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Jayati Godhawat

IWB Blogger

Leading Counselor Anna Chandy Tells Women How To Be Emotionally Intimate In Relationships

  • IWB Post
  •  August 19, 2017


FICCI Flo Jaipur Chapter organized an insightful session on ‘Battles of the Mind’ with Anna Chandy. Anna has over twenty years of experience in developmental work, counseling, coaching and mentoring.

She is the first Certified Training and Supervising Transactional Analyst from Asia accredited by the International Transactional Analysis Association, with a specialization in counseling. Also certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Art Therapy, Anna has also counseled Bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone. After having fought depression, Deepika came out and spoke about her mental illness to remove the stigma around it. Anna is also the chairperson of Deepika’s mental health initiative, The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF).

An author, too, Anna spoke about her book, ‘Battles in The Mind: Conquering and winning over the emotional pain,” and shared that it’s her personal story.

During the session, she shared that she has had a troubled childhood due to her parents’ difficult marriage.

“Having being brought up in a dysfunctional family, as a child, I was sexually abused by three different people from the age of 6 to 16.”

“About 50% of the people in India are child sexual abuse survivors. Out of every 3 girls, 1 has faced sexual abuse in her childhood. This is one of the major factors that affect the mental health of women,” said Anna.

Citing other factors that affect the mental health of the women, Anna said that the biggest issue is that the caregivers are never given any breaks or attention.

“In India, women are the primary caregivers, but, in our society, there’s so much discrimination, violence, and stringent gender roles against women that nobody pays attention to them. So many women feel tired, irritated, angry, and feel that they are taken for granted which leads to depression.”

“Any form of violence, be it sexual, physical, verbal, or mental, hampers the mental health of a woman. Even overeating is a sign and symptom of depression. So many of us do it, right? Then there is gender and sexual identity, post-partum depression, and so many other factors that affect the mental health of the women negatively,” she explains.

Sharing about her association with TLLLF and Deepika Padukone, Anna shared with the audience that Deepika was suffering from high-functioning depression which means that’s he was working, shooting, doing all her chores, etc.

“It took her 2 months to acknowledge that she needed help. She survived the depression and is now completely alright. However, when she started reading about her condition and how there’s so much stigma around mental illness, Deepika took up her role as an influencer to talk about her mental illness so that the stigma around it could be removed.”

She further added, “At the pinnacle of her career, she chose to share her vulnerabilities with the world because she knew that if by sharing her story, even if one person comes out and seeks help, her job is done.”

Talking about their initiative, #DobaraPoocho, Anna explained, “Not only Deepika but, each one of us is an influencer. Our circle of influence may vary but all of us have our circle whom we can influence. The prime reason behind #DobaraPoocho was to reach out to the person and ask him/her once again if they are alright. It’s necessary because when you ask the first time, they may say that nothing’s wrong but when you ask the second time, they know that you are paying attention and you are concerned.”

Discussing the paradox of vulnerability, Ana said that while all of us are discouraged to show vulnerability from early on in our lives, vulnerability is, in fact, the basis of a community, basis of building relationships and life.

When the session was opened for the audience, many of them asked Ana about the symptoms of depression in children to which she replied, “In children of 10 years or below, the symptoms could be: Not wanting to go to school, withdrawal from the family and friends, and nail-biting. Children of this age are not able to articulate their feelings and so, they may continuously complain about having stomach aches. The best way to make them express their mind is through play and drawing.”

For teenagers, Ana noted that they may become rebellious and share their feelings ambiguously.

“They’ll share stuff in a dual way which means that first they’ll share something and test you and observe whether you judge them or not and if so, they’ll not share their true feelings.”

One of the women in the audience questioned about the stress management for working women and Ana quoted that there’s this syndrome in women which is “trying to be perfect.”

“You need to understand that you only have ‘X’ amount of psychological energy and it cannot be acquired from outside. It’s inherited and varies from person to person. See any successful woman, they had to give up on something to gain another. We need to prioritize according to the stage of life that we are in because you have to remember: ‘Only this much is possible.’”

Another woman questioned, “How can we not let the negativity around reach us?”

“All of us are nothing but forces of energy and so we’ll absorb the energy around us, be it positivity or negativity. When we come together, there’s an exchange of energy and you cannot build a fort around it. In fact, if you think of building one, then I’ll be concerned. Rigidity in itself is the prime reason to get depressed. If you are trying to control what’s happening externally then it’s because you cannot control what’s happening inside you.”

When asked about the conservative and very rigid rules for bringing up the children and how it affects them later in life, Ana addressed a very important issue.

“It’s now called as Helicopter parenting where you are overprotective about your children. If you are a helicopter parent, then the chances are, your child, in his/her adult life, will be scared to experiment or take risks. They will be unable to think for themselves and take decisions because all their lives, someone else has been taking their decisions.”

Anna also pointed out the importance of emotional intimacy and how it’s different from sexual intimacy.

“Most of us confuse sexual intimacy with emotional one! Being emotionally intimate to someone is to relate to a person completely naked in terms of your psychology and not physically. Being able to share all your good and shadow parts is what we call emotional intimacy. People are judgmental and so it’s very difficult to find someone in front of whom you can be absolutely raw.”

“At max, there are only 2 or 3 people in a person’s life with whom they are emotionally intimate,” concluded Anna.

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