed the stray cats in my building every night, so I have to get out every night. But I do it with two masks, and I dont touch anything except the cat food, which is kept in my window. One of my big fears is giving COVID to my cats. I’m rather attached to them.

    Hope you are having a good day…


    Hi TeaK,

    Thank you so much for replying. This is the first time that we are interacting, so hi! 🙂

    Thank you for your prayers. 🙂

    I tried debating with some of my friends too. And would you believe that they said “Oh nothing really happens! It’s all cool.”? I don’t understand how people can say it’s all cool when millions all over the world have literally died. I have had these debates in person and on social media, and I just don’t get how people disregard safety to such an extent. My uncle, who’s a doctor, called this anti-social behaviour, where you just blatantly disregard the health of other people.

    I have had discussions with “conspiracy theorists” online. This one girl kept sending me posts about how this whole pandemic is a hoax, and there’s an agenda behind it, and the RT-PCR test is inaccurate and should not be used. I told her to send me “credible” sources, and not posts from random people and pages. She still kept doing that, and not wanting to get into nonsensical talks with her, I said that none of this has been proven and is all theory. So till there is any strong evidence supporting these theories, she is free to believe what she wants, and I respect her right to her belief, but I am free to believe what I want. Yet, it did not end, and she continued sending those posts to me. I snapped and asked her again for “credible” sources. (I even felt like asking her if she knew the full form of “RT-PCR” and understood how it worked.) If I told her that if she drank pineapple juice on a full-moon night, she’d never get another pimple, would she believe me? People can write whatever they want on the internet, and a lot of it is pure crap. So it would be better if she did actual research. She got really really agitated and called me all sorts of things, calling me blind and telling me I haven’t done any research on this, and I just “act all smart”. That hurt my feelings, I won’t lie, and I just lost all respect for her as a person. I’m a person of science, with an advanced degree in biology. I have 4 years of research under my belt. It’s not much, but it’s more than most people. I know what I am talking about when it comes to science. Yet, I’m the arrogant and the ignorant one. ***sigh***

    I agree with your point of viewing these people in a different light, and I too felt that they react this way because this pandemic is actually too much to comprehend. But it is fear-inducing and really irritating too to be honest when people start spreading misinformation. I had seen this video of a girl telling people to not cover their nose with the mask or “they will feel suffocated because of lack of oxygen”. She was also telling people to go out into the sunlight because the “virus does not survive in the sun” and it’s good to be around nature, despite there being no evidence whatsoever of sunlight killing the virus. I thought, “That’s swell. If you ever need surgery, we’ll have it in a park”. Several people corrected her and asked her to take the video down because it was misinforming people, especially those who were ill-informed. But she didn’t, and again, we were the ignorant ones. Now when it’s so very bad in my country, it annoys me to think of these people. I don’t blame them of course. They’re scared in their own way actually. But it is irritating.

    People in my own building won’t wear a mask, despite there being cases in my building. I take care; wear 2 masks. Sanitize. Have a bath if I have been to the vet or the doctor. Even when I went to restaurants when they were open, I’d put my mask on as soon as I was done eating. I shouldn’t have gone to the restaurant in the first place, but I did maintain all the recommended precautions. But there’s only so much care I can take. What do I do when others won’t take care? It is a scary world. I am not afraid for myself. I am afraid of losing any more family.

    This turned out to be longer than I’d expected…



    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your kind words. They brought some warmth to me.

    I will share if and when I feel ready. Thank you so much for your support.

    We see no light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the pandemic, and I feel a deep sense of dread looking at the news everyday. People are scrambling for plasma, oxygen, hospital beds, food, and what not. It feels like my homeland is dying, and it makes me cry to think that. I have my own friends who refused to wear masks for stupid reasons, and I refused to meet them again to protect myself and my mother. I am not proud of it but I feel some anger at these people, who wouldn’t take simple, harmless steps to prevent this spread and just refuse to be responsible. How ignorant as well as arrogant could you be! There are some horrible stories online of people who have lost family, and it makes me so afraid. I am so afraid that I avoid praying and thanking God for looking after us, for the fear of jinxing it. Maybe I should wear my wooden bracelet at all times.

