1. Toxic Relationship
A toxic relationship can be defined as any relationship that ends up hurting you or others emotionally, physically, psychologically, mentally, physiologically or in any other way. It is unhealthy, poisonous, troublesome and devoid of respect. A toxic relationship deprives anyone involved in the relationship to live a happy, healthy and productive life.
Usually, the reason for the toxic relationship is an incompatibility of personality types. Most of the times, the blame is on any one person. If anything, the villain is a misunderstanding, lack of communication, healthy boundary and lack of space.
In a few cases, though, the blame does indeed fall upon one person; the unhealthy person or an individual toxic prey upon others for their gratification and pleasure- they have a twisted desire for relationship and even more twisted ways of expressing their love. Often these crooked ways end up hurting their partner. Toxic individuals seek to hydrate themselves emotionally and psychologically by draining others of it. They are especially manipulative, vulnerable, often unaware of their toxicity and do indeed believe what they are doing is correct. They are fundamentally selfish, suffer from victim syndrome and are too preoccupied with their own emotions, interest, needs and goals to concern themselves with others emotion, interest, needs and goals.
Toxic relationships lack emotional support, are imbalanced, lack any moral, ethical and positive principles. They put the person through an emotional turmoil which can lead to an unhealthy life – depression. It is a chain reaction. A mother abused by her husband can abuse her daughter, which in turn can end up treating her life partner and kids bad. They are hazardous, making the person dependent on high-risk behaviours like drugs and alcohol. A person involved in a toxic relationship can often resort to self-harm.
Toxic people are often malicious, conniving, immoral, conspiring and unwilling to recognise the welfare of others as long as they, themselves, are benefiting from it. They are very good at masking their aims, acting as if they are doing it for you. They are often impulsive and impose their desires upon others.
For example, you might not want to have a physical relationship. But the other person starts to question whether you love them or not. They question your approval of them, ask you for proof or something along the lines. They also tell you how much they love you, slyly adding that they think you do not. Somehow they manage to manipulate you into doing what they want.
So how do you know whether you are in a toxic relationship? It is comfortable with some guidance to remove your romantic, pink glasses and stare at the cold, hard truth.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- When you think of the said person, how do you feel?
- Does that person make you feel safe?
- Do you think you will leave some loved ones in their care?
- Do you have to be careful or wary in their presence?
- Does conversing with them cause you distress?
- Can you be yourself in their presence?
- Do you end up having to be on guard around them?
- Do you feel as if you are being manipulated into doing something you do not wish to do?
- Do you think that the person is pushing your moral, ethical or legal boundaries?
- Do you think their appearance has added some challenge to your life? Those who could have been avoided had they not been part of your life?
- Do you end up being emotionally drained?
- Have you ever justified his acts to others?
Leaving a toxic relationship is never easy. But are you going to tax yourself, being forever scared and anxious about what is about to come next? It is time you ask yourself whether you are gaining something from this relationship. You have to be selfish while answering the question. There is nothing wrong with being non-sacrificial from time to time. After all, it is everyone’s right to be happy and healthy. Ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice more? Whether the other person will sacrifice something for you?
Seek counselling, for example. If your relationship in the past was healthy but not now, it is quite possible to reach the same status with counselling or therapy. Although, if it never experienced a happy, serene time, it is quite well for you to ditch the other person. Once stagnant, forever stagnant. It is time you decide whether there is some potentiality in your relationship or not; whether it could reach new heights of healthy level filled with happiness and prosperity. And it should include both of you making sacrifices and adjusting. Both of you should be complicit in taking your relationship from the ditch to the top.
There is nothing wrong with therapy. They do take time, patience, understanding, compassion, empathy and care to work. More often than not, they do end up working miracles. You will find a new way to look at your relationship and significant other. Of course, the relationship would not be like new, but it would be better than you knew. A relationship where you do not feel smothered, trapped and oppressed. A relationship which some might classify as dysfunctional.
If you feel obligated not to do anything and stay in the claustrophobic relationship due to whatever reason (finance, kids, etc.), it is most certainly due to codependency. Codependency could arise out of physical, emotional or psychological needs. These people are way too reliant on their partner due to whatever reason. And they live with a fear that their significant other will end up leaving them. Thus, they end up putting up with anything, and everything is thrown at them. Often, this involves physical and verbal abuse.
This is why you need to learn how to become independent. Keep some savings on the side, complete your education before marriage, do not leave your job for anyone’s benefit, have your belongings in your name(like house, car, etc.) and keep boundary of what belongs to you.
