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V-Day woes

Thanks to media and peer pressure, many single youngsters tend to go into depression on Valentine's Day eve, say experts.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2008 11:46 AM IST

Sneha Kumar, a 21-year-old college student, is single. She has friends but feels depressed in their company nowadays as their only point of discussion is 'plans for Valentine's Day'.

And in order not to feel left out, she is desperately seeking a valentine.

Psychology experts in India believe that youngsters nowadays only pretend to be in love so as to be able to say 'I have a valentine". Those who cannot fit in, end up with bouts of depression.

"It is not as if people are falling in love and so they are celebrating Valentine's Day; but because they want to celebrate the day, they pretend to fall in love," Sanjay Chugh, leading psychiatrist and founder chairman of the International Institute of Mental Health, told IANS.

Experts feel that media and peer pressure are two factors responsible for inducing a sense of emptiness within a person for not having a girlfriend or boyfriend.

"Those who are swayed by the media and peer pressure feel empty within, leading to depression at times. I think what one should seek is a stable relationship and not just for one particular day," said Samir Parikh, chief of the mental health and behavioural science department, Max Healthcare.

Chugh echoed his opinion. "It is like wherever you see the crowd, join it!"

He pointed out that Indians for long were not even aware of such a day or its significance. But ever since it got floated as a concept and got promoted endlessly, it caught everyone's fancy.

"Increased exposure leads to greater acceptability. So the more people got exposed to the concept of Valentine's Day, the more they accepted it till it finally became a religion to them," Chugh told IANS.

"I need to be with someone else or I will be the odd one out", "People will laugh at me and call me a loser" and "If I don't have someone in my life, it means there is something wrong with me" are some of the thoughts that can cloud a person's mind in the run-up to Valentine's Day.

"Feeling empty merely because of one day is not how one should react. The day should be spent like any other day with work and family. Also, if there is sustained need for a partner then one needs to focus on it - not because it's a (special) day but because it is an emotional need," Parikh explained.

The problem escalates in the case of people who already have problems with their self-image, moods or relationships, Chugh said.

He stressed that sitting alone, sulking and thinking about the fun others must be having will only make one more miserable.

"If they enjoy the day with family or friends, it will allow them to be more positive and confident about their own situation," he suggested.

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