Dr Manish Bajpayee: My wife may be suffering from post-natal depression…

My wife gave birth to our first child around six months back. All throughout the pregnancy, she was very excited. After the delivery, her behaviour has significantly changed. She doesn’t seem very interested in taking care of the baby. I have taken a leave from my job so I can take care of her and the child. My wife is very quiet these days but also she cries a lot. She spends most of her time sleeping. I understand how exhausted she must be but there is no sign of happiness on her face. Could this be post-natal depression? How can I help her feel better?

Yes, this most probably a case of post-partum or post-natal depression. Around 10-12 per cent of mothers are affected by it and this is a very high number. It starts prior to the delivery. The mental health of a mother is very important as both she and the child are very vulnerable at that time. This is a very big issue and is often neglected, I am glad you have brought it up. Please make it a point to talk to your wife and ask her exactly how she’s feeling, be there for her and take care of her. She is definitely exhausted but do make it a point to take her to a psychiatrist and her gynaecologist to get treated.

Dear Doctor, I am an occasional cannabis user. However, I have noticed that whenever I consume the drug, I become hyper-aware and even paranoid about myself and my surroundings. This has often led me to do some inexplicable things. Does using such psychedelic drugs worsen my anxieties or am I overthinking this?

Firstly, it isn’t very advisable to take any mind-altering drugs or medication but occasional use may not cause much harm. Secondly, if you have certain anxieties then they may get heightened with drug use. This could lead to you having a bad trip. You become even more hyper aware of everything. If this is happening often, then your company is wrong or the medication isn’t suitable or you have a tendency to not have a good trip. If so, then please avoid using such drugs as it can worsen and lead to an anxiety disorder in the future. However, if you feel psychedelics could have a profound positive impact on your mental state, then you may wish to research into different psychedelics and consumption methods such as microdosing mushrooms (also known as Psilocybin). The effects of microdosing magic mushrooms can lead to a heightened feeling of euphoria while keeping the psychoactive quantities at a minimum, as to avoid the potential “bad trips” known to happen.

Dear Doctor, it has been four years since my father died. My mother still continues to mourn for him. She hasn’t allowed herself to get past his death and move on. She gets increasingly paranoid if I try to pack up my father’s belongings and donate them to charity. Is it possible for her to get over this grief? Please advise me.

Protracted grief or prolonged grief is grief that occurs after a year or two has passed since the incident took place. Four years is a very long time especially if the grief starts interfering with the daily activities in life. You also mentioned about your mother getting paranoid about donating your father’s belongings. This obsessive rumination or attachment could eventually lead to depression. Please do take your mother to visit a psychiatrist because if the depression worsens it can even lead to self-harm.

My daughter is 14 years old. Of course, this is the age where she hits puberty and becomes more aware of herself. I have recently noticed that she eats very little or skips her meals. I want her to remain active and healthy. But at the same time, I do not want her to develop an eating disorder because of certain misconceptions. How do I guide her to understand her health and body better?

To keep physically and mentally healthy, you must advise your daughter to get into sports and to be more socially active. This is a very tender age wherein many teenagers develop eating disorders and are also bullied in school. The best way for you to guide her is to accept her the way she is because neither over eating nor under eating will lead to anything good.

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