Joy over new boyfriend can’t diminsh pain of loss
Dear Abby: I have had a serious boyfriend for six months. He’s wonderful, a dream come true. But I find myself more depressed and suicidal than ever. Mom tells me I don’t have any reason to be depressed since I have a boyfriend. It’s like she thinks I have no right to still be despondent over my twin’s death because I now have a significant other.
My eating disorder and self-harm have gotten worse, too. I feel like I’m holding in so much sadness I’m not allowed to show that I’m turning it all inward in self-destructive ways. Although I love my boyfriend, I almost feel like breaking up just so everyone won’t expect me to be Pollyanna anymore. The third anniversary of my twin’s suicide is coming, which is making everything more unbearable. I just don’t know what to do. I just want to disappear. — THINGS AREN’T OK
DEAR THINGS: If your mother truly believes a death in the family (particularly a twin!) is something that can be “fixed” by having a boyfriend, she is deluding herself. You need professional help and right away. There are support groups for survivors of a family member’s suicide, and you are three years overdue for finding one. I urge you to contact the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Someone there can help you to locate a support group for the survivors of a loved one’s suicide. To find them, go online to afsp.org.
If you are feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and tell a counselor about what’s going on. If you do, you can be directed to a licensed therapist in your community who can help. The toll-free number to call is 800-273-8255. PLEASE do not put it off.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter and I have been estranged on and off for many years, most recently for the last 22 months. At that time, she angrily took her 8-year-old daughter and left our home, where she had been living since another eviction. She said she was going to tell everyone I kicked her out. Then she blocked me on Facebook, removed my access to my granddaughter’s classroom progress reports and my name from the school emergency card. I had no idea where they went. My poor granddaughter was in tears. She had been upset moving back in with us again, and told me she wished her mom would get a job so they could stay in one place for real.
After no contact, I have been told my daughter is being married. “Save the date” cards have gone out. I have no desire or intention of going to a wedding of someone who has spent half her life being cruel to me, lying, ignoring me, being jealous at her sister’s wedding and so on, with never an apology for her horrible behavior. She’s a Jekyll and Hyde.
We live in the same community, and I do all I can to avoid seeing her. I’m happy for her and delighted my granddaughter will finally have a bedroom of her own, but I have no intention of playing happy family to someone who regularly sharpens knives in my back. How do I answer any inquiries that may come up about the wedding? — CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE
DEAR CAN’T: Do not engage in a litany of complaints and accusations. You can get the message across to anyone who asks about the wedding by saying that you are not involved in the planning of the wedding and questions should be directed to your daughter. You do not have to discuss it further. It’s short and sweet and gets the message across.
DEAR ABBY: I recently found out I am pregnant. I’m only 17 and scared I won’t be a good mother. I’m also anxious about giving birth. I’m due in three months, so I know time is going by fast.
My mother never taught me right from wrong, and having to raise a child at my age is really scary. I don’t want to give my baby up for adoption because I know God does things in mysterious ways. I feel like this is an obstacle he is putting me through to make me stronger in life. Can you give me some advice on how to be a good mother or guide me on how to give my child the necessities? — CONCERNED TEENAGE MOTHER
DEAR CONCERNED: You will be facing challenging circumstances. Consider talking to a social worker at the hospital where you will give birth for advice on how to get the necessities for your baby. It is more important now than ever to complete your education by getting your high school diploma or a GED, so you will be able to better support the child. A trusted teacher or counselor at school may be able to guide you. If there are older, more experienced family members who are willing, they may be able to offer emotional and practical support. And, if possible, the baby’s father should be involved.
DEAR ABBY: I recently quit drinking because it was clearly becoming a problem for me. I was hiding alcohol, putting it in water bottles, drinking it like water, etc.
I struggle with anxiety, which makes AA not a viable option for me. I looked online and was able to find SMART Recovery. So far, it has been a valuable resource for me. I am sticking to the program and find the people online to be supportive and helpful.
My struggle is, because I had been drinking for so long, people judge me by my past. Even at home. How do I get to a point where people take me for who I am now and stop dwelling on the past? — SOBERING REALITY
DEAR SOBERING: I applaud you for recognizing you had a problem and doing something about it. You mentioned that you “recently” quit drinking. I wish you had mentioned how long ago because it may have something to do with how you are being treated now.
All you can do to change people’s perception of you is sincerely apologize and try to make amends to anyone you may have hurt or offended while you were under the influence. It may take time for them to trust that you are no longer the person you were, so be patient and continue to work on your sobriety. With time, you WILL be respected for the person you are now.
DEAR ABBY: Can you think of any way to tell social media friends that I am not interested in their political views? I respect everyone’s political beliefs, but I am very tired of politics, and there must be something else they can post. Should I “unfollow” these people until after the elections and hope for the best? I suspect I am not alone on this. Any help would be much appreciated! — “WAR” WEARY IN ARKANSAS
DEAR WEARY: These days it does seem like everyone’s a pundit, but you cannot dictate what others choose to post. Because the posts are not entertaining, I see nothing wrong with “hiding” their posts until the election season is over.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.