My friend regularly cuts himself…

Here are questions from readers that were addressed by leading psychiatrist Dr Manish Bajpayee. The identities of the solution-seekers have been withheld to protect their privacy. You too can send your questions at

Dear Doctor, I am a 32-year-old woman, and I wish to seek psychiatric help as I have been suffering from anxiety issues for a long time. However, my parents feel that I shouldn’t go to a psychiatrist because it puts a bad impression on me and my personality. I am convinced that I need help but how do I convince my parents? Please help me.

Yes, convincing parents is a difficult thing. You will have to convince them by showing them information about anxiety on various websites and other platforms. Your consultation with a psychiatrist, therapist, counsellor or a psychologist is very important. Eighty per cent of the problems are solved when a patient comes for a consultation. Even if there is no diagnosis, your problems can be solved by just talking about them. If you want to remain anonymous, you can use your first name only. But, it is important to educate your parents on the importance of addressing mental illness.

I was sexually harassed at my workplace recently by a fellow employee. I filed a complaint with the HR and due action was taken. However, this incident has taken a toll on me emotionally and mentally. I cannot concentrate on my work anymore and I fear working with new people, especially if they are men. The incident left me scarred emotionally and I have suddenly developed several fears. Doctor, please guide on what I can do to forget about this incident and move on in life.

You must seek help if this has scarred you emotionally. I hope the perpetrator has been removed from your proximity. In our society, it is generally assumed that it is the woman’s fault but it isn’t. You must consult a psychiatrist to talk about your fears. A move from the place where the incident took place will certainly help. If you work at a bank or have a transferable job then moving around will help. At the workplace, people might make judgements and act accordingly. It will take you quite some time, may be six to nine months to forget this and move on.

Hello Doctor! I am curious about what makes a person undergoing depression turn to self-harm. At what stage does this occur? Is it reversible? I have a friend who regularly cuts herself. How can I get her to stop?

This is a very relevant part especially when severe depression occurs since these thoughts start developing, people start thinking about ending their life. There is a serotonin imbalance in the brain which makes a person low and depressive. If the person is impulsive, then this imbalance makes them act on it. If your friend has been cutting himself it could either be a personality trait or it could be depression. Many patients have cut marks on their body. It is a known way to give relief but it is very episodic. This is eminently treatable. But, if your friend is going through depression then she must immediately consult a psychiatrist because his impulsiveness and depressive behaviour may lead her to more self harm.

My maid has a habit of stealing provisions from my house. I have repeatedly told her that she need not steal and I give her money to go and buy these essentials. Yet, the stealing doesn’t seem to stop. Could this be some sort of mental condition?

No, I don’t think it is a mental condition. I am not against our hardworking maids but it is in human nature to take advantage of things when you get them easily. One sees such kind of behaviour amongst corrupt public sector and government employees, they take advantage of their position and take away from public funds. This has to be treated in a disciplinarian manner.

Dr Manish Bajpayee

Dr Manish Bajpayee

Dr Manish Bajpayee is a consultant psychiatrist in Pune with over 20 years of extensive clinical experience in assessing and treating clients with a range of psychological problems and other mental health related issues. He is currently a consultant with Inamdar Hospital and Ruby Hall Clinic. Dr Bajpayee addresses reader queries every other Thursday on Pune365.
Dr Manish Bajpayee