DEAR ABBY: I am a teenager who went through some emotional stuff a couple of years ago. It was horrible. My parents thought it was just a phase, so I had to deal with it myself until it got better.
I don’t feel like I can communicate with my parents. If I try, I’m afraid they’ll just downplay it again.
I feel so alone sometimes. Even when I’m happy I still have this feeling of sadness. Then suddenly, I feel angry for no reason, and I hate it. Other times, I get so anxious I don’t know what to do. I feel like my friends don’t like me, even though nothing is wrong. I feel stuck.
Most people say it’s because I’m a teenager, and that’s what I try to tell myself, but it doesn’t work. I don’t know what to do. What do you think, Abby? — Anonymous in the U.S.A.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: I’m sorry that when you tried to tell your parents you were in pain they didn’t take you seriously. While the feelings you’re having may be caused by “raging teenage hormones,” they could also be a symptom of something more.
That’s why I’m suggesting you talk to another trusted adult about your feelings: the parent of one of your close friends, a counselor at school or your pediatrician, if you have one. It never hurts to have a “reality check” every once in a while, and when you share what’s going on in your head with someone who has more life experience, it can give you a better perspective.
Keeping priorities straight
DEAR ABBY: This time last year, I read a letter from a young woman whose live-in boyfriend doesn’t get her anything for Valentine’s Day.
I have been married to my husband for 28 years. When we were first married, I was often disappointed because he was never good at getting me gifts on holidays. Every year I would remind him ahead of time.
But gradually over the years, I began to realize that the gifts were not important. He has been the best husband I could ask for. He knows me better than anyone else. He adopted my two young girls and has been a wonderful father to them.
Throughout the year we do almost everything together. He loves to shop with me, and I buy what I want for my birthday or whatever. When holidays come around, we acknowledge them to each other and do something together for the day if we can.
A few years ago he was very ill and almost died. I am so grateful for him every day. I couldn’t ask for more. The material gifts are unimportant. — Mary M. in Minnesota
DEAR MARY: Thank you for an upper of a letter. You are a woman who clearly has her priorities straight. I told the young woman who wrote that letter that she’d feel less “deprived” if she focused not on what she ISN’T getting out of the relationship, but more on what she IS. You reinforced this beautifully.
Readers, on this “day of love,” I’d like you to know that you make writing this column a joy. I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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