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Ask Me Anything with Kushagar Sudan on May 1, 2020

@thebackyardpsychologist is currently pursuing his Masters in Clinical Psychology. He is also a certified cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner from the Academy of Modern Applied Psychology, Scotland.

Feel free to take his opinion and advice on anything and everything that has been bothering you.

It is an open discussion!

You can post your questions below by April 30, 2020 (Thursday)

@thebackyardpsychologist will be answering them right here on this thread on May 1, 2020 (Friday)

Asking questions shows strength, not weakness.

🧡 Ask away and stay informed! 🧡

Post anonymously?

Hi… I want to know how shall I tackle loneliness ? I don’t have anyone to share my feelings with and I always look forward to having that someone in my life who understands me and the things that I’ve gone through. Though I don’t think I’ll find someone now because I am a student , and I’ve definitely given priority to my studies… but still, sometimes I do feel very lonely. I’ve tried focusing on my work, or spend time watching movies or doing something else , but I’m tired of these temporary measures. Please help !
Thank you


Hi there
I am sorry that you have to go through all of this. But setting your priorities straight amidst all this Emotional turmoil at a young age shows how strong you are.

Loneliness can transform into negative self talk and because we humans are meaning making machines, we tend to find meaning for why we are lonely and end up blaming, criticizing, feeling bad or looking down upon ourselves.

To stay away from it try challenging your thoughts and looking if they’re fact based or feeling based by looking at evidence in favour of them and/or against them.

You can also try asking yourself
“When do you feel the most lonely?”
“When do you feel the least lonely?”
This will highlight your trigger/s

Also practicing self compassion and showing yourself an understanding side first and foremost will help as well.
I will recommend talking to a therapist so they can help you in these difficult times.


How to stop procastination and negativity ?


Contrary to popular belief, Procrastination is not because you are lazy or unproductive, it’s an emotional problem.
Sort of a coping mechanism for excess stress because for the time you’re doing it, it feels good.

To overcome Procrastination, First and foremost Prioritise and posteriorities
break your task into smaller tasks so it doesn’t look like a big huge mountain but instead smaller sand dunes that you can easily climb.

For negativity it’s not possible to say exactly what is happening having more information but a general rule of thumb is to write down your negative thoughts so you can see what’s the pattern and finally understanding the triggers.

Do Consult a Psychologist if this persists.


I am 37 yrs old and have never been in a relationship. I do however have two kids with a guy who only saw me as someone to sleep with whenever he felt like and I allowed that to happen for more than 10 yrs. My oldest is an adult now. Many men have come my way throughout the years but I just can’t seem to able to let go of my past and move on with one of them. This has gotten me feeling so lonely, watching the years go by and still alone with my children. And that leads to feeling guilty for putting them in a situation like this where their mother is feeling down, not depressed, half of the times.


Hey there
I am so sorry that you have to through such Emotional hardship for so so long.
Self compassion and gratitude journaling will definitely help you look at your own self as a human first and a mother second.
I highly recommend consulting a Psychologist so they can help you heal and move on without guilt of the past.


Hey, so it has been quite a few days since it’s problematic for me to sleep. I try sleeping but can get sleep after hours cause I have this thought spiral, I just keep overthinking stuff and end up panicking. If I get to sleep on time I tend to wake up in between, it’s difficult to sleep back again and due to all this I am rarely able to function the next day. It also affects my productivity every single day. As I am writing this it’s 3.15 in the morning, I have been trying to sleep now for almost more than 2 hours since I woke up in the middle of my sleep. It’s making my life difficult and making my schedule even worse. It would be wonderful and I would be really thankful if you could help me out with this.


Hey there, I hope you had some sleep last night. As you mentioned, the thought spirals and overthinking can very quickly turn into a negative spiral without any end.
There are couple of ways to stop it, Writing the thoughts as they come to your mind will help prevent excess rumination. I know writing can be very boring but it helps.
Keeping check on your screen time specially right before bedtime can also help.
There’s also anxiety and stress involved, so I’d highly recommend consulting a Psychologist for detailed analysis.


How did you do this certificate from scotland.


I did it from the Academy of Modern and Applied psychology based in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.

For more information visit their website.


How do you not stay in isolation during lockdown. It’s harder to keep calm right now


You’re absolutely right, it’s very hard to keep calm rightnow specially with all that is happening around us. Anyone can feel overwhelmed in these circumstances.
There is a requirement for physical distancing but not for Emotional distancing.

