Dear Annie: I am a 16-year-old girl in high school. I have so much to be thankful for, but recently, I have been feeling like something is wrong with me. Quite frankly, I am depressed. I am always tired, anxious and nervous, and I have outrageous mood swings. I have lost all focus, ambition and motivation, and sometimes it just hurts to breathe. I hate to use this as an excuse for my grades, but I had been a straight-A student, and now I have two C’s and a B. This is unacceptable. I hate disappointing my parents.
Along with the grades and the other symptoms I mentioned, I am constantly having trouble eating and recently resorted to self-harm. Suicidal thoughts also accompany this, as much as I hate to admit it. I worry that if I tell my parents, they will hate me. I don’t have a teacher or counselor I feel comfortable confiding in. None of my friends know, and I am scared that I will do more damage to myself than I intend. Please help me. I hide behind a smile every day, and I am so lost.
— Depressed in Hiding
Dear Depressed: Please tell your parents you aren’t feeling well and ask them to make an appointment for you to see your doctor. A lot of what you are describing may have physiological origins that can be treated (such as a hormonal imbalance). You can speak to the doctor privately and tell him what you told us. But please don’t be afraid to discuss this with your parents. They love and care about you. They may be worried, but they will want to help, and you will feel better confiding in them.
Dear Annie: My cousin is getting married in another state. I have four other relatives in my city, and we are planning to go together, even though we’ve seen this cousin only a few times in our lives.
The wedding is on a Sunday evening, and we’d arrive on Saturday afternoon. If there is a rehearsal dinner on Saturday night, should we be included as out-of-town relatives? We’re already spending a great deal of money on airfare and hotel rooms. What do you say?
— Dinner Guest or No?
Dear Dinner Guest: The rehearsal dinner is specifically for the bridal party, immediate family and the officiant. If the hosts can afford to include out-of-state guests (related or not), it is both gracious and appreciated. However, if there are many such guests, it can be beyond the means of the hosts to include them in the rehearsal dinner. It is appropriate, however, for them to provide some welcoming snack or hospitality for all out-of-towners upon their arrival, since such guests are unfamiliar with nearby restaurants and might be arriving too late to eat at the hotel coffee shop.
Dear Annie: I was moved to write after reading the letter from “California,” the man who felt so guilty about a brief extramarital affair he had 40 years ago that he wanted to confess it to his children.
My parents divorced in 1968, when I was 13. I would respect my father more if he would acknowledge that his affairs were a significant reason for the divorce. Our mother told us, but didn’t use it as part of the divorce proceedings. I think she thought it was too embarrassing. Dad married his girlfriend six months later.
Last summer, my 87-year-old father had the nerve to tell me that my mother was the one who wanted the divorce and he didn’t know why. While you may think it would do more harm than good, I’d rather my father tell us than keep lying.
Dear S.: Your father had a long-term affair that resulted in a divorce. It is not the same as a brief indiscretion that was deeply regretted. And while Dad should not lie or blame your mother, it’s possible that, at the age of 87, he no longer clearly remembers the reason behind the divorce.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, 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.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.