    Hope you are safe, Anita…


    Hi Hopeful80,

    I do agree with TeaK that it seems like you are moving way too fast. You only met him in December, but thanks to the pandemic, y’all met indoors and got comfy. But had that not happened, say these were normal times, would you have spent time together like this? In his house? Taking care of him? I guess not. Y’all probably would have been just spending a few nights at each other’s houses maybe a couple times a week. So just because you are “comfortable enough to hang out in PJs” does not mean the relationship has built up to that level. It always takes time.

    From what you describe in his behavior, although he “says” thank you, it does not seem like he “shows” gratitude. To me, that just shows that he is enjoying you being his “mama”. Cooking, cleaning up after him, looking after his dog… This lack of appreciation could mean that he is simply enjoying your attention and care and may not be very deep into the relationship. At least not as deep as you.

    About this nude photo, to be honest, I do not agree with this notion of “What guy would” or “Boys will be boys”. No. If he is committed to you, it is his duty to inform this girl that he is in a relationship and not available. You could give him the benefit of doubt and say that it did not occur to him, maybe because y’all are relatively new. But I think it would be better if both of y’all gain some clarity on where you guys stand with each other. It is not always the case that both are equally committed or are on equal footing. And that is not necessarily a bad thing too. This can always change, and the relationship can always grow.

    I also think that he might be acting distant because he may be disturbed with you bringing the topic up again and again. Maybe once y’all talk, he will get back to his original self.

    Hope this helps…





    Hi Tiny,

    Are you feeling any better? I hope you are.

    The breathing technique Anita mentioned is immensely effective. Breathe in deeply, and then breathe out slowly. Keep reminding yourself that you are safe. That you are taken care of. And that this is going to pass.

    Now about panic attacks. One thing you must know about them: They’re the worst! I hate them. Panic attacks themselves are much more scary than the actual situation that is causing you stress. I find that most of the time, I am anxious about anxiety itself, rather than whatever is stressing me out.

    Now, there are many theories about the causes of panic attacks, and one of them that makes a lot of sense to me: my brain misreads signals. When my body releases chemicals that signal stress, my brain misinterprets it as “DANGER!”, and I go into the “fight/flight/freeze” response, which is an innate response to mortal danger in all animals. An imbalance in my brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) can also cause anxiety and these attacks. Panic attacks can also have a genetic cause. So it brings me comfort to know that there is a biological explanation to all this. Like I said in an earlier post, my anxiety is just trying to protect me, but unfortunately, there is no actual “danger”.

    The reason I went into the explanation of causes of panic attacks is that it helped me understand what is going haywire. Having an explanation helps my anxiety, and I’ll explain how in a minute.

    Now how do we work around this very scary experience of panic attacks?

    Each person can have slightly different symptoms, but these are what I experience: racing heart, breathlessness (I can’t breathe!), knot in the chest or stomach, trembling, numbness or tingling in the extremities, dizziness, feeling cold, feeling like you’re gonna pass out, feeling like you’re having a heart attack, feeling of impending doom (something terrible is going to happen!), intense fear, and feeling like you’re losing control.

    Now, these are the few things I say to myself or do when I feel a panic attack coming on:

    1. “I am safe”: I keep telling myself that no, there is no danger and that I am absolutely safe. I am completely safe and nothing is going to happen to me.

    2. “I am in control”: I tell myself that whatever the situation is, I can handle it. I have handled everything before and can now too. If I can’t control it, it will still be okay.

    3. “This is not going to last”: I tell myself that yes I am very uncomfortable right now, but this is not permanent. This is not going to go on beyond an hour, tops. That is all. It’s no big.