Try calling your close friends rather than texting, Watching movies together rather than alone, Taking or writing about your worries rather than thinking about them, limiting your exposure to news, Making sure you have a routine etc

All these slight distinctions can make a big difference in how perceive this lockdown experience.


I am unable to focus on anything. I can’t even watch a 20 minute video continuously. I kept jumping from one app to another in every 2 minutes. I got irritated by small small things. How can I improve this?


Hi there
I really admire how you’re actively seeking answers to help yourself while having the insight about your problem as well.
Irritability and lack of concentration can have multiple underlying reasons while the prominent being anxiety and stress.

It can also change how you feel emotionally. Which in turn will make it more difficult to focus thus making this a viscous cycle.
First and foremost make sure you’re getting enough and proper sleep.
Secondly we also cannot focus on one thing when we’re worrying too much about the wrong things. Writing down your thoughts can give you an insight of what really is going inside your head and if it is in context of the future or the past.
Don’t try to push very hard, if you cannot it’s okay change your surroundings or walk a little and try again.
Keeping a timer and a notepad while you work can also help alot, writing to do work as it comes to your mind can also help you concentrate.
I’d recommend consulting a therapist if this keeps troubling you.


Hi…I have anxiety and so the sleep issues…its been almost 4 years now… whenever I go to sleep I become more anxious about sleep that i won’t be able to sleep and so end up not sleeping…I m on medication…but this is making me more n more anxious as am not getting enough sleep and its affecting my health…I m really worried if this continues how will I survive.27*7 I live in fear n worry keep thinking about sleep.l m 30 years old n have 3 years old daughter…I feel so helpless… please guide


Hi there
I am really sorry that you have to go through all this struggle for so long.
I will try to make this explanation as helpful as possible.

Since you said correctly that getting anxious that you won’t be able to sleep can inturn make you stay up.

However understanding that anxiety isn’t an illness but your body’s natural Response towards
“Perceived Danger” or something bad that might happen.

While to stop those rush of thoughts in your mind, the best way is to write them down or if it’s a “what if” problem, write it down and tell yourself to solve it tomorrow.
Additionally try avoiding evening news as well.

Try adding very mild stretching exercises to your routine, nothing fancy just 10-15 mins a day if possible.

Lastly there is this Paradoxical intention technique from “Logotherapy” which has worked very effectively in very similar cases.

While laying in the bed with the lights out and no distractions around you. Instead of sleeping you try to stay awake by - keeping your eyes open ‘just for a little while longer’ . Keep repeating this to yourself.
Remember do not try to actively prevent sleep but by staying relaxed and gently trying to keep your eyes open and but also letting sleep overtake you IF it comes to you.


How to maintain a sleep hygiene? It’s so difficult to have a schedule nowadays. I end up delaying my sleep a bit too much (cause I am getting nightmares when I sleep maybe) which causes me to wake up with no energy the next day. I hope that I made the question clear. It would be great if you could help me with this.


yes, you made the Question pretty clear and well explained infact.

To follow and stick to any routine or schedule you need to have an aim in mind for why you are doing it or its immediate benifits for you or the consequences of not doing so such as waking up with no energy the next day.

It is also important that you limit your screen time 1-2 hours before sleeping, this is something you’ll have to make efforts to do.

You can include mild exercising 10-20 minutes a day to improve your sleep quality.
Nightmares are a result of stress and/or anxiety.

Trying grounding by activating your five senses and journaling your thoughts for a day or two can help

I’d recommend consulting a Psychologist if the problem persists.


I have an anxiety problem. I make scenarios in my mind that’s not going to happen. I always thought about others. I want to know what are they doing? Whom they are talking to? Why didn’t they respond to my message on time?
Why is noone making efforts for me? Do I even matter to my friends? Why are they treating me like an outsider?
These kind of questions are hampering my mental peace. I would be really greatful if you could help me.


Hi there
I can see you’re going through very self critical thoughts and this can be very tough to deal with everyday.

You do make scenarios now but those are based on previous experiences. Past where outcomes weren’t exactly favourable and caused you much Emotional pain. Overtime we try and give those experiences a meaning, an explanation sort of such as maybe
“I am not good enough” or maybe
“I just don’t deserve it.”