2. Postpartum Depression
A lot of people tend to whitewash mothers. Things are not as black and white. The birth of a baby comes with the whole bunch of problems. Where there is excitement, there is also anxiety. Where there is jubilancy, pain and hormones are raging wild. Some mothers end up not being happy after delivering a kid. They end up experience baby blues after childbirth. In medical term, it is called ‘postpartum depression’. Common symptoms for which include frequent mood swings, crying without reason and insomnia.
Postpartum depression can be defined as an emotional pain which comes with childbirth — a form of severe clinical depression which hinders parental care. Among ten mothers, at least four end up with postpartum depression. Fortunately, it can be cured entirely.
One might end up feeling sad, hopeless, guilty and inadequate because they do not wish to bond with their babies or take care of them. Even second, third, fourth time mothers face postpartum depression. Hence, not just first-time mothers are susceptible to it.
Various causes of postpartum depression include:
- Hormone level rises during pregnancy — There is a sudden decrease in these after delivery. This decrease can cause depression in women. This type of hormonal depression is usually seen before periods.
- If the mother had a history of run-ins with depression or even her family line has a history of run-ins with depression, it most likely that the said mother would face problem like postpartum depression.
- In case the mother is a reluctant mother (i.e., she did not want a child) and her family members or husband do not help in the care of the child, she is also most likely to end up being susceptible to postpartum depression.
- Poor women with a history of drug, alcohol or other stress-related problems are susceptible to postpartum depression.
- Young, immature females who are not prepared to take care of a child are at a considerable risk of developing postpartum depression.
This does not mean that the mother is not in love with the child. That is a bad mother. That conclusion is exceptionally wrong and only a cursory glance at such a broad topic.
Postpartum depression starts to take hold of the mother within the first two to three days after delivery, lasting up to two weeks. Baby blues may start small but turns intense if it lasts longer. It starts to interfere with daily routine, handling of the baby and ability to take care of themselves.
- Frequent mood swings
- The feeling of being overwhelmed
- Crying with or without reason/ sob spells
- Reduced concentration
- Lack of appetite
Signs of postpartum depression (which lasts longer and require professional assistance) include:
- Depressed mood
- Severe mood swings
- Excessive crying and moaning
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Withdrawal from people around
- Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
- Insomnia or too much sleeping
- Loss of energy
- Lack of interest or pleasure in activities the person used to enjoy
- Irritability and anger
- Fear of failing as a mother
- Worthlessness, shame, guilt or feeling inadequate
- Unable to think properly or concentrate.
- Decreased ability to make decisions
- Panic attacks
- Desire or thoughts of harming the baby
Symptoms of Postpartum psychosis ( a rare condition which develops in the first week after delivery).
It is a severe case and requires urgent therapy:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about the baby
- Hallucination as well as delusions
- Disturbed sleep
- Hyperenergetic and agitated
- The attempt might be made to harm the baby or yourself
Postpartum depression is also common among father. They might end up feeling sad, fatigued, overwhelmed, anxious, and you could observe changes in their eating and sleeping pattern. One should primarily be on a lookout for those who have a history of depression, relationship problem, anger management issues as they are most likely to be vulnerable to Postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression can be cured entirely. Both the mother and father can bond with the baby, love them if proper treatments are done. Do not feel embarrassed about going to a doctor to get help. It is better now than end up regretting it later on in your life. You should especially get help if the symptoms do not fare after two weeks, start to get worse, becomes a hurdle in parental care and involves grave thoughts of harming yourself or the baby (or both). While taking treatment, ask a trusted source to take care of the baby for you. Maybe your mother and father to give them a better family atmosphere rather than some third party nanny. Talk about it with your close person, someone who you are sure would not judge or incriminate you.
It can be treated by medications like antidepressants (the medicines should be prescribed by a doctor), counselling, exercise, doing fun things you enjoy, meeting simple goals, relaxing and surrounding yourself with people who care.
3. Genetic Counselling
Genetic Counselling is the process by which the patients at risk of an inherited genetic disorder are advised of the consequences and nature of the disorder as well as the probability of their progeny developing or transmitting it. They are told of the options available to them in management and family planning.
Genetic or hereditary disorders are those diseases or conditions which run in the family and are inheritable. Genetic counselling is especially useful in learning whether your progeny is liable to inherit or transmit the disease. If you are worried about your baby developing with some congenital disability that has affected the family, consider getting genetic counselling.
Who should consider getting genetic counselling?
- In case you plan on having a baby.
- A woman who is having troubles getting pregnant or has suffered miscarriages.
- A mother had a baby with a congenital disability and are worried that it will happen again.
You should start collecting medical history of your parents, grandparents, uncle, aunty, siblings. If possible, basically, the whole family tree.