    4. “I know and remember that I am going to recover from this”: Like I said, panic attacks are more scary and uncomfortable than whatever is causing you anxiety. So I remind myself that I have always recovered from this and will this time as well.”

    5. Deep breathing: Breathlessness is one of the most uncomfortable symptoms for me. I breathe in as deep as I can and breathe out slowly. Counting while breathing helps divert the attention away from anxious thoughts and the other body symptoms. This is the most effective and important step.

    6. Hug yourself: I wrap my arms around myself, soothing my inner child, telling her she is absolutely safe. This is immensely helpful.

    7. Ride it out: Sometimes, I’m too anxious to do any of the above and have a full blown panic attack. Here, I just repeat to myself, “I’m just riding out the storm”. Panic attacks usually are over in an hour and then the storm is over. So just ride out the storm.

    8. Remind yourself of the causes: Remind yourself that your body is just overreacting. Tell yourself, “Yeah it’s just my brain chemicals. No big.” Now this is not at all to undermine how uncomfortable and scared you are. It just helps to remember this because it reminds you that you aren’t in actual danger.

    9. “This is not damaging my body in any way”: Panic attacks make you feel they’re going to leave some lasting damage. But this is not the case at all. They are actually harmless. So remind yourself that this is not harming you in any way.

    After my panic attack dies down, I’m usually really tired. So I prefer to do some things:

    1. Drink warm water

    2. Eat chocolate

    3. Hug a loved one

    4. Take a warm bath and visualize your stress washed away

    5. If you can, eat your favorite food.

    6. Get a good night’s sleep.

    I mentioned that my anxiety itself makes me anxious. Here, I say to myself, “If I have another panic attack, I am going to remember that I have always passed through it and will be okay after”.

    I hope some of this helps you. Do write back and tell us how you are. 🙂


    Hi Anita,

    It brings me comfort to know that I can safely unload here. It is very hard for me as I am very ashamed. I will try though. Thank you very much.

    No this is the first time that I am hearing of Mark Williams, I think. But I will give it a try. Thank you so much.

    Hope you are safe…


    Hi Tiny,

    Sending you tonnes of hugs and positivity. I’m so sorry you cried so much.

    Seeking help is always a good decision and you’re going to benefit immensely. Please make sure you’re surrounded by loved ones. And eat some chocolate. Dark chocolate. It’s always helped me.

    I will reply about the panic attack tips tomorrow, that is in about 15-18 hours. It’s night where I am and I’m replying from my phone.

    Please breathe.

    Do write back and let us know what the professional says…



    Hi Tiny,

    I’m sorry to hear about your panic attack. Are you feeling better now?

    I know it must be hard for you when it comes to relationships. You seem to have gone through tough times in the past, and it is only natural you feel skeptical and cautious in this area of your life. I know it is probably terrifying, but I still maintain it would be better if you spoke to your boyfriend about this. I’m sure he will understand. At the same time, from what you say (he always has time for you, despite him working a lot), it doesn’t seem like he has the time to cheat on you.

    Being no stranger to panic attacks, I can share with you some tips that have helped me successfully thwart panic attacks. Do let me know if you would like me to share them.

    I’m glad to read that you’re going to exercise. It does help a lot. Please try guided meditations as well, if you can.

    Take care 🙂


    Hi Anita,

    Yes, as a country we haven’t seen any change to the cases yet, but yesterday, the total number of cases reported in a day did go down in my city (if you figure the city out, please don’t mention it, to protect my anonymity :D). We are looking at help from other countries. It’s all just numbers when you watch the news. But when the numbers turn to names, it is very scary.

    Well, there are certain techniques I have tried with her, which have somewhat worked. Like I said, showing her how she affects me, pointing out when she scolds me, etc. Compared to earlier, it is loads better. So I’m gonna just hope this is maintained.

    What other affirmations can I try? To work on my core belief? My self-esteem?

    I have certain other problems, which I probably will talk about on a different thread. I still don’t have the confidence to talk about it. It’s hard for me. But when I do, I will post about it.