To avoid experiencing that Emotional pain again, we interpret similar situation in a way so as to avoid the outcomes we had before and this is where your questions come from

Understanding that we can only control our own actions and not of others can really help you accept the situations rather than expecting them to be something more desirable

I highly recommend consulting a Psychologist or a CBT therapist to gain alternate perspectives and insights into your problems.


i am 18 my parents are not on good terns with each other almost everyday we have fights and disturbance which has drained me mentally …i try to stay calm but now because of noise and disturbance every day i am mentally disturbed nd can’t focus on my life and mental peace


I am sorry that you’re going through so much every single day.
Remember fights are part of every family and this pandemic and lockdown has increased the overall stress and worries of alot of people.
When our parents fight or shout at each other it is very natural to be disturbed and scared as well. We do tend to make up alot of scenarios in our head regarding what can or will happen or if it’s our fault.
Understanding what’s in your control and what isn’t is crucial.
Finding a safe place and distancing yourself from the scenario is important your your Mental health as well.
If things have escalated to physical fights, contact some elder relative or your local domestic violence helpline


There are times, when you live with your family who loves you but still feel LONELY. Is it okay to feel that way? Cause I am just tired feeling this empty and numb.


Hi there
It is absolutely okay to feel this way and being loved has nothing to do with feeling lonely. As you said you are being loved yet you feel lonely.

Loneliness can be due to multiple of reasons. Feeling that you are not being understood, Lack of close intimate relationships, Repressed past Emotions or past trauma and not being able to understand yourself can cause the feeling of being lonely
Understand that loneliness is a feeling and can be changed by noticing your thought patterns and building meaningful relationships.

I highly suggest consulting a Psychologist so you don’t have to deal with this alone.


How to stop comparing yourself with others which affects personal growth and caliber?


Hey there
You see we are the most connected generation in the history of our species. Which ofcourse has its upsides but have some if not many other problems as well.

When we compare ourselves to others but we do not see how different our past was or how different our struggles were.

Suppose if every part of your life is a pearl and you have a huge necklace of pearls, you are comparing just one of your pearl with one of theirs and feeling bad if it’s not better than theirs but not considering anything else.

Try being aware about what makes you compare yourself and stop yourself when you find you are doing it.
If you are more likely to compare yourself on social media, People there post what they want you to see and those pictures are very carefully selected to present the best moments of their life.

To overcome comparison try gratitude journaling and accepting how much you have and how lucky you are to have that.
You can also Consult a Psychologist if it persists.


I like a guy a lot. I Can’t stop thinking about this person. It’s been a year now. Now I’m fed up because this cycle goes on just the person changes. I want to move on with my life and learn to love myself and live happily with myself first and not feel like I’m incomplete without that someone or any other person in my life. I want to live like a whole person and not an incomplete person. How can I do that?


It’s great you’re ready to take action and make a change for the better.

Not having balance in your life or lack of close quality relationships or not having clarity on your priorities can trigger these feelings

Take a step back and ask yourself what are my priorities in life? What do I need to work on? What will benefit me in reaching my goals?

If you’re looking for someone particular and feeling incomplete take a step back and again ask yourself
How will this relationship help me grow as an individual?
Do I prioritise a relationship over other things?

Gratitude journaling, self compassion and moving out of your comfort zone can be very beneficial.
You can always talk to a Psychologist if this problem persists.


Hey! So I think I am a bit late in asking this but still lets give it a shot. My question is how to deal with self pity, self doubt and body image issues in this lockdown as this lockdown has escalated these issues and the thought spiral is never-ending which makes me feel bad about myself eventually. Hope you would take some time of yours and answer my question :)


Hey there
You were just on time I’d say good decision afterall.
The common thing in self pity, self doubt and body image issues is negative self talk along with irrational thoughts.
Understanding and stopping yourself at the right time is the key here.
You can see if your thoughts are feeling based like " is my life ruined" or fact based like " no person has a smooth life, ups and downs are a big part of it"

If your mind is saying something like you can never do this or you can never do that, instead of accepting it like a fact try challenging it instead.

For self doubt, whenever they come to your mind write them down on a paper
You can also ask yourself and be honest
" In the past whenever I feared something or doubted myself did that fear still came into reality even after I took action?"

For your body image issues, again write the thoughts down and then similarly ask yourself
“According to who this is better than that?and why?”
“Says who that this is more beautiful and this is not and why?”

If the problem still persists do consult a Psychologist.


I want to be open minded person. i have a lot of clashes due to my opinions so like what should i do for it ?


It’s great and appreciable that you want to challenge your own beliefs which is not at all easy or common.

But you need to ask yourself this question, is everyone as open and as accepting as you when it comes to New information? Or information that can contradict their previous beliefs?

Choose what you can control and what you cannot.