Dear Annie: My doctor recently told me I need to get rid of the stress in my life or I’m likely to have a stroke. My blood pressure is through the roof. At the age of 59, I’ve decided getting rid of stress means I need a divorce, but I don’t want to hurt my husband of 25 years.
My husband does not have a clue. If I tell him, he will either become irate or not believe me. He and his family members are all bipolar. They get along with each other, but as hard as I have tried all these years, they will not let me in. They live out of state, and when I call his mother, every time I ask, “How are you?” she replies, “Why do you want to know?” My husband makes sure I send them all Christmas and birthday cards, but they never reciprocate. His mother calls only when she needs money, and she will accept only money from us. All other presents are returned.
Maybe it’s my age, but I just don’t want to try anymore. If my husband had stood up for me even once when his mother was hurtful, it would be different, but he is and always will be afraid of her. The medicine my husband used to take did wonders for him, but he doesn’t care enough about my health to get back on it. I know I’ll feel better if I get out of this family, and I have to leave before it’s too late to enjoy any kind of life. I just dread getting started. What should I do? — Florida
Dear Florida: Living with someone who is bipolar can be difficult and exhausting, especially if he refuses to seek treatment. You can find support and suggestions through the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632 or the Family-to-Family classes at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264). If you still can’t find a way to make the situation less stressful, please talk to a counselor who will help you choose the right words to tell your husband. In the meantime, exercise can help with both the stress and the high blood pressure.
Dear Annie: One of my co-workers talks incessantly. As if that weren’t enough, she brought a radio to work and when she isn’t talking, she’s singing.
Radios are permitted in our office. The supervisors don’t do anything about the constant chatter, so it’s no use complaining to them about the music. We were doing our best to cope with the talking, but the singing is sending us right over the edge. How can we get her to stop? — Waterbury, Conn.
Dear Waterbury: Have you asked her? Some people don’t realize how irritating their little habits can be. It also sounds as if your co-worker may possibly have Asperger’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD or something similar that prevents her from keeping still. Perhaps if you make her aware that the constant singing is inappropriate, she will try to keep it to a minimum. If not, bring your own radio or desk fan, or plug yourself into a set of headphones.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Knowing We Did the Right Thing,” who donated her daughter’s organs but heard nothing from the recipients.
My sister was an organ donor. I wrote to all the recipients soon after the transplant. Over a year later, I got an answer back from the heart recipient, as well as the lung recipient. I am now in contact with the heart recipient via e-mail. However, I only heard once from the lung recipient and never heard anything at all from two other recipients.
I agree it can make people uncomfortable to know they are here because someone else isn’t. In your heart, you know you did something wonderful and you just keep that going. I have a dear friend who received a kidney, and I will ask her if she sent a letter. I am quite confident the recipients are thankful every day, but don’t know how to handle it. — J.B.
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 3.12.08