Dear Annie: I am a college student, and I live with my boyfriend, who just lost his job. He’s actively looking for a new one but hasn’t had any luck yet.
As much as I enjoy my newfound “grown-up” life, I find it very hard to survive financially. I work full time and go to school in the evenings until midnight. My typical day lasts 16-18 hours, depending on homework. I don’t have time for a second job. With student loans and car payments, insurance and rent, my budget is so tight that if I go a penny over the amount allotted for gas, I am in the red.
I go to a private college, which means I’m applying for new school loans every seven weeks. When you have that many loans and not a long credit history, it’s hard for anyone to apply for a personal line of credit. I’m at my wits’ end. I don’t know how to stay afloat. Any suggestions? — Broke in Phoenix
Dear Broke: Yes, but you may not like them. You can live with a roommate who is able to pay half the rent and all other joint expenses. You can find a cheaper place to live. You can get a better job or ask for a raise. You can move back into your parents’ home temporarily. You can attend a public university. You can postpone college until you have saved up enough to go back to the school of your choice. It’s nice to live independently, and all young adults should do so, but when you are drowning, you need to take whatever steps are necessary to get out of the ocean.
Dear Annie: I am a 33-year-old wife and mother of three. Lately, I have been reading a lot on bipolar disorder and it scares me. Both my father and paternal grandmother are bipolar. What are the symptoms? What is the difference between depression and bipolar disorder? What kind of doctor do I need to see?
I feel I am shortchanging my kids because no matter how hard I try to be calm and patient, I can’t. I snap at the smallest things and it is getting worse. I don’t want to be emotionally abusive, but my children walk on eggshells around me. My husband ignores me or makes fun of me. Please point me in the right direction. — Longing to Be Normal
Dear Longing: Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes extreme shifts in mood, characterized by recurring episodes of mania (elated or angry moods, impulsivity, increased activity and energy) and depression (prolonged sadness, loss of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of guilt, thoughts of suicide).
Treatment includes medication, along with therapy and support. Your doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist, or you can contact the American Psychiatric Association (psych.org) for a recommendation. If you are diagnosed as bipolar, you can find support through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632.
Dear Annie: I’m writing about the responses to “Craving Intimacy in Indiana,” whose husband has no interest in sex. Why didn’t you answer them the same way you would have answered men with the same complaint?
Maybe their husbands aren’t feeling enough closeness to take it into the bedroom. Maybe the wives aren’t making enough effort outside the bedroom. Better yet, maybe the husbands got tired of “chasing the proverbial carrot” and gave up. Sex isn’t everything, ladies. Just ask my wife. — Fountain, Minn.
Dear Fountain: The women who wrote were upset because their husbands showed no interest in any form of intimacy, regardless of their efforts. When women avoid sex, we recommend counseling and a trip to the doctor. The same goes for men.
To our Baha’i Readers: Happy Ayyam-i-Ha.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 2.26.08