The information should/could contain the following details:
- Congenital disability information
- Diseases and medical conditions
- Ages at which the diseases were diagnosed.
- Ages at which they died.
- Your personal medical history.
- Any question you might have
Check with your insurance company to see whether they will pay for genetic counselling. A lot of insurance company do indeed pay for getting genetic counselling.
Genetic counsellors work in hospitals or clinic. Several NGOs also have their genetic counsellors. They tend to specialise in infertility, cancer, cardiovascular health, cystic fibrosis, fetal intervention and therapy, haematology, paediatrics, personalised medicine and prenatal health.
4. Marriage Blues
All the excitement of marriage vanishes once the wedding is over. It dawns on you that now your life is not just yours, you start to miss your life back then, you miss the comfort of your bed(and not having to share it with someone else), eating nine p.m., laughing at disgusting jokes, farting the loudest and smelliest, you get the point. Now you are left with a feeling of what is next?
So what is marriage blues? After the rain of excitement before the wedding, you are left with fatigue and anxiousness after the wedding. That is what wedding blue is. With so much hype surrounding marriage, you realise who counterproductive it is. Now you have to face the stressful stuff like going back to the job, lack of attention, the bright sunny sky of how your life partner is, adjustments, change in routine, etc.
Symptoms of wedding blue include:
- Feeling as if you are attacked
- Questioning your existence
Do not feel guilty of feeling wedding blues. It is pretty understandable. After all, you have left everything that defined you behind. Everything you loved (your bed, study table, closet, stuff toys, books, room, house, annoying siblings, nagging mother, an overbearing father, your days of being naive and irresponsible). Now suddenly, out of nowhere, you are expected to be responsible, act like family to a bunch of strangers, obey their every demand (and not speak up about how unjustified they are) and change your routine of doing things. Suddenly, you are no longer a daughter and sister but a wife and daughter in law. You are no longer the priority, someone being dotted after but someone who is expected to do this to others. Treat strangers like they are gods. And there is no one to understand it.
Do not try to prevent this feeling. It is extremely normal
You need to start thinking about after wedding stuff. Question what the married life means to you, what are your expectations with it and focus on building up a relationship with your in-laws. Focus on the fun bits of your after wedding life, the quirky bits of this new family. Start with redecorating your room, planning your honeymoon, buying new clothes and shoes, playing with the youngsters, making friends with those around you, etc. Think of it positively, as a wedding debut.
Get premarital counselling. Ask questions like what are your expectations from your fiance (he will treat you respectfully, help you with household chores while thinking it is his duty and not something. He is doing for you, respect your boundary and not try to cross it, etc.). What are some matters where both of your opinions differ (like politics, religion, ways to bring up your progeny, etc.) there are several other questions:
- Who is going to do the finance of the family? Do not hesitate to bring up money in the relationship. It is after all pretty important these days.
- Whose job will decide where you will live? This question is critical as you can also guess what he thinks of you and your job. You can deduce his perception just from this. And of course, needless to say, if something like this does happen, you know you could conquer it.
- What is the topic of your fight usually about? When do you Usually fight? There is a patter to fight even when you fail to see it. This question helps you realise it. You might find out the stupid things you end up angry about, stupid things you both quarrel over and how to change the pattern. Realising our faults is a great way of preventing any future, unnecessary wars. It also puts things into perspective
- What if there is no child in the future? For whatever reason (his, yours, hers, both of yours) you can not have a child then what? What if one of you do not want a child? Would never want a child? Talk about it before marriage. Be blunt.
- What will you do to stay together and in love? Something you will do while you are fighting? Something so romantic it would put the most romantic novels to shame? Like playing the piano, dancing, knitting, washing dishes, apart from Netflix and Chill.
Make a legal contract with both of your stipulated conditions. Sign and keep it safe. Keyword: Legally binding.
Let us move on to other suggestions to mitigate marriage blues.
Do romantic things like candlelight dinner, play board games/ video games, hiking, picnic etc. Try to make every day exciting. Just because you are not dating does not mean you can not go on dates. Have some time allotted for both of you only.
The most significant factor of marriage blues is leaving behind your loved ones. Do not look at it this way. Rather than thinking of it as an ending, think of it as a beginning to something new. Your family is still a part of you, someone you can always go and visit, chill with; there is no love lost. But now you are going to live with another family, and you should try to become familiar with them. You should try to connect with them. If you end up not connecting with them, it is cold, too. Do not stress yourself about it and be clear that no one can force you into accepting them.
