Dear Annie: I’m 16 years old and think I’m depressed. I researched it. I have most, if not all, of the symptoms. People have told me I almost always have tears in my eyes even when I’m laughing and joking. I have no interest in things I did last year. I sleep way too much, and when I wake up from my three-hour naps, I feel even more tired than I was before. I don’t even like the foods I used to love.
I took several online depression tests and all of them said I need to see someone. I know I should tell my parents, but I’m afraid of what they’ll think of me and I don’t want them to interrogate me. What do I do and who can I talk to without getting my parents involved? — California Girl Who Needs Help
Dear California Girl: If you aren’t ready to open up to your parents, please talk to your school counselor. You also can confide in a trusted adult relative, teacher or family friend who will offer advice and even go with you when you are ready to tell your parents. You may also need to see a doctor because the problem could be medical rather than psychological. Recognizing that you need help is the first step toward getting better, so you’re already making progress. We’ll be thinking of you.
Dear Annie: Four months ago, my college buddy “Phil” had a bachelor party at a gentlemen’s club. We had a great time and I hit it off with one of the dancers, “Sara.” I visited her at the club several more times and eventually worked up the nerve to ask her out. We’ve been dating ever since.
Our relationship has become quite serious and Sara has proved she wants to be with me. However, there is one nagging question: How do I explain to my friends and family where Sara and I met? I don’t want to lie, but I also don’t want to embarrass Sara or have anyone think less of her. What should I do? — Lost in San Francisco
Dear Lost: You should discuss this with Sara and ask how she wants to address it. She may be less embarrassed than you think, and yes, people will initially be judgmental, but we assume when they get to know Sara, they will see she has other qualities. You also can avoid the issue simply by saying you met her through friends or at a party. Honest, without being overly informative.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Trying My Best,” who was disgusted with couples that try to make weight issues part of a pre-nup.
I was married for 27 years. On my wedding day, I weighed 97 pounds and my groom thought I was perfect. Two children and 27 years added 30 pounds and several dress sizes. I am now 49 years old, weigh 128 pounds and wear a size 8.
Five years ago, my husband took me to a fine restaurant and, in that public place, informed me that he was disappointed in how I had aged and let myself go, and that he was no longer attracted to me. After hearing those words, I realized how shallow he actually was and that I had no desire to spend the rest of my life trying to fight a battle that would forever be fighting back. We divorced.
In the past few years, I have met numerous men, younger as well as older, who find me very attractive. Most of them appreciate my curvy figure and even prefer my current body to pictures of a younger, skinnier me.
I agree that each spouse owes their partner the responsibility of keeping healthy, and if that is compromised by weight issues, those problems should be addressed together. It is not fair to expect one partner to spend his or her retirement years caring for the other because of neglect. But to base an entire marriage on the other’s appearance is petty and juvenile. — Better Off Now
Dear Better Off: Congratulations on realizing the problem was your ex’s shallowness instead of blaming yourself, as many women do. Good for you.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.23.08