Dear Annie: I have a son with serious anxiety problems. He gets it from his father. That entire side of the family has so much anxiety that they never take vacations because they can’t deal with the stress of leaving home.
When my son was in his early teens, I tried to get him into counseling, but we live in a rural area, and there are few resources. He also has incredibly bad luck. He is now in his early 20s and went to college this semester at a local university. His schedule was messed up, and he ended up with some oddball classes, including one that requires a lot of public speaking. This class made him physically ill, and he decided not to return to school.
My son is a smart kid, and it’s killing me to watch him go through this. He seems to be spiraling downward and has had some bad experiences with medication and counseling at school. He is not willing to try either again. This kid is no slacker. He’s worked since he was 15 and has held two jobs since high school. I don’t know how to direct him or what to do. Please help.
— Scared Mom
Dear Mom: Your son has accepted his anxiety as something he cannot change, which means he’s given up. Anxiety issues can be crippling, but there are ways to work on them — including counseling, medication and support groups. But your son has to want to work on his problems, and that motivation must come from within. Please suggest he contact the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (adaa.org). Sometimes, one small step in the right direction can help.
Dear Annie: My mom became ill after a routine surgery and died four months later. I was able to be with her when this happened, even though it meant being away from my husband, but I would not trade being with her during those last weeks.
Mom was not financially well-off, but everything was split evenly between my younger sister and me. (My older sister had died.) I put the small inheritance into savings. The following Christmas, I decided to send $500 to each of my older sister’s two sons so they could inherit something from their grandmother. These kids were in their 20s, and I wanted them to have something to help them start off their lives.
According to my bank statement, the checks were cashed, but I never received any sort of thank you or acknowledgment. It is nearly five years later, and I am still hurt and disappointed about this. Am I being childish? I cannot seem to move on and reach out to them about anything else.
— Hurt and Disappointed
Dear Hurt: It is natural for you to want your generosity to be acknowledged, and of course, your nephews should have thanked you. But by waiting so long, you have allowed this slight to fester and damage the relationship. Please call your nephews. Ask whether they ever received the money. Ask whether they were offended by the checks, since they didn’t acknowledge them in any way, and say that insulting them was certainly not your intent. See whether an open, gentle conversation can mend things.
Dear Annie: I have been a registered dental hygienist for the past 32 years. I assure you that part of my sterilizing routine between each patient includes sterilizing the overhead light, light switch and handle.
If a patient has any concerns about the equipment not being sterile, he or she should address them at the next appointment. I would never want a patient to question the cleanliness of my operatory. I would be happy to share my sterilizing procedures.
— Professional and Hygienic
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.
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