Communicate with your spouse and new family. You might feel unsure about sharing your feelings with him. Like how annoyed he or she might be to hear you complain, but it is what they signed up for. They are the ones who need to understand that you are in an exotic place.
5. Contraception Method or Family Planning
Family Planning is defined as a medical activity which educates individuals to determine the number and spacing of children and the means through which they will achieve it. It usually includes contraception, sexual education, prevention of STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases like HIV AIDS, Syphilis, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, etc.), preconception counselling, infertility management and population control.
Women have lots of options related to contraception. With the advent of online shopping, they no longer need to deal with the judgmental attitude of Indian society. A lot of females do not even know about so many options they have. Fear not. If you did not know about these, now you will.
Condoms are the widely accepted method of birth control. These come not only for men but also for women. Not only do these prevent conception but also the risk of STD transmission. And these are the only ones who do. With condoms, you can consider using spermicidal chemicals like foam, cream, jelly or film for extra protection. Condoms tend to be inexpensive, too. The con is that there is a high failure rate, female condoms are a bit difficult to place, and male condoms might burst during conception.
Diaphragms are a barrier method of birth control. It is basically like a menstrual cup (flexible, placed in the vagina) and is used to block the entry of sperm into the uterus. This, again, can be used with spermicide chemicals. The con is that you can not fix it yourself. Preferably you would have to take the help of a doctor and replace it year after year. In between, you have to examine it for tear, holes or thinning latex. You also have to get it checked for fitness in case you have lost or gained weight.
The doctors also fit the cervical cap, and it is best when you used with spermicide chemicals. This again is fixed inside the vagina, where it prevents the entry of sperms into the cervix. Just like diaphragms, this too needs to be replaced every year.
The best thing about both diaphragm and the cervical cap is that they are hormone free, are free from the risk of developing medical conditions like breast cancer or any which make it unsafe to use hormones as birth controls. The con is that you have to wait for six hours before using them. There is also the risk of developing bladder infection when it comes with a cervical cap. There is a considerable risk of getting toxic shock syndrome. So do not leave the diaphragm and cervical cap in for more than twenty-four hours and forty-eight hours respectfully. People at high risk of developing HIV should refrain from using these as the spermicides can increase the risk of getting infected.
Females most widely used for birth control pills. The failure percentage is as low as 1% when used correctly (regularly). They also decrease menstrual cramp, induce lighter periods and the chances of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These also protect against pelvic inflammatory disease, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Using progestin-only pills are safer for women with a history of clotted blooded or high blood pressure. The con is that when you do not use it properly (as in regularly and at the same time), the pill has only an 8% chance of failure. They can also cause spotting, breast tenderness, nausea and low sexual drive. Progestin and estrogen combination pills increase the risk of blood clotting and stroke. They also produce other hormone-related problems.
You can also take these through injections. This offers protection from pregnancy for at least three months by blocking ovulation and making it difficult for sperm to travel to the egg because of increased cervical mucus. It reduces the risk of uterine cancer and protects from pelvic inflammatory disease. These shots are taken by the doctor and can cause irregular bleeding. Prolonged use can lower bone density.
IUDs (Intrauterine device) is a inserted into the uterus by the doctor. They are basically of two types:
- Copper IUD
- Synthetic Progestin IUD
Both of them are very effective in preventing contraception, even without spermicide. These can be left in for ten years. Copper IUD can be used as emergency contraception if it is inserted within five days of conception. It is long term and reversible. These can cause more massive heavier bleeding during periods while increasing cramps and also increases the chances of developing the pelvic inflammatory disease.
Hormone Implants are made of plastic and progestin. They are inserted under the skin of your upper arm and prevents pregnancy for at least three years. Now for those whole three years, you need not worry about getting knocked up. About 99 in 100 do not get pregnant through this method. In case, in between you do decide to have a baby, the process is reversible. You need to remove these implants. The first year, you might have problems with irregular bleeding, but eventually, you stop getting a period. Otherwise, you can use estrogen to decrease the chances of irregular bleeding.
For permanent method, there is vasectomy for males and tubectomy for females. In tubectomy, an incision is made, and the doctor closes the tubes that carry sperm. Thus, forever preventing them from escaping. It also does not affect their coitus ability. After surgery, for three months, the patient needs to use condoms or any other contraception method. It can also increase the risk of prostate cancer. The surgery can be reversed, but it is expensive and without guarantee. Tubectomy involves the closing of fallopian tubes which prevent a woman’s egg from being fertilised. It is advantageous as it reduces the risk of developing ovarian cancer. It requires anaesthesia, induces risk to bladder, bowel and causes pelvic pain. For these two methods, you have to be very sure.