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Heart To Heart

Monday, March 12, 2018

Freedom from Fear
I am 24. I have grown up in a fearful atmosphere and because of which I am afraid of everything I do in personal and professional life and I start thinking the repercussion of the problem always. Could you please help me out?

I can feel the anguish in your question, and I would like to assure you first of all that you can be helped to break free from the overwhelming fear that you experience. However, one on one personal counselling is what you require. I suggest that you see a good psychotherapist for regular sessions so that you can be freed from your anxieties and fears. If you live in Mumbai, you are welcome to come and see me.

In the mean time, here is some food for thought. I agree that you grew up in a fearful atmosphere. But, today you are an adult and can learn newer ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. These new ways have to emerge from your own rational side. Today, you do not have to keep on re-indoctrinating yourself with whatever you were taught as you were growing up. Today, you can choose your thoughts, your feelings and your life. Exercise this freedom of choice.

What is Chlamydia?
What is Chlamydia? I suppose it is STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). Please give some more info about Chlamydia.

Chlamydia is a very prevalent sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium ‘Chlamydia Trachomatis’. However, many people do not know that they have chlamydia, because although they are infected they may not have any symptoms. About 75% of infected women and half of infected men have themselves no symptoms of chlamydia.

Exchange of body fluids containing the organism such as semen, saliva, or vaginal secretions transmits the infection. The amount of time between contact with chlamydia and signs of infection (incubation period) is usually 1-3 weeks. If symptoms do occur, they would include a clear or cloudy discharge from the penis (or anus); burning and/or itching during urination; pain and/or swelling around the testicles, and the need to urinate frequently. Less commonly, one can get eye infections. Untreated chlamydial infection in men can spread to the prostate gland and epididymis, causing pain, inflammation, and possible infertility.

Chlamydia can easily be treated and cured with antibiotics. It is important to make sure you and your partner both receive treatment in order to prevent getting infected again. It is advisable to avoid having sex while being treated to reduce the possibility of getting the infection again or transmitting it to the other. Because people infected with chlamydia often also have gonorrhea infection, treatment for gonorrhea is often needs to be provided as well.

Good friendships are hard to come by
I had an affair for 2 yrs and it has ended. It’s been 4 yrs now and I have recovered from then. Now, I am been very close to one of my best friends for last 8 yrs. She also knows about my affair, rather everything what’s happening in my life and I too know everything about her. Being so close to each other, I never felt so crazy for her. Sometimes I miss her a lot and I did tell her about what I feel for her and she also has the same feeling for me, but she is not ready to express herself and not responding properly. But am confused, whether am doing the right thing or whether its a compromise.

For intimate relationships to work, the feelings have to be mutual. Both of you have been friends for a long time, and this friendship has sustained the test of time. I am sure it is precious to both of you, and that neither of you would like to lose this friendship.

If an intimate relationship is based on a friendship it is truly wonderful. However, whether your friend wants to take the friendship that one step further, truly depends on her perception of this relationship. Give her time to feel her way through, and in the mean time, take the opportunity yourself to assess your innermost feelings. Good friendships are hard to come by, so take things slowly.

HIV testing before marryiage
Do you recommend HIV testing of both the partners before marrying? Kindly also clarify what is ‘window period’.

People are fast becoming aware of HIV testing before marriage, however the majority still does not know about the ‘window period’. If a person is infected with HIV, then the blood test (Elisa test for HIV Antibodies) comes positive only after around three months. The period of initial three months, when the test comes negative is known as the ‘Window Period’. This is a dangerous period, as it gives the false impression that a person is HIV negative, and the infected person can give the infection to others through unprotected sex. We strongly recommend two HIV tests with the gap of three months before marriage.

Besides HIV, it is also necessary to test for one more fatal disease that is transmitted sexually – ‘Hepatitis-B’. A carrier of Hepatitis-B appears healthy outwardly but could transmit the deadly disease to the partner through sexual contact. Syphilis, though fully treatable, is a dangerous sexually transmitted disease if undetected. It is particularly notorious as it plays hide-n-seek with the patient giving him/her false signals of self-recovery, while it is progressing in the body. Thus a ‘VDRL test’ or ‘TPHA test’ for syphilis is a must in all the check-ups before marriage.

‘I’ or “We”
I am 32-year-old and single. I want to know what are the main reasons of ‘disputes’ after marriage?

There are many ‘issues’ that could come up in relationship. However, whether those issues become ‘disputes’ or are seen as ‘different views’ which can be discussed and worked through, depends on the foundation of the relationship. If the relationship continues to exist as only two ‘I’s, then there will be never-ending disputes. However, if the relationship exists as a separate entity ‘we’, which both partners equally nurture, then all issues are amicably resolved, and there is no cause for any dispute.

I am Embarrassed!

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Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
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