    Take care…


    Hi Tiny,

    I’m sorry to read you’re going through such a tough time. It is really hard, especially for those of us with anxious brains that just won’t shut up. I am no stranger to this voice. I call it “The Demonic Voice of Anxiety”.

    You see, there is a reason I gave it such a horrible name, despite knowing that my anxiety is trying to protect me from potential danger (physical/emotional). I call it thus because I find that my anxiety attacks everything I care about. These “what if” or “OMG” thoughts are always about someone I love or something that matters to me. Do you think that’s what’s happening with you too? Considering how much you love and care about your boyfriend?

    I also find that my anxiety tends to bleed to other areas of my life. For example, if I am anxious about a mistake I made at work, I get worked up to such a frenzy and am so much at edge that the tiniest of the things just triggers me. For example, why is my mom not answering my call? Is she okay? Did something bad happen? OMG what if she’s hurt herself? Actually, she was just in the bathroom. Is this something you experience too?

    Listen to Anita; she is very wise. Exercise is a great way to shake off all that stress. Go for a run. Practice yoga. Hell, just put on some music and dance it out. Practice deep breathing exercises. I find they instantly loosen that anxious knot in my chest. But I find that the best thing to do is to be present in the moment. Being present in the moment, focusing on the very present (what you are doing/tasting/feeling with your fingers/etc.) can prevent your mind from wandering and going back to anxious thoughts and what-if scenarios, lowering your anxiety little by little. These are some tips that I practice, though I won’t say I’m a master at all. It is hard and I struggle. But this helps.

    Now about the situation with your boyfriend. I know it’s scary for you, I completely understand that, but the easiest way is to talk to your boyfriend. Obviously, don’t spring him with “Are you cheating on me?” Instead, just ask him about the text. No harm in that. If you are insecure, it is always good to clear it out. From what you say about him, he sounds great and will understand. What I feel is, even though he is amazingly supportive of you, he is still only human. Him snapping at you is an extremely human thing to do, even though it is unlike him. You can’t expect him to be loving and romantic all the time, right? He is going to be angry or irritated with you from time to time. He is going to be stressed out sometimes. He is going to be sad sometimes. He is going to even not want to talk to you sometimes. Now people like us find this difficult to deal with, but it’s human nature. No?

    You mention about his phone habits, which seem to just fuel your what-if thoughts. Like Anita said, this itch you simply can’t seem to reach will only get more itchy every time you pay attention. If you get a clarification about the phone habits, tomorrow it will be something else: Why is he wearing this shirt after so long? (simply no reason) Why does he not want to meet me today? (he is just too tired) Why is he suddenly interested in working out? (he wants to be fit, probably for you) You get it? Treat these thoughts like a tantrum-throwing child. I sometimes say to those thoughts, “yeah yeah I know this could be the case. But until there is more evidence, I dont have the time to think more about this.” You could also say to yourself, “I’ll deal with it when it comes to it. Thanks for the warning.”

    I hope some of this helps.

    Take care.



    Hi Anita,

    The government has now imposed stricter lockdowns. So we aren’t allowed to go out much, and this has helped to some extent; the cases are coming down. Though we are nowhere out of danger. We have help coming in from several other countries with oxygen. The vaccine isn’t available for my age group yet, but I do plan to get it as soon as it is. I have read so many posts on social media where people are spreading misinformation about vaccines as well as masks, with no scientific logic backing their arguments. It is so infuriating. My mother and I both are people of science, and there is no way we pay heed to such nonsense. Maa is already vaccinated, and I will too.

    Well, when I try scolding my maa the way she scolds me, we end up in yelling match. 😀 It’s not enjoyable, and I end up feeling real bad about it, even though I can’t help it most of the times.

    I have seen the hurt on a child’s face when he’s scolded. And I understand your point. I just dont know how to integrate it into my system. Do I keep affirming it to myself?

    Hope you stay safe…

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