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I feel that I am not a good decision maker, what should I do?

Q: I am 24 years old. I lost my father when I was 1.6 years old and have been brought up by my mother. I feel that I am not a good decision maker due to improper guidance. My friends feel that I have a very jolly nature but deep inside I feel I am nothing at times. I am confused about small things. I feel like crying but I cant. Do you think there is any solution to my problem and do I need to visit a psychiatrist?

A:It is sad that you lost your father at an early age, but that is life. It seems to offer different circumstances to different people. It is good that you are introspecting about your own nature. Since you know what your problem is, you can also get over it, I think. In the process, you might get some support if you go to a professionally trained counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist. As in other fields of medicine, doctors are so used to seeing patients in a state of distress or extreme manifestation of symptoms, and a busy psychiatrist might dismiss your case as not being serious. However, your feelings may persist. So its best to talk to someone who can help you to work through your feeling of being father-deprived. In addition to the counselling, you might wish to consider taking up some voluntary work in your spare time. This could be with an orphanage, old age home or any programme for children who are poor and struggling to make it into adulthood. Magazines like The Week and Outlook publish a story in every issue of someone in India doing work in the community, which makes a real difference. There is the story of the man who complained because he had no shoes until he came upon someone who had no legs. It often happens that when we take on other peoples problems, our own woes tend to disappear or at least fall into a different perspective. In our culture, boys are brought up not to cry. They are told that they should not be like girls!. This is a BIG mistake, because all human beings have the need to express their emotions. You should feel free to express yourself with one or two close friends at least, rather than always wear the mask of a jolly nature. It is certainly possible to get out of the feeling of not being a good decision maker or not being happy. First of all make the decision that you are going to feel better. Be positive. Then take the practical steps necessary. This may include seeing a psychologist, if a good one is available in your area. Otherwise, take up Yoga or a sports activity and look for ways in which you can help others. Become important in the lives of other people and your problems will dissolve. All the